Shawn and Beth from Stamen Design in the Mission visited us today to show us their amazing maps! They are a design firm that maps data from topics as diverse as sea grass growth in the Chesapeake Bay to the number of friendships across country borders on Facebook.
They emphasized the importance of data sets in creating maps and showed various ways of looking at cities like San Francisco: streets, colors, social media use, Silicon Valley private bus lines.
Rather than looking at maps as visualizations that only show you where you are in the world, they showed the kids just a peek into the hundreds of ways that data can represent the spreading of ideas and the movement of humans. Each map told a story: how a photo spreads across the internet, or the amount of traffic in a certain time period, or where people use Twitter in San Francisco, or how the stock exchange moves.
And what was greater was the kids’ ability to listen, digest, use familiar map vocabulary to talk to Beth and Shawn, and then ask very insightful questions. Check out Stamen’s incredible blog and website!
The Rubber Band sat with our geologist friend Jug this afternoon for an exploration of the earth that started with tectonic plates and ended with burning iron filings from ordinary beach sand to see the colors it produced and experiment with the Curie point.
Shifting sand on pieces of paper to mimic the shifting of the tectonic plates led to a conversation about the earth’s shape and its layers…
Which led to a discussion about how the center of our planet is made of iron and then leading into magnets and compasses and the North and South Poles. They took a look at ordinary sand and extracted the iron out of it using magnets.
And what kind of Brightworks discussion would be complete without donning safety equipment and heading into the workshop to explore the Curie point, when a magnet becomes so hot that it demagnetizes, and then as it cools seeing when it becomes a magnet again?
The Coyotes returned to their exploration of topography using lego and then clay!
Painting, artist-in-residence, drawing, comics, reading, drama, park, breakfast for lunch, bug-hunting…
…hooray for Community Friday!
The Coyotes and the Phantoms took advantage of this gorgeous day to take a trip to Angel Island by ferry to explore the geology of the island and its history as an immigration station for San Francisco. They were out the whole day, so I don’t have any of their stories to tell, but I’m sure they’ll be full of them when they get to school in the morning.
Using materials they purchased at the Ferry Building Farmers’ Market yesterday, the Sand Leopards cooked their own completely local (local meaning produced within 70 miles of Brightworks or no more than an hour’s drive away) meal for their lunch! Everything local – including the sugar and the salt! They looked at maps of California after they ate to chart where each ingredient had come from.
More lego topography maps with the Rubber Band and the Coyotes…
… and debunking myths about pirate treasure maps with adults from the neighborhood.