The World Is A 🌈

🌈 has taken us all over in search of color and noticing it at every turn. We made our way to the Exploratorium to play with color and light.

During a most drippy morning we walked our neighborhood looking for a 🌈 of plants and flowers.

We spent a day in Golden Gate park searching for color, making prints, collecting specimens, running through the grass and rolling down hills!

At the Conservatory of Flowers we went on a color hunt and found fronds almost as big as our bodies from plants as high as the ceiling!

At Garden for the Environment we learned about composting, planted a group of peas, and tasted our way around the garden.

We are proud to say we were the first group of chocolate tasters to welcome our new neighbors Dandelion Chocolate to the neighborhood. They taught us all about their process from bean to bar and let us taste everything in between! Did you know cacao pods can be gorgeous reds, yellows, purples, and greens! We tried nibs straight from the roasted bean, liquid chocolate (cacao + sugar), bars made of beans from all around the Earth’s belly, and even mixed our own chocolate!

We continued our exploration of 🌈 in food and made a delicious fruit salad.

Stick around to see how we’ve chosen to show and share what we’ve learned!

Animals by-air

This past arc, the Red Band explored the concept of animal flight. We researched both mammal and insect wings, their construction, placement, and function through a series of investigations. By transferring our new skills from kite construction, the kids created wing models using wooden dowels as bones or insect cuticle. After observing birds at our neighborhood Petco, the kids attempted to imitate wing movement by attaching magnets or paperclips to paper wings. The kids then created their own, taught others, or followed directions to fold paper airplanes. By examining their flight we defined the terms: flying, floating, and gliding to add to our #kiddictionary. We then compared the migration of the monarch butterfly and the albatross, the farthest travelling bird and insect with the largest difference in size and wingspan.

Abir and Dash team up to solve their paper bird's flight problem.

Abir and Dash team up to solve their paper bird’s flight problem.

Sylvester and Dash discuss technique while Calvin consults on a design.

Sylvester and Dash discuss technique while Calvin consults on a design.

Following our explorations, the Red Band completed their first project brainstorm where ideas ranged from revisiting past projects such as the wing models, create a school kite or build a mini-airplane before choosing to create adaptations for flightless animals both with or without wings. We started by identifying a problem: Some animals do not or cannot fly and creating a solution: design wings or means of flight for flightless animals. We each set to work choosing a wingless or flightless animal: an elephant, a girl, a giraffe, an underground dragon blob, two dogs, a penguin, and a chicken. The results varied from tiny insect wings to bird wings to jetpacks and larger ears to aid the animals’ flight. For some added encouragement, we took a trip over to the San Francisco Zoo to observe some of our animals up close. The kids all stretched their imaginations and motivation to truly bring to life their solutions.




A band that weaves a web together… sticks together

Just in time for our first arc gathering, the Red and Yellow bands also wrapped up their cockpit and wave machine projects. Each afternoon the kids choose one collaborator-led project to participate in; since the start of the year we have completed a bench and planter box for our entryway. The collaborators and kids are working in a two to three week long timeframe to expose kids to the Brightworks project process and best practices. We will take our new project guidelines to help us work on our first by-land projects, a carwash and a machine to harness our people-power. Stay tuned for more #brightworksbeehive news.


currently on display in the hive

currently on display in the hive

A few of our favorite things

Welcome to week four everyone! The Red band is at the helm this week authoring our blog as we learn about the writing process. We started with a lesson on captions: the words that talk about the picture #kiddictionary. Each kiddo chose one or two pictures from our week to caption and add to their journal. Enjoy!


MEZRiNG ALBUTZHROZiZ WiNZ /Dash “Measuring albatross wings”




Me aD ROOn MaF/ Khalilah “Me and Ronin doing math”


“Dash drawing wings with Nathan.”/ Sylvester


me and may are reading. /Ronin






“Here I am writing the word bird like Khalilah. After I drew a great big bird.”/ Quinn

Happy New [School] Year

Hi Everyone,

If we’ve not yet met I am Nicole, the Red Band Collaborator. This year we can be found up the block at 1920 Bryant with Nathan, Piper, and the Yellow Band. We are all thrilled to work in this new space together and continue to build it out with the two bands.


This was an exciting week as we explored and settled into the space. We brainstormed goals for ourselves for the year, both personal and shared, to help create our group agreements. We read Ish by Peter H. Reynolds to help frame our thinking around the people we would like to be and how our actions affect others. Our week was filled with activities to get to know one another, such as our people scavenger hunt and people mapping.



We learned about and have practiced the daily routine together, including morning circle and lunch spent up at 1960 Bryant. This included learning about morning “vitamins”, multi-disciplinary skills work that allows each kid to work through a problem on their own then share out their process during a group discussion. Our afternoons will be largely dedicated to arc and project work with the kids choosing between two different project offerings. Our first projects are aimed to improve our bandspace entryway. I am helping a crew create outdoor seating while Nathan is working on garden beds.


We ended our week with a round of show and tell. My favorite part of this activity is learning about the things that are important to each kid and let me tell you, it was a wide range: from home gardens to family heirlooms to hopes and dreams of owning a pet.


It was a jam-packed week and I can’t wait to see what week two brings. If you would like to follow along find me at @bwx_nicole on Instagram and on Flickr at SFBrightworks.

Have a lovely weekend,










Express Yourself

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The red band wrapped up exploration with a few very special trips to get them thinking about how to express what they have learned throughout the arc. We took a drive down to Menlo Park to visit Pace Arts and their current exhibit, “Living Digital Space and Future Parks” by teamLab. This visit helped a few of our bandmates decide to work on a video game project for expression. Our last visit was to our neightbor KQED. We learned about radio and television and visited the newsroom. After this trip, we had a bandmate choose to create a video project.

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The red band has continued to visit and care for our plants at The Benches garden. While we wait to see if our peas will continue to sprout or die off we have been using the garden to work on our reading and speaking fluency with reader’s theater productions. So far we have read The Little Red Hen and The Tortoise and the Hare.

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Throughout Human we have continued to work of our seed project, a snack bar/slide. If you can remember we had the working parts to hang out underneath (minus a floor and windows), a ladder to climb up (though the kids wanted to add rails to the top for safety), and a wooden slide (ouch, splinters). So we set out to correct these features and we cannot wait to share it with you all soon.

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The kids have added a small mural on the side to tie it into the human arc and we had our first bake sale. For our bake sale we set out to make something the whole school could enjoy (vegan, gluten-free, and delicious) so we settled on cookies and created our shopping list with estimated cost sheet. After we paid back the school for the money we borrowed we had a profit of $17 which the kids have decided to donate to the Violet band’s fundraiser.


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The projects that emerged from human took a wonderfully unexpected turn and we are all giving 100% to learn more about the science of perfume, creating video games, and producing videos and look forward to sharing it with you soon.


We kicked off the Human Arc with our first writing prompt, Who are you? Each kid had their own interpretation of an answer to this question, ranging from physical descriptions, to our name, to the things we like. We followed this up with our first brainstorm on “What we know about and Want to know about” humans. Then we wrote in response to the prompt, What do you do? The responses ranged from what we can do, to what we like to do, and ideas about what we could do.


Parts and More Parts; and excerpts on skin, hair, and nails from The Magic School Bus Presents: The Human Body and From Head to Toe by Barbara Seuling and Edward Miller.

This arc will start with a biography book club with Chartreuse and Orange. To prepare we spent a morning in the library searching through the shelves to find books on people and topics we are interested in. We have artists, change-makers, scientists, and explorers. As a band we have read Frida Kahlo: The Artist Who Painted Herself and excerpts from Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids. We channeled our inner artists to create our own self portraits and put on our scientist spectacles to investigate prisms. We will continue to explore biographies together as the arc continues. This study has spurred our interest in learning about others through interviews.


We started our interview process by reflecting on the information we learned through our biographies. After sharing a section of Meanwhile in San Francisco, we decided we could visit different places in San Francisco and conduct interviews. We started in our neighborhood and were lucky to have a chocolate tasting at Charles’ Chocolates. We interviewed Chuck and learned about his love of chocolate, his family, and how to make dark, milk, and white chocolates. During the second round of interviews, Nathan and the Red Band took a stroll down 20th Street and dropped into a few local businesses to interview owners, employees, and community members.


Our exploration is already full of projects including our interviews, a chair rebuild for The Benches Garden, and a human body. Stay tuned to see our progress and follow our investigations of humans at #humansofbwx on Instagram.




Sprouting a Human



The last month was full of challenges and triumph. As the Red Band experienced their first full arc, project cycle, and presented to their peers we realized that our seed project was a task less focused on product but one that hinged on our ability to learn what it means to be a team. Once we realized that our project required each of us to contribute in many ways, we realized this was also a project that would allow each of us to teach others, practice, and learn new skills.


The Red Band learned to advocate for themselves and one another. During our pre-work sessions, we would write our goal for the day and the work necessary to reach it. This included material lists, down to the last screw, and division of work. This was an opportunity to try new things and practice being flexible. After a few sessions we learned that it was not necessary for each of us to have our own drill at all times. We learned who was most comfortable with using tools, who needed help, and what each of us could do to help someone else.

After a particularly rough day, we found ourselves in a discussion with Gever about how we have the power to make others happy and how it lies in the choices we make for ourselves. This theme, along with that of trust, provided opportunities away from our the seed to reflect on the choices we make everyday. We wrote about what it means to be a team, we completed challenges to earn and show trust, and we learned to share our feelings around this with each other.


The Red Band learned to ask for help and push themselves beyond what they thought they were capable of doing. We hit many bumps in our road to a giant seed where we can sell food, climb, and slide on. We were able to move through multiple iterations of design from our own drawings, to Josh’s 3D SketchUp model, and Gever’s “plywood” model. We built our frame, not once, but twice. We built two ladders. And modified our slide.


While we still have work to do and safety tests to pass, we are now able to turn to one another for help and continue towards our goal which we hope to keep and share with our community.