Capstone #7 – Overall Experience

As the school year and Capstone came to an end, I started to reflect on Capstone. Capstone was hard at times, fun at times, and confusing at times. I learned so much from Capstone! For example, we got a lot of information from a site visit, an interview, websites, books, and videos. After we learned all of that information we had to categorize it into each of our sub topics. I would have never learned to categorize information in that type of format if it weren’t for  the Capstone project and Mrs. Edwards. I also learned much about how to organize my time and work. Since it was a project that required so much information I learned how to put that information into different documents and folders. And since it was an on – going project, I learned to make sure that every single thing was complete before the due date. This was very good practice for middle school.

Even though I learned so much, what stood out to me most was getting up in front of an audience and speaking about my Capstone in front of them. I practiced a lot in front of my class which I didn’t mind because it was fun and not nerve racking. Then on Monday the 19th we presented in front of some classes from our school. I was kind of nervous, but not so nervous. I don’t think when I presented I seemed so nervous, though. Then, the day came where had to share our Capstone’s. When it was my turn I was shaking like crazy. But, as I started to get into it, I felt much more comfortable. I loved presenting! Click here to see my presentation.

Capstone #6 – Working on my Final Project

On Monday 6/5 we started to work on our final project. I decided to do a TED talk because if I chose an Ignite I would only have three minutes to state all of my information. Also, if I did a movie then I wouldn’t get to speak in front of a lot of people, and I love to speak in front of of multiple people. The first step I did when I started to work on my final project was decide the theme of my slide show. I wanted the theme to be simple but not too simple. I decided on going with the “hamilton background” and turquoise text. I was working at a pretty slow pace because I thought that I had all the time in the world to get my slide show and script done, but I only later I realized that we only had one week to work on our project! I was freaked out, even though I didn’t need to be. I had all of the information that I needed, all I needed  to do was put it into my own words. Then, I started working so fast, that my script ended up not being my best work. Which meant that I would need to take more time that I didn’t have, revising the script! The next day I started to focus more and calm done. I was started to get my work done at a better pace.

The hardest part of writing my script was answering my main question. What I mean by that is that I was confused if I was supposed mention my sub questions, or not? Mrs. Edwards told me that mentioning my sub questions was optional. I ended up mentioning my sub questions by having a slide for each sub question (I skipped one sub question because the answer was boring) and on that slide I said the answer to each question. I think the hardest part of making a slide show was finding pictures that matched with my script. After I had finished my script, it was time to focus more on my slide show. In the end, I loved how my project turned out and I learned a good lesson about managing my time better.

Link to my project:

Ted talk presentation 



Capstone Resources


Brain pop vid on Alexander Hamilton

The Hamilton Book

Capstone #5 – Answering Main Inquiry Question

The next step in Capstone was answering my Main Inquiry Question. As you know, my Main Inquiry Question is:

” What is the Cultural Impact of Hamilton?”

Answering my Main Inquiry Question was definitely a challenge. At first I was baffled thinking of how to answer my Main Inquiry Question, and write this blog post. About a week before this blog post was due I started thinking of making a poster on answering my Main Inquiry Question, but that would take too much time. Then, I was thinking of just writing a paragraph about answering it. I didn’t know if I was really supposed to do that, so I asked other people what they were doing and they said they haven’t even started thinking about it yet!

A few days after that I learned that our class wasn’t supposed to do any of those ideas. We had to write an essay on answering our Main Inquiry Question. Most people in my class were very annoyed that we had to write an essay, but I really liked the idea! First of all, on our capstone schedule it says “Answering Main Inquiry Question Due 6/8” I was mystified what that meant in the past, but now I know that it means that our essay is due. Second of all, it was confusing to me how I was going to answer my Main Inquiry Question (like I said in my 1st paragraph) so now it is much more clear how I am going to answer my question. Lastly, I love writing essays!

It took me about a week to write my essay. Each day during school I wrote a paragraph then revised it at night. I had to start my introduction with a hook, which was good because I am pretty good at writing a hook. Surprisingly, the hardest parts of the of the essay were writing the introduction and conclusion. The introduction was a bit of a struggle to write because our class had to think of a thesis statement, having to do with our Main Inquiry question and sub questions. My thesis statement was: “Of the many ways that Hamilton is impacting our society, I have decided to focus on its impact on children’s learning of American History and the way the musical shed light on other historical figures besides Alexander Hamilton.” The conclusion was hard because conclusions aren’t usually my strength and, I wasn’t sure if I should include my thoughts and feelings into it. Also, when I was drafting the conclusion, I was a bit puzzled when deciding if I was going to include a lesson into it. I ended up including a lesson, it was ” I barely knew anything about Alexander Hamilton, but this show made me see all the amazing things he has done for our country and all the struggles he went through along the way. He started out as a poor orphan who was an immigrant and he ended up setting up our financial system and doing so much more for our country.”

My first body paragraph was about how Hamilton impacted children’s learning of American history. This paragraph was pretty easy to write because I interviewed my uncle, who’s an American History teacher, so it it ended up not taking me a long time to write it. In this paragraph I quoted my uncle a bunch of times so I ended up having some very strong pieces of evidence in it. Also in this paragraph, I quoted the other person I interviewed, Ariana DeBose. My second body paragraph was about how the musical also shed light on a lot of other historical figures besides Alexander Hamilton. I wrote about how the show shed light on Eliza Schuyler Hamilton and Hercules Mulligan. When writing this paragraph my site visit helped me a lot because the tour guide talked a lot about what Hercules Mulligan did for our country. This paragraph ended up being the longest one because I had so much information about Eliza Schuyler Hamilton and Hercules Mulligan. I’m very happy with how my essay turned out! 

My essay:

Did you know that the Broadway smash hit, Hamilton, has had a major influence on today’s society? Specifically, the musical Hamilton impacted children’s learning  of American History, played a role in present day politics, shed light on other historical figures besides Alexander Hamilton, changed people’s views of Alexander Hamilton, and might impact future Broadway shows. I found this out as a result of research to answer my main inquiry, which is “What is the cultural impact of the show, Hamilton?” Of the many ways that Hamilton is impacting our society, I have decided to focus on its impact on children’s learning of American History and the way the musical shed light on other historical figures besides Alexander Hamilton.

Hamilton has had a massive impact on children’s learning of American History. For instance, the musical has given many children a better understanding of the man Alexander Hamilton and the time period that the show takes place in. Specifically, my uncle, Matt Etra, a 7th grade American History teacher on Long Island, said that students who have listened to the music or seen the show definitely have a greater understanding and appreciation of that period in history. Many students get excited when he mentions any character in the show and they ask thoughtful questions about information that isn’t included in the regular curriculum.

Another example of how the show has impacted students’ learning is that it has made history fun again! Ariana Debose, a member of the original Hamilton, stated in my interview with her that “approaching a historical story, rooted in facts, from the hip hop angle made a new generation sing along and dance while they were learning.” I can relate to that because while I’m enjoying the Hamilton music in the car I am asking questions and learning about different parts of history.

Also, on my site visit, which was a tour called Hamilton’s New York, the tour guide said that since the show opened, more and more people have been going on the tour, including children. This makes sense because my friends and I are all so interested in Alexander Hamilton since we started listening to Hamilton music.

The musical also shed light on a lot of other historical figures besides Alexander Hamilton. For example, I didn’t know who Hercules Mulligan was until Hamilton, and I bet most people didn’t either. I think it’s good that people can now recognize Hercules Mulligan because he did so much for our country. Specifically, around five times during the Revolutionary War he saved George Washington’s life. Since Hercules Mulligan was a tailor that a lot British troops went to, he found out a lot information by making small talk and noticing the type of clothing they asked him to make. For instance, he found out that the British troops were going down South (where the American army was) to try to kill George Washington. Then, he passed this information onto the American army so they could move North, instead. He would also know if the British troops were planning on moving North if they asked for heavy coats and winter clothing. He was a great spy for the American army.

Another historical figure that I learned about from the show was Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton. She did a great job protecting Hamilton’s legacy by interviewing all the soldiers Hamilton fought with and by speaking out against slavery. She also raised funds for the Washington Monument and established the first private orphanage in New York. In the last song in the show, “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story,” Eliza sings, “I interview every soldier who fought by your side” and “I raise funds in D.C. for the Washington Monument” and “I established the first private orphanage in New York City.” This illustrates that the show, Hamilton shed light on a lot of other historical figures besides Alexander Hamilton.

Now it’s clear that there are several different ways that Hamilton impacted American society. Children across the globe are having fun learning about American history all because of the show Hamilton. I barely knew anything about Alexander Hamilton, but this show made me see all the amazing things he has done for our country and all the struggles he went through along the way. He started out as a poor orphan who was an immigrant and he ended up setting up our financial system and doing so much more for our country. As a result of all the show’s success, it will probably influence Broadway shows in the future – I can’t wait see what happens!


Going to Pollo A La Brasa Misti Restaurant

Today our grade had a field trip to a Peruvian restaurant called Pollo A La Brasa. Peruvian food is food from Peru, like steak, fries, and rice mixed together. Our grade went on this field trip for Spanish class. One of the reasons that we went to Pollo A La Brasa is because we are learning how to say names of food and drinks in Spanish, so it could be good practice. I was very excited to go on this field trip because our school has never done anything like this field trip. I was also a bit nervous because I didn’t know what to expect at the restaurant. For example, I didn’t know how the food would taste, it could be “weird”. Also, no one that I know of has been to this restaurant (besides my Spanish teacher), so I didn’t know if the restaurant had great food.

When we got to the restaurant, we were assigned tables. My table was Billie, Maxine, and Sophie. All of those girls are my friends, which was good. We would be eating our food family style, which I really like too. The first thing that we tried was a drink called chicha morada. Chicha morada is a drink made from purple corn and pineapple. I didn’t like the drink because I thought it tasted too gingery. Soon after we sat down, the first dish came. It was lomo saltado, which is steak, rice, and fries. That dish was so yummy that it didn’t even compare to the school lunch! After that, a similar dish came called pollo saltado, which is the same dish, but chicken instead of steak. I liked the lomo saltado better, but pollo saltado was still good. Then the pescado (fish) came. I didn’t try that dish because I’m not a huge fish fan. One more dish came out which was just some tasty noodles and meat. I wish I could have that experience all over again!

Image result for lomo saltado peruanolomo saltado


In our school we do houses in the middle school just like Harry Pottery, but the houses are only for three years. Each year your house stays the same. The houses are: Popham, Cooper, Butler, and Fountain. In 5th grade you find out your house, which I personally think is not the best idea because people make a very big deal about finding out your house. Also, people have like “Cooper pool parties” in 5th grade and if your not in that house you might feel very bad. It’s also bad because if you don’t have a “good house” you have a long time till you make new friends in Middle School.

Anyways, on Friday, the 26th we found out our houses. My mom and I just kept refreshing her email till we found out my house. Then, finally at 3:33 we found out my house. I was in Popham (which I feel is the best house)! I only had one school friend in my house, while my other school friends had more than one. But, I had a good friend on my lacrosse team and two people I am kinda close with in my soccer team. I’m definitely happy that I don’t have so many friends in my house because if I did then I wouldn’t be so focused on my work. I’m very excited to make new friends and I can’t wait for Middle School!

Capstone #4B – Interview 2

For my second interview, I interviewed my uncle, Matt Etra. My uncle is an American History Teacher for 7th graders. He has told me that he has seen much more of an interest in Alexander Hamilton since the Musical started. I thought that it would be a perfect idea to interview him because of one of my sub questions is: How did the musical, Hamilton impact children’s learning  of American History? I was originally going to face time him on the 5/20 but I ended up interviewing him on 5/22. I had prepared 10 questions to ask him. My questions were:

  1. Have you seen more interest in Alexander Hamilton since the show started?
  2. Approximately when did you realize that students had an increased in interest in Alexander Hamilton?
  3. Have you focused more on Alexander Hamilton in your lessons since the show started?
  4. Have you incorporated the music from show into your history lessons?  
  5. What other historical figures do the students seem to know more about from the show?
  6. What important historical events do the students seem to know more about since the show?
  7. Is it now more fun for you to teach about Alexander Hamilton and this period of history?
  8.  If possible, do you think there should be an organized class trip to go see Hamilton?
  9. Do you think the show Hamilton has helped children have a better understanding of this period of history?
  10. What other methods have you found successful for bringing history alive for your students?

When I first set up the interview I asked my uncle if I could video the interview. He said that I could video the interview. The interview took shorter than I expected. I thought it would take a half hour but it only ended up taking ten minutes. I was very excited to do the interview, but a tiny bit nervous.

After I asked him each question he gave me a very good answer. The answers he gave me were intelligent and easy to understand. He could answer all of the questions that I gave him, and gave examples when he was giving me the answers. For example, he said that the kids in his class now ask more personal questions about Alexander Hamilton, his wife, his first son, and the Schuyler sisters. He also brought up an interesting point about making sure that his students know that not everything in the show his true, but the big things are true. Students are also very interested in the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr and the conflict between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. The answers that he gave me I wouldn’t be able to find in a book, I would have to know how the musical impacted the children by interviewing or talking to a history teacher that teaches about Alexander Hamilton. The answers also helped me get a better understanding of how the musical, and how Hamilton impacted children’s learning of American History. I’m so happy that I got to interview my uncle!

Video of the interview


Capstone #4A – Interview 1

Since my topic for capstone is broad, I decided to do two interviews. Right now I am going to tell you about my first interview. My mom’s yoga teacher’s friend, Ariana DeBose, performed in the original cast of Hamilton and helped create the show. Now, she has a leading role in the musical, A Bronx Tale. Since one of my sub questions is, “How will the musical, Hamilton have an impact on future broadway shows?” I thought Ariana DeBose would be a big help because she was in Hamilton, then a Bronx Tale so she might be able to see the impact of Hamilton on A Bronx Tale. Since it would be WAY to hard to meet her in person or to face time her, (because she’s in a Broadway Show!) I chose to email her my questions. My sub questions are:

What other historical figures besides Alexander Hamilton did the musical shed light on?

How did the musical, Hamilton play a role in present day politics ?

How did the musical, Hamilton impact children’s learning  of American History?
How did the musical Hamilton change people’s views of Alexander Hamilton?

How will the musical Hamilton have an impact on future broadway shows?


She ended up answering all of my sub questions, which was great! Her answers were clear and very thoughtful! She gave me information I would never have thought of myself or found on a website. Her answers are helping throughout the process in all sorts of different ways! For example, when we had to answer our sub questions, I practically already had them answered and some people are having trouble with that. Ariana DeBose said “I think Hamilton made history fun again! Approaching a historical story, rooted in facts, from the hip hop angle made a new generation sing along and dance while they were learning.” She also said “Hamilton showed Broadway how social media can play a huge part in the shows success.” This is the first interview that I have done and I’m very with how it went. Since she answered all of those questions, it has given me a head start when answering each question! I’m so happy that she got to help me! I hope to see her when she’s performing in A Bronx Tale!

Link to her answers to my sub questions



Capstone #3- site visit

Hamilton’s tume stone

For capstone we have to do a site visit, which means that we have to visit a place that’s related to our topic. Since I’m doing my capstone on Hamilton, I did a tour in Manhattan called “Hamilton’s New York”.  The tour was 3 and a half hours long and there were about ten people taking the tour. For the first 45 minutes of the tour the tour guide talked about Hamilton’s childhood, about his father, step father, mother and brother. We also talked about the Battle of Brooklyn and how our army tried to trick the British by doing things like setting fake fires. After that, we saw a map of downtown Manhattan in the 1700’s. Then for about a half hour we talked about the battle of Monmouth and the battle of Trenton. The tour guide was also saying that Washington used a lot of Hamilton’s strategies when we were attacking the British. Some of Hamilton’s strategies were: to retreat inland away from the shore so the U.S. army didn’t have to deal with the strong British Navy; to set up many surprise attacks (for example, when the U.S. Army did a surprise attack on Christmas morning); and also to cut supply lines, which is when the U.S. army would set up an attack when they knew that the British supplies was being delivered.

After making a couple more stops, we finally got to Trinity Church. Trinity Church is where Alexander Hamilton, Eliza Hamilton (wife), Angelica Schuyler (sister in-law), Philip Hamilton (1st child), Angelica Hamilton (2nd child), and Hercules Mulligan ( a good friend of Alexander Hamilton) were buried. At Trinity Church, I learned that Hercules Mulligan was a spy for the U.S. during the Revolutionary War. Hercules Mulligan was a famous tailor that a lot of the British Army went to. When the British Army was asking for heavy coats he knew that they were going up north, and when the needed summer clothes he knew that they were going down south. He also made small talk with a lot of them and found out a lot of information, like that were going to try to kill George Washington. He ended up saving George Washington’s life. I learned a lot more Arron Burr, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington, and many other important people in Hamilton’s life. A lot of the time the tour guide made references to the music in the show. This tour really helped me understand Alexander Hamilton! I will never forget the experience!Eliza’s tume stone

Capstone #2- Main inquiry question and sub questions

For capstone we have to chose a main inquiry question and subquestions to go with our topic. A main inquiry question is basically what you will be narrowing your topic down to. At first I thought my inquiry question should be “Why was the musical, Hamilton such a hit?” or “How did the musical, Hamilton attract such a modern audience?” But I thought those questions weren’t advanced enough, so with some help from Mrs. Edwards, I came up with this question: “What is the cultural impact of the play, Hamilton?” I really like this question because if you think about it, most people only knew that Alexander Hamilton was on the 10 dollar bill. After the show “Hamilton” came onto broadway, people were talking about Alexander Hamilton, himself, nonstop. After I did some research, I couldn’t stop doing research. I found so much interesting information that I would have never found if I didn’t chose “What is the cultural Impact of the play, Hamilton” for my main inquiry question.

Sub questions are narrowed down questions that help you answer the main inquiry question. You can do five or six sub questions. I had a lot of trouble thinking of sub questions. I had to do more research before I actually figured out what my sub questions would be. When I first started thinking of sub questions I could only think of one. After I thought of one, I just kept thinking of more. These are my sub questions:

  • How did the musical, Hamilton play a role in present day politics?
  • How did the musical, Hamilton impact children’s learning  of American History?
  • How will the musical, Hamilton have an impact on future broadway shows?
  • How has the musical, Hamilton changed people’s views of Alexander Hamilton?
  • What other historical figures besides Alexander Hamilton did the musical shed light on?

I think these questions will help me research my  main inquiry because they are related to my main inquiry question, but aren’t to similar to my main inquiry question. I also think these sub questions will be really fun to research.