Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School

The fundamental aim of Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School is to teach students to use their minds well and prepare them to live productive, socially useful, and personally satisfying lives.  The school’s academic program stresses intellectual development and political and social involvement in our society. We were featured this fall on the PBS independent lens The Graduates/Los Graduados.

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School Innovation

21st Century Skills

  • Communication

Building Skills Articulation through Blogging

innovation description:

Fannie Lou Hamer High School high school students are increasing schoolwide zeal for extended learning opportunities (ELO) through facilitated reflections and public presentations of learning that highlight skills students pertaining to academic, career and personal success. Students participate in exhibitions, produce portfolios, maintain blogs, and dialogue critically with advisors and peers about the important 21st century skills learned during ELO experiences.

Performance Tasks

  • Quadratics 4­-6 weeks
  • Rocking The Boat: Swallow Identification and Habitat Improvement Project

21st Century Skills

  • Personal Mindset
  • Planning for Success
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Problem Solving
Project Title: Quadratics 4­-6 weeks
DRIVING QUESTION: How are visual representations useful for expressing and understanding mathematical operations?

In this unit, students will learn how to build catapults, collect data to determine quadratic equations, and  compete against each other while hitting targets. The catapult has variables of angle and speed of release that determine how far a projectile will travel. The parabolic path is defined by a quadratic function. In this activity, students design and build a catapult that can launch a small bean bag a few feet. To analyze motion, students will design a simple event timer using an arduino microcontroller. They will be using a video capture to fill in the other points. The release of the catapult starts the timer, and the landing completes a circuit on an improvised switch. They can measure the time of flight, the distance covered and maximum altitude as they change the variables of angle and release speed (controlled by how far the catapult is pulled back).

Students shall first explore the behavior of the catapult system in order to form an intuitive understanding of the variables. They predict what the graph of the projectile flight might look like. They collect data using the arduino and a video from a trial, then plot the data. They attempt to build and adjust the variables of the quadratic equation to match the observed path. Finally, they use the mathematical model to predict or adjust the landing point in order to hit a target.

Project Title: Rocking The Boat: Swallow Identification and Habitat Improvement Project
DRIVING QUESTION: What effects do humans have on their environment? How can I use environmental science to improve my community?

This project is part of a year-long, experiential community outreach unit in which a group of 9th and 10th grade FLHFHS students use the Bronx River as their outdoor classroom to study environmental science, water quality, ecosystems, and the human impacts on these ecosystems. This unit is a partnership between Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School and Rocking The Boat After spending the first semester working hands-on with water quality testing, this project will be done by groups of 9th and 10th grade students in the spring, applying the deep conceptual knowledge they’ve learned to this specific tree swallow habitat restoration project.

This project is designed to serve as an introduction to Tree Swallow migration as well as familiarize the student with research on the Swallow’s living habitat. Tree Swallows breed in fields, marshes, shorelines, wooded swamps, and beaver ponds throughout Northern America. This type of bird prefers to live near bodies of water that produce multitudes of flying insects for food. For nesting, they need old trees with existing cavities or a human-made nest box. Students will learn more about the different environments of the species and help reinstall new nesting boxes to help improve the Tree Swallow’s disappearing population in the North American region.