All News

Zoom Platform an Asset for Seventh-Grade Environmentalism Project
Rachel Freeman, communications/website manager

In the spring of their seventh-grade year, students dive into a semester-long humanities study of nature. They explore nature and adventure, nature and connection, nature and commodification, and nature and activism. While this study is normally tied to the grade-level trip, the seventh-grade humanities team of Colin Tribble, Gretchen Kellough, and Emily Robertson still felt it would be worthwhile to continue with this study, even without the trip component.

“At Nueva, we don’t pick a trip location and then create curricula around that,” Colin explained. “We pick something that is worthwhile to study and then we find a place to go that will support that study. Just because we couldn’t go on the trip this year doesn’t mean that what we picked to teach our students isn’t worth teaching them.” 

Using the video panels in a Zoom call as inspiration, the teaching team created a culminating project for the unit on nature and activism in which students created their own comic strip. After dividing into four groups and selecting a decade to research—1948–59, 1960–69, 1970–79, and 1980–90—students worked together to select an important environmental event from the assigned time period and create a storyboard of the event. The last step for students was to take a screenshot of themselves in their Zoom room, organized in the correct order.

“This project was special because it really took advantage of online learning: instead of Zoom being a setback to the class, this project used Zoom as an asset,” student Carly B. said. “For our group, we chose to focus on the Ocean Dumping Act of 1988, which, as you can probably guess, banned a lot of ocean dumping. We had a good time making all of the props and getting in a position to take a screenshot. Even though one of the members in our group forgot to hold up her whiteboard, we were easily able to Photoshop it in! Overall, this project was a great example of teachers creatively using Zoom to make fun and interactive activities.”


Read More

Remotely Together: Sharkbytes Build a Robot in a Remote Environment

While FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) team captain Lucy D. was building the chassis, build team lead James T. was working on the flywheel launcher, Jason C. was busy creating the intake, and Howard L. and Anton P. were building the wobble arm. This was life for the Sharkbytes, who worked together remotely to design, build, and program a robot for the 2020–21 FTC competition.

Colors of Nature: An Eye-Opening Course—Or, How Environmentalism & Racism Are Intertwined

In the new fall 2020 elective “Colors of Nature,” seventh- and eighth-grade students explored the notion that people of color have different access to and privileges in the natural world. Through class discussions and creative journals, students reflected on how environmentalism and racism are intertwined. Eighth-grader Jax C. shares an introduction, and three students—Anika G., Kayla L., and Anjuli M.—reflect on their experience in this course. 

Catching Up with . . . Christine Braun

Viewing the world with an artist’s eye. Creating projects rooted in empathy. Empowering students with iteration and innovation. 

Throughout the past year, I-Lab engineer and Hillsborough shop manager Christine Braun has been a fixture on the Hillsborough campus, using the I-Lab as her home base while teaching, leading, and planning for design thinking-related initiatives. She is also a lit club facilitator for a seventh- and eighth-grade lit club.

Fifth Grade Earth Science “Rocks” in Remote Setting!

Toward the end of October, fifth-grade Earth Science classes completed the fall study of Earth’s composition and the rock cycle. To help students solidify their learning and set it in stone, students created models of the rock cycle using upcycled or ephemeral materials found in their homes. 

“Poem-Worthy Noodles” Connect Community to History and Each Other: Jennifer Lin-Liu, Author of On the Noodle Road ‘Visits’ Nueva

After school on Thursday, October 21, about 40 students and teachers gathered on Zoom to enrich and extend their current interdisciplinary study of the Silk Road. They were participating in a noodle-making workshop by author and restauranteur Jennifer Lin-Liu that covered centuries of history and was generations of cross-continental journeys in the making. Organized by Jennifer Paull in conjunction with the seventh- and eighth-grade humanities teachers, this event is one of many the new Humanities Center will showcase in the years to come.

Catching Up with . . . Sarah Powell

We sat down with Sarah Powell, middle school student support specialist, to hear about her passion for supporting gifted students, particularly during this challenging time. In this interview, Sarah shares how she helps to create pathways for students’ academic development, and she provides insight into the importance of relationships between parents, teachers, and students—and superpowers!—in our middle school support program at Nueva.  

Nueva Students Welcome Families to the Mid-Autumn Festival

This month, students in Weixia’s class celebrated 中秋节 or zhōng qiū jié (the Mid-Autumn Festival), a traditional event celebrated by many East and Southeast Asian people. With their parents, students watched the full moon, recited an ancient poem, and gave their parents a handmade card of appreciation. These activities were part of their process of immersing themselves in Chinese culture, an important part of learning the language, and they also offered an opportunity for students to share their learning with their families.