Archive for the ‘Experiential Learning’ Category

STEM + Entrepreneurship

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

STEM studies and entrepreneurship are blooming in Mrs. DeMarti’s Third Grade class this month! The children watched the “Cain’s Arcade” viral video and decided they wanted to build their own arcade games. Tie Dying ShirtsWith one cardboard box per student, they each designed and built a game, which they will debut for parents and visitors on Thursday, March 23, from 10:30 am to 12:00 noon. Seeing themselves as socially conscious entrepreneurs, these students decided that all fees collected at the Third Grade Arcade will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund.
Since one of the Third Graders already has his own business,, Drying the Tie Dyed ShirtsMrs. DeMarti asked Nikolas if he would tie dye a shirt for each class member. The answer was yes and the results are beautiful! The Third Graders will be wearing their new shirts when you come to visit on March 23rd. See you then!

Volcano Eruptions in Science

Saturday, January 28th, 2017

This week our Primary Center students learned about volcanic eruptions. Starting with a diagram of a volcano, science teacher Mrs. Wendy Nguyen explained how hot lava Ingredients for Volcanorises from a subterranean magma chamber, erupts out of the mouth of the volcano, emitting an ash cloud, with hot lava traveling down the side of the volcano.
Some of these young students knew that there are volcanoes in Hawaii and even knew of the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980. Mrs. Nguyen explained that some volcanoes are sleeping (dormant) and others are awake (active).Demonstrating Volcano
Using a clay model volcano filled with baking soda and a drop of red food coloring. Mrs. Nguyen poured in vinegar so the children could see an acid-base reaction taking place, producing a gas (carbon dioxide) and water, seen as red liquid bubbling out of the mouth of the volcano model.
“We want to see it again!” exclaimed the children. Each student then had the opportunity to replicate the demonstration, followed by a delicious treat. Mrs. Nguyen had created a model volcano made from chocolate Rice Crispy treats. Using red soda poured onto lemon fizz powder, the students witnessed another volcanic eruption – except this one they could eat! Slices of the chocolate volcano were enjoyed by all!

VEX IQ Robotics

Friday, January 6th, 2017

A group of our PHS Eighth Graders have been selected to attend an advanced robotics course (VEX IQ & Robotics) at the PV Net, PV Net ReSizeda non-profit STEM/ technology education center located at the Promenade on the Peninsula mall, next to the Pottery Barn store. This will be a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn more about robotics and programming.
If you’re new to robotics, VEX IQ is a robotics platform designed to transform STEM learning for young students. Our Eighth Graders can immediately become engaged in individual and group robotics projects and create robots with this intuitive, toolless system.
Our thanks go to PHS parent Mrs. Kate McKenna, who has graciously offered to drive these students to the PV Net for these classes, and to Sixth Grade teacher Eileen Mahoney for coordinating the details of this course.

Our Marine Animal Friends

Friday, February 26th, 2016

Our Kindergartners experienced a wonderful two-part field trip last week that brought to life their current science studies of caring for our animal friends.
At Torrance Beach, the children picked up trash that had not been properly discarded in the available containers. With the help of volunteer parent drivers, Science Teacher Ms. Nguyen, and Mrs. Burden and Mrs. Woo, the group’s next stop was the Marine Mammal Care Center at San Pedro’s Fort MacArthur. Volunteers staff this non-profit and nurse back to health sick and injured pinnipeds (fin-footed mammals).
The children learned by role-playing the typical feeding of an injured seal (actually a stuffed animal), using a feeding tube filled with “fish smoothie.” When asked if he would enjoy eating the seal’s food, one Kindergartner replied, “Oh, no! I’m a vegetarian.” They also listened for vital signs and recorded them in patients’ files.
The Center’s docents thanked the children for collecting the beach trash and explained how these items can gravely injure the marine mammals. For instance, plastic bags in the ocean are often mistaken by animals for jelly fish, a common source of food. However, the animals cannot digest the plastic and soon become sick.
These injured and abandoned mammals are brought to the Center, are treated and nurtured there for two to three months, and are then released back into the ocean.
In gratitude for the wonderful tour and demonstrations, and for all the good work that is accomplished there, Peninsula Heritage School made a small donation to this local Marine Mammal Care Center.

Year of the Monkey

Friday, February 12th, 2016

Chinese New Year arrived at school this week via PHS parent Lynn Tien, mother of Brooke Huang (2nd Grade) and Dylan Huang (3rd Grade). Greeting each grade with “Gong Xi,” Ms. Tien shared the Chinese New Year legend of the monster Nian, who anciently entered small towns and scared the inhabitants. One villager discovered that the color red, as well as loud noises, scared the monster away. So red became the symbol of good luck, and loud drums and fireworks became part of the Chinese New Year’s celebrations. After playing a Chinese game, students created an art project; Kindergarten through 3rd Grade students made a monkey craft to welcome this Year of the Monkey, and 4th through 8th Grades designed a good luck firecracker craft to hang on their doors at home. Chinese candy (wrapped in red paper!) concluded this cultural exchange. Many thanks to Ms. Tien for sharing this creative learning experience with all of our PHS students!

Pali Institute

Saturday, December 5th, 2015

During the week prior to Thanksgiving Break, our Middle Schoolers experienced a new kind of classroom – the San Bernardino Mountains at Pali Institute! This customized outdoor education program included a range of activities and learning experiences from science and leadership to art in nature. Fueled by the Institute’s good food, our students learned specific science skills in connection with their science curriculum here at PHS. For instance, the Seventh Graders study Life Science, and in their Forest Ecology Class they learned to identify a range of tree species, bacteria, and fungi. Similarly, the Eighth Graders, who study Physical Science, constructed a shelter for themselves using materials available at the site.
The demanding ropes course was enhanced for the Seventh Graders with a zip line that all students did at least once. Even PHS teachers Ms. Liz Lomelli and Mr. Jeff Ahn were spotted on the zip line!
For a concluding activity, the 6th, 7th, and 8th Graders received a large cut-out puzzle piece on which they wrote and illustrated their favorite experiences at Pali, creating a visual memory of their learning and growth in the mountain environment.

Atlantic Crossing

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

This was Colonial Week in the Fifth Grade, as Mrs. Lynn, Ms. Terry, and Mrs. Banales engaged the children during the last five days in real-life scenarios from 17th century American history.
This year, the students enjoyed a unique aspect of the Mayflower voyage across the Atlantic. By coincidence, the newly purchased flipFORM risers for the Theater Arts Department came packed in very large cardboard boxes. Mrs. Lynn immediately saw a perfect use for these packing boxes: the Fifth Graders were divided into teams of four students, and each team received two long boxes and one very tall, narrow cardboard box to construct their simulated Mayflower ship.
“I loved the drawing and constructing!” reported Fifth Grader Claudia. “It was really fun to travel with my friends!”
“I felt it was very cramped in the ship!” observed Mark.
“It actually was,” continued Mrs. Lynn. “With 102 passengers on the Mayflower, it’s calculated that each person only had a 10 foot by 8 foot space. This simulated ‘crossing the Atlantic’ project was designed to convey to the students the extremely crowded conditions for the brave colonists on their historic voyage. As you’ve heard, our students loved the experience!”

Awesome AstroCamp!

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

“This trip topped out at the highest level of awesomeness!” reports Fourth Grade teacher, Mrs. Kathy Gilbert, reflecting on the class’s recent three-day Outdoor Education trip to AstroCamp in the mountain town of Idyllwild, California.
From learning in the labs with AstroCamp’s outstanding instructors to hiking in the San Jacinto Mountains, each day was packed with adventure! The students viewed the planet Saturn through AstroCamp’s state-of-the-art telescopes and experienced the amazing zip line, not once, but twice!
Donning goggles, snorkels, and wet suits, the Fourth Graders created a structure under water, just as our U.S. astronauts simulate the zero-G environment of outer space in Houston’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab.
Strengthening class cohesion, building friendships, and creating lasting memories were additional bonuses of this great Peninsula Heritage student experience.

Heritage Celebration – 4th Grade

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

The Fourth Graders’ Heritage Celebration culminated their social studies and language arts exploration of immigrants and diversity in California. Under Mrs. Gilbert’s excellent direction, the students created collages including specific items from the country they chose to share. They also brought food from that ethnicity to share, and parents were invited to the class to enjoy this celebration.
One aspect of the event centered on three paper loops on which each student wrote. The first loop included a student’s similarities with other children; the second loop stated the differences that make them unique, and on the third loop the students wrote about understanding and affirming each and every individual. These loops were connected with all the others in the class, giving a visual image to the children of how they can recognize differences while working together harmoniously.
Another element of the project focused on proverbs that we use in the US and their counterparts in other countries. For instance, we are all familiar with “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” The Danish version is, “You can force a man to shut his eyes, but you can’t make him sleep.” The American proverb, “Every cloud has a silver lining,” has its Korean equivalent in, “My house burned down, but it was a relief – the bedbugs died”!
One Fourth Grader shared his talented mother who added the holiday spirit to the Heritage Celebration in the accompanying video! Click HERE: Heritage Celebration

Genius Hour

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

Inspired by Google’s employee policy of required time to pursue an individual area of interest, Ms. Lomeli created a “Genius Hour” for her Seventh Grade students each Friday afternoon beginning in September. Working on a project of their own choosing, the Seventh Graders presented their completed work today in our School Library. Invited guests for this presentation included the Sixth Graders, the parents of the Seventh Grade, Head of School Mrs. Cailler, and other faculty and administrators.
One student used C++ programming to create a mathematics problem-solving program that was interactive – a Sixth Grader spontaneously presented a problem today and the program solved it!
Three students, including one very talented girl, created their own video games using the Construct 2 program, while another wrote and read a short story in the mystery/thriller genre.
Another Seventh Grader used MikuMikuDance to create three animated skits using sound tracks from SpongeBob episodes – even the characters’ mouths moved with the words!
“I was truly amazed,” commented Ms. Lomeli at the conclusion of the presentations. “not only with the creativity but the perseverance of these students in solving the many problems they faced to complete their projects. It was also very gratifying to see how supportive they were toward each other.” Our PHS Character Qualities are truly internalized in our students!

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