For my second interview I interviewed my uncle, Matt Etra. My uncle is a an American History Teacher and teaches 7th grade. He has told me he has seen 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: 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; and him to answer. My questions were:
Have you seen more interest in Alexander Hamilton since the show started?
Approximately when did you realize that students had an increased in interest in Alexander Hamilton?
Have you focused more on Alexander Hamilton in your lessons since the show started?
Have you incorporated the music from show into your history lessons?
What other historical figures do the students seem to know more about from the show?
What important historical events do the students seem to know more about since the show?
Is it now more fun for you to teach about Alexander Hamilton and this period of history?
If possible, do you think there should be an organized class trip to go see Hamilton?
Do you think the show Hamilton has helped children have a better understanding of this period of history?
What other methods have you found successful for bringing history alive for your students?
After I asked him each question he gave me a very good answer to each question. The answers he gave me were intelligent and not hard to understand. He could answer all of the questions that I gave him, and gave examples when he was giving me the answers. The answers also helped me get a better understanding of how the musical, Hamilton impact children’s learning of American History. I’m so happy that I got to interview my uncle!
Link to the video of the interview: (video called interview.MOV)
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. 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.
She ended up answering all of my sub questions, which was great! Her answers were clear and very thoughtful! She told me things I would never have thought of myself. Her answers are helping throughout the process in all sorts of different ways! For example, we have to have answers to all of our sub questions and most people are having some trouble with that. 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!
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 1700s. 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!
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.
Have you ever done a really big/important school project? That’s what I’m doing right now in school. This project is called Capstone. Capstone is a project where you create a presentation or movie about a topic that you are passionate about. For Capstone you have to have a lot of research, conduct an interview for your topic, do a site visit, and create a movie or a presentation. For my Capstone topic I have decided to research is the musical Hamilton.
I have known I was going to choose Hamilton for a couple of months now. I decided to do Hamilton because I am very passionate about it and when I saw the show I immediately loved it. Also, after the show started, I began to do research on Alexander Hamilton. I quickly became very interested in how the show was created and where Lin Manuel Miranda (the person who wrote Hamilton) got his inspirations from. Lin Manuel Miranda told Hamilton’s story through rap, hip-hop, pop, and rock music. I have now learned all the lyrics to all the songs. Lin Manuel Miranda took a pedestrian part of history and turned it into an awesome Broadway show. I found this so amazing that I chose this as my topic.
This is a video of me reading my “Where I’m From” Poem. The reason I selected this poem is because this was part of the 5th grade poetry theme. This poem was different than writing other poems because I had to be really specific when I was describing objects or places. The reason I chose cherry blossom trees for the background was because my poem reminded me a little bit of nature. Overall I loved the experience of writing this poem.
Do you know what a sphero is? A sphero is a robot in the shape of a sphere. The robot is clear so you can see inside of it. Anyhow our class has been working with spheros for quite a while now. So, we decided to give the other 5th grade classes some lessons on coding (programming) a sphero. Our class was split up into groups of two or three. My group was Corina and Neha. We were assigned a shape to teach the other 5th grade classes. Our shape was an equilateral triangle. We had to teach the other 5th grade classes to use a sphero in three lessons. So, we made three lesson plans. We practice our lessons till they were almost perfect. Yesterday we did our first lesson. The first class to learn how to use sphero was Ms. Coopers class. We had three students in that class, but one wasn’t there. The first thing we did was teach the students about spheros and coding spheros. Then, we let them play around with spheros or a bit. One of our students had a very negative attitude, though. His negativity was putting everyone in a bad mood. At least they learned how to make an equilateral triangle. Our second group was much better. They were interested in learning how to code a sphero and picked it up quickly. The even found a new way to make an equilateral triangle! I can’t wait till next lesson!!
When Billie, Maxine, and I met up on January 28, we had a lot to get done. Since our Rube Goldberg project didn’t initially go as planned, we basically had to re-do it. Now we needed an entirely new plan. Our first idea was to move our Rube Goldberg to the floor because the ramp going down the dresser was causing problems. Instead, we decided to begin our Rube Goldberg on a bench. Our first two steps would be on the bench, but then there would be a ramp leading down the bench to the floor. Our first couple of steps would be a ball hitting a small car which goes down a spiral toy. Then, the car hits a bigger car which goes down a gymnastics cheese acting as a ramp. It was hard to think of other steps that would go after that, though. We had to do a lot of thinking. Also, we had to look at videos for inspirations. Eventually, we thought of five more steps. The hardest part for me about Rube Goldberg was thinking of a simple task. For our simple task, we decided on having an object hit the delete button on the keyboard. We had written “Rube Goldberg not finished” on the computer. At the end of the chain reaction, the object deleted the word “not” because it was highlighted. I loved how our Rube Goldberg turned out!
For our Rube Goldberg we have to make a video to show our class. That video has to include our inspirations, our thinking, our failures, and our final Rube Goldberg. Since I have some experience with editing, I am editing our video. In the beginning of the video it shows us going to the hardware store and Michael’s looking for inspirations. Then, it shows our first ideas. I haven’t finished editing the rest of the video, but I have a pretty good idea what I’m going to do. Some challenges when editing a Rube Goldberg are deciding what the speed of the clip should be. That is challenging because if something is too fast then you can barely see the clip. If you make it slower it might take too much time. I hope our video turns out great!