Eighth Grade Capstone
Capstone: Translating Passion into Purpose
A hallmark of the middle school experience, the Eighth-Grade Capstone provides students with a yearlong, intensive opportunity to research a topic of local and global significance and ultimately present their findings to the Woodland community. Past projects have focused on immigration, agriculture and environmental dam and river restoration. The Capstone is designed to encourage students’ greater understanding of the wide-ranging impact of their subject, both in their local communities and on a global scale.
2022 Capstone Projects
Our 8th grade students are in search of community members to participate in and/or support their Capstone projects. Our students are also eager to share information about their projects. Please click on a topic!
- Decrease Meat Consumption and CO2
- Create Elderly Activity Centers
- SAVE OUR SEAS + REDUCE MARINE POLLUTION
- DONATE THE UNDONATED
- SLEEP DEPRIVATION FOR CHILDREN IN HOSPITALS
- WATER-FREE WEDNESDAYS
- BLOOD SUPPLY IN THE BAY AREA
- REDUCING CARBON EMISSIONS - Save the Polar Bears
- BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN HUNGER AND FOOD WASTE
- PET OVERPOPULATION
- OVERFISHING OF SHARKS
- UNPLEASANT DESIGN
- AUTOMATION AND JOB LOSS
Decrease Meat Consumption and CO2
My name is Matthew. I’m an 8th-grade student at Woodland School. Every year, 8th grade students choose a problem in the world that they are passionate to make a change about. I chose the problem of factory farming, the main way that meat is produced nowadays. Factory farming causes great harm to people, animals, and the environment. Industrial animal agriculture, or factory farms, contributes to 15.4% of the globe’s CO2 emissions. (FFAC, 2021) Both manure leaks and airborne ammonia cause ecological collapses in our lakes and rivers. The factory farms stink up the air, causing harm to people living nearby. There are many cruel agricultural practices that are commonplace at these farms, including overcrowding and, for chickens, debeaking.
My research has spurred a project where I have challenged my classmates to refrain from eating meat on Mondays during the month of March, hoping to lead to less meat consumption. If one person did not eat meat for 4 Mondays in March, 32 pounds of Co2 would not be released into the atmosphere and 1600 gallons of water would be saved. Please join the cause and pledge to refrain from consuming meat on Mondays in March by completing this form.
Create Elderly Activity Centers
As of 2011, 8.6% of the Indian population or 103 million people are 60 and above. Based on a recent study, it is predicted that this population, growing at 3%, will triple to 309 million by 2050. Indian society has evolved from joint to nuclear families. However, care for this large population of elderly stops to medical care. Why? At old age, is access to doctors and medical facilities their only need? How can we ignore the needs of the population that helped raise us and leave them as drying leaves in our backyards?
Elderly people- all over the world- need more than medical care. Loneliness and isolation have been known to cause deteriorating health and an increase in Alzheimer's. We need to do something to help the generation that raised us.
My hope for the future is to create elderly activity centers, places where elderly people can interact and feel valued in their society. Here they will have something to look forward to each day. My contribution to this will be creating a prototype elderly care center over zoom. I plan to see how the elderly people enjoy companionship, and what they would look for in an activity center.
Ignoring the well-being of the 103 million population of India is no less a humanitarian crisis. Just as the children, the grandparents of the society deserve to have a better rest of their life.
SAVE OUR SEAS + REDUCE MARINE POLLUTION
Each year, we expose the world’s waterways to an increasing variety of pollutants — chemical runoff, crude oil, and garbage, particularly PLASTIC. Eight million metric tons - that’s how much plastic we dump into the oceans each year. That’s about 17.6 billion pounds. My capstone invites you to a beach cleanup on the coastal trail in front of the Pillar Point RV Park. I will have a table specifically for Woodland sign-ups and all necessary materials such as gloves, buckets, and trash sticks will be provided there. After you are finished, all the trash you collected and the trash that others collected, will be recycled and weighed.
Here are 3 things you can do to help:
1. Reduce your use of plastic items + spread the word about how plastic threatens our oceans.
2. Donate to the award-winning Pacific Beach Coalition (PBC) and support their beach clean-up, habitat restoration, and education activities in the Bay Area.
3. Volunteer at the PBC Beach Clean-Up at Surfer's Beach in Half Moon Bay on Saturday, March 26. To RSVP email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope to see you there!
Zoe F, 8th grade student
DONATE THE UNDONATED
Hi there! My name is Luke and I am having a drive between March 21st and 27th. This drive shall be focused on getting items for the homeless, which often aren't considered. This includes items like toiletries, socks, underwear, and bedding, which shall all need to be unused to be donated. You can donate items at the Woodland School campus.
SLEEP DEPRIVATION FOR CHILDREN IN HOSPITALS
Hi, my name is Maia and I’m an 8th-grade student here at Woodland. Every year, the 8th graders at our school choose a problem, research it, and complete an action project about it. This year, I learned about the poor sleeping conditions for children in hospitals. After reading numerous books, articles, and conducting many interviews, I have learned that although sleep is essential for recovery from illnesses, surgeries, and injuries, children do not receive enough sleep. The deprivation of sleep happens for reasons such as noise, lights, and frequent check-ins that disrupt patients. For my action piece, I am hosting a fundraiser for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospitals to buy sleep accessories such as eye masks, earplugs, and white noise machines. By donating to my fundraiser, we are helping improve children’s sleep quality in hospitals.
Hello, my name is Renner, I am an eighth-grader at Woodland. Capstone is a year-long, intensive opportunity to research a topic of local and global significance and ultimately present the findings to the Woodland community. My project is on researching the California drought and trying to get people to waste less water in their daily lives. This survey is for you to fill out if you would like to be a part of water-free Wednesdays. Water-free Wednesdays is a great challenge to try to help you implement new strategies to save water. Being a part of this would help a lot and I would greatly appreciate it.
BLOOD SUPPLY IN THE BAY AREA
Hi Woodland! My name is Julia and I am a current 8th grader. In 8th grade, students choose an issue dear to their hearts and try to help solve it. I decided to learn more about our blood supply in Bay Area hospitals and how hospitals are dealing with the blood supply shortage due to COVID-19. The blood supply in Bay Area hospitals has always been low but due to COVID-19, it has waned dramatically. More people are in hospitals, but blood donations have not increased to meet the demand. This results in millions of people each year having their lives in the palm of strangers' hands.
I have partnered with the American Red Cross to host a blood drive. This can be a one-time gift that saves lives. My blood drive will be held on Tuesday, April 5th, in The Lodge. By donating your blood you are not only giving people the gift of life but you are becoming the change that we need to see.
To be eligible to donate you must be at least 16 years of age and have not donated whole blood in the past 56 days. Please check out the link below with more information on donation eligibility, my blood drive, and selected time slots to donate:
REDUCING CARBON EMISSIONS - Save the Polar Bears
Hello, my name is Kami and I am an eighth grade student at Woodland. Every year, the eighth grade students do a year long research and action project called capstone. My capstone project is about the endangerment of polar bears, and excessive carbon emissions. Here is a survey that Woodland Students can fill out weekly to participate in my carbon emissions reduction challenge. This challenge starts April 11th, and goes through April 17th. If you could help me and participate in this challenge, it would help my project greatly. I also created an instagram account to raise awareness outside of Woodland. The account can be found at @savethepolarbears2022. If you have an instagram account, following this account would also be greatly appreciated.
BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN HUNGER AND FOOD WASTE
40% of the food in the United States is wasted, and yet one in nine American families experience food insecurity during the year. How is this possible? The American food distribution system is riddled with inefficiency and waste at every level, making hunger not an issue of quantity, but an issue of access. Systemic oversights result in things like produce rotting in fields, entire bags of perfectly edible food thrown away for cosmetic reasons, and corporate overproduction. Worse yet, those with extra food— the farmers, the restaurateurs, the bakers— don't have the resources to get their unsaleable but edible product to food banks, lacking labor and transportation.
I chose to combat this issue on two levels: local and governmental. I sent letters to county and state offices outlining several action plans, such as requiring food businesses to report statistics on their waste (motivating them to clean up for fear of poor publicity), providing free transportation and storage resources to those with donatable product, and increasing publicity around donation-associated tax benefits. On the local level, I temporarily created a specific bin for students to dump their pure food waste into, further highlighting the sheer quantity of which can be wasted on such a small level.
If you want to help, I encourage you to start at a personal level: don't take more than you need at dinner, and clear your plate. Don't buy too much food at the grocery store. And right before you toss that carton of milk or that bag of ladyfingers into the trash bin, ask yourself: Do I really need to throw this away? Can I eat it? Can I give it to a friend?
Hi my name is Johanna. I am an 8th grade student at Woodland School. I am doing my capstone project on the problem of pet overpopulation. Capstone is a year long and highly rigorous project where member of the eighth grade class choose a worldwide project to combat. Pet overpopulation is a surprisingly big topic and my research has led me to many causes. One of these being the lack of fixed pets. Another cause, unexpectedly, is the way the media influences the way people buy and care for pets.
My research has led me to partner with Pets In Need and host an online Meet and Greet. In the event, Pets In Need gave Woodland a behind the scenes tour, and then we met some of their animals, met others who work in behavior, medical, fostering and animal care, and finally, there was a time for questions. This took place on March 10, 2022. Even though the turnout was small, I felt that the event was highly successful.
OVERFISHING OF SHARKS
My name is Jordyn and I am an eighth grade student. Every year eighth grade students are tasked with a year-long project called capstone. For my capstone project I am researching the overfishing of sharks. Each capstone project has an action piece, and for my action piece I am having a summit to talk about the overfishing of sharks and what individuals can do to stop it. The summit will be on April 7th from 4:00pm to 5:00pm at Woodland School! There is a zoom option, but I ask that you come in person if you can. I am having a guest speaker come and talk about the overfishing of sharks. Please complete this survey, if you would like to attend. Thank you so much. I hope to see you there!
Hello! My name is Mia and I'm an 8th grade student. My capstone project is about unpleasant design, a type of design that aims to exclude a type of person from an area. Ever see those unnecessary arm rests in the middle of benches? Those are there so people can not sleep on that bench. Ever notice that there are not enough seats in airports for the amount of people that are passing through? Those are so people have to sit down in shops and restaurants. Pigeon spikes? Anti-homeless spikes? Those are all there to remove a type of person from an area. This type of design plagues our urban environments.
To help one of the biggest groups targeted by unpleasant design, homeless people, I did a bake sale, which ended up raising 385 dollars to donate to the Saint Vincent De Paul Society, a charity that helps homeless people in San Francisco.
AUTOMATION AND JOB LOSS
According to a research journal by the Brookings Metro Team, 25% of all jobs will face high exposure to automation in the coming decades. Routine jobs, like labor heavy construction or clerking jobs will be overturned with the advent of automation. That is the 25% that will be affected by automation, just in these coming few decades.
AI won't stop there, innovating and tearing through jobs. Many of the secure jobs will fall, leaving those who couldn’t find a job left behind in the dust. However, there are some ways that we can prevent most of the calamity.
Universal Basic Income is one of these, a money transfer program that provides 1,000 dollars a month to all adults. This would allow everyone to be above the poverty line, and would be paid for by installing a VAT tax. VAT means value added tax, which is very similar to sales tax except it taxes at every time value is added on the supply end of things.
Another idea is for sectoral/job training programs to be created in order to fill the new jobs made by the new technology. Since sectoral training programs also work with some companies and target specific empty job opportunities, it is effective.
The last idea is to create laws and restrictions that prevent companies from replacing employees with robots and AI. This would force companies to make employees work with robots, instead of completely getting rid of them. What we as people can do, is either vote for these systems if they ever enter government, or spread the word. For my Capstone project, I am going to send a letter to Gavin Newsom asking him to make these reforms.
Video Link: https://youtu.be/rF-ySEoYG6A
2021 Capstone Projects
- Decrease Police Officer's Use of Military-Grade Equipment
- Gender Equality in Pay for Women's Sports
- Puppy Mill Awareness and Dog Donation Drive
- Protecting National Parks
- Why are Girls Dropping Out of Sports?
- Animal Poaching
- Food Insecurity in the Bay Area
- Restaurant Workers and the Tipped Minimum Wage: A Crisis
- Fast Fashion
- Animal Testing
- Coral Bleaching
Decrease Police Officer's Use of Military-Grade Equipment
Andrew is raising awareness surrounding police use of military-grade equipment
Taxes are used in many ways by the government. Many times people don’t agree with how their money is used. Children might not be paying taxes, however your parents are. In this instance some of their money is used for law enforcement. Some of the money even gets spent on military-grade equipment. Military-grade equipment is expensive and unnecessary for police officers. Military grade equipment has also led to many deaths when not used correctly. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Only 7% of Georgia’s law enforcement agencies received surplus military gear at any time over the 10 years, but those agencies accounted for 17% of the 261 people shot and killed by police. So, if you believe that military-grade equipment should not be used and is excessive, please copy and sign the letter below and send it out to your local police department chiefs.
Sign your name
Find your local police department’s chief’s email
Fill out follow up form.
My name is ______ and I am a student at Woodland School in Portola Valley. My classmate is doing a project about police brutality. He has spent the past six months researching this sensitive topic. He found out that the use of military-grade equipment in law enforcement is common. I want to make sure that policemen are trained to use those weapons because they can become unnecessary and have a higher chance of killing someone. Please tell me the equipment police officers use and their training process with this equipment.
If you sent a message to your local police department, please complete this form and thank you!
Gender Equality in Pay for Women's Sports
My name is Bella, I’ve been at Woodland for three years now and I am in eighth grade. For my capstone project I have decided to tackle gender equality in pay for women's sports. For my action piece I’m partnering with a semi-professional Women's Soccer Team based in Sacramento to raise money for soccer equipment for teenage girls who are Afghan refugees. They are shamed by their community for wanting to play soccer. To achieve this, we would like to have Woodland middle school students and their parents attend a zoom conference which will feature a few of the players from this semi-pro soccer team. Our goal, through this fundraiser, is to provide greater exposure of this women's team and the disparity in pay issue, to their community and hopefully beyond.
HOW CAN YOU HELP:
- Come to zoom fundraiser on Friday, March 26, at 4:00 pm - register here
- If possible donate to the fight for equality in women's sports
Puppy Mill Awareness and Dog Donation Drive
Every year, millions of animals are rescued and put into shelters, many of which are dogs that have been abandoned or rescued from puppy mills. A puppy mill is an, “in-humane high-volume dog breeding facility that churns out puppies for a profit,” (Humane Society). According to the ASPCA, the dogs in puppy mills are “commonly kept in small, stacked, wire-floored crates or in outdoor pens exposed to heat, cold, and rain.” They are forced to “eat, sleep, and give birth in confinement” (ASPCA: Barred From Love) This can lead to a spread of diseases. When dogs arrive at animals shelters they are sometimes too sick for the animal shelters to be saved. Unfortunately, many animals that get put in shelters end up getting euthanized even if they are healthy.
My name is Leila and I am in eighth grade. For my Capstone Action Piece, I will be hosting a dog donation drive to support Coyote Point Shelter in San Mateo. You may drop off donations in a box labeled “Dog Donations Box” with orange tape on it, outside the Lodge. The box will be out for donations between 8:15am-3:30pm Monday through Friday.
Donations for the following items will begin on 3/8/21 through 3/31/21:
- Unopened bag of dog food (No prescriptions)
- Clean Towels
- Clean Blankets (no stuffing or quilts)
Your donations will make a remarkable impact on the yet-to-be-homed friends at Coyote Point Animal Shelter! Thank you!
Protecting National Parks
National Parks are struggling with finding funding for their infrastructural repair including more than 5,500 miles of paved roads, 17,000 miles of trails, and 24,00 buildings in the parks are in need of maintenance improvements.
Hello Woodland Families!
My name is Genevieve, I’ve been at Woodland for three years now and I am in eighth grade. For my capstone project, I have decided to tackle protecting National Parks for future generations to come. For my action piece, I’m partnering with the National Park Foundation to raise money for National Parks to help with their funding problems. To achieve this, I have made a donation page on the National Parks Foundation website and would like to have Woodland School students and their parents donate as they see fit to the page. All donations will go directly to the parks helping to ensure that the parks will be here for future generations. The goal, through this fundraiser, is to provide funding for the infrastructural repairs listed above and the plants and animals that call these parks their homes. (The goal is to raise $2,000 for the National Park Foundation).
Please visit the National Park Foundation site to donate!
Why are Girls Dropping Out of Sports?
By the age of 14, girls are dropping out of sports at twice the rate of boys. By age 17, after most girls have gone through puberty, more than half of girls -- 51% -- will have quit sports altogether. 89% of girls ages 16 to 24 said there is pressure to conform to a feminine stereotype, which causes them to drop out of sports.
My Name is Natalie. I have been at Woodland for nine years and I am an eighth grade student. For my Capstone project, the topic I have chosen is: What effect does playing sports have on girls under the age of 20 in the Bay Area, and why are girls dropping out if the effects are mostly beneficial? For my Action piece, I am hosting a zoom room from 5:00 - 5:45 on Monday, March 29th with Stanford and Cal athletes to provide role models for girls at Woodland in grades 4th-8th. During the Zoom meeting girls can pose their questions to the Stanford and Cal players. If you would like to join the Zoom Room with Stanford and Cal athletes, please email email@example.com and I'll send you the link.
Hi everyone, my name is Molly and my capstone project is about animal poaching. Poaching is the illegal hunting of animals. Wildlife trade makes an estimated 10 - 20 billion dollars every year. Rhino horns have the highest demand and highest price among consumers and the Black Market. There are only 70 Javan rhinos left in the wild today and many other species of rhino also face extinction. Unfortunately, as the population of these species goes down, the demand for their parts only grows. Local communities, the environment, and other species are all affected by poaching.
I will be selling rhino stickers to the middle school students as well as the 3-4 graders and I will donate all the proceeds to the International Rhino Foundation. The IRF strives to eliminate poaching and fight for their survival. I will also be sending out a short quiz to the middle school students to spread awareness about poaching.
If you would like to take my short anonymous quiz, here is the link: https://forms.gle/
Food Insecurity in the Bay Area
I am Mateo and I am an 8th grade student at Woodland. Every year, 8th graders choose a problem in the world that they are passionate to make a change about. I chose food insecurity in the Bay Area. I was inspired to work on this topic due to an experience I had volunteering with One Life Counseling. At the start of the pandemic, my mom and I volunteered at a food drive at One Life. We ran out of food and there were still about 30 or so families that couldn't get food. After that experience and research, I realized how large of a problem food insecurity is and I wanted to make a change. As of January 2021, 19% of people in the Bay Area are food insecure. Hosting a fundraiser is a way I can make a change, any and all amounts donated are greatly appreciated. All of the money donated will be used to help families that are food insecure. My goal is to raise $500 for One Life Counseling which is an amount that will support a Friday Food Drive with distribution of food for 150 families in need.
To find out more about One Life Counseling, please visit their website at https://www.
If you would like to donate, please visit MateoSotoOneLifeFundraiser.
Restaurant Workers and the Tipped Minimum Wage: A Crisis
I am Milo and for my Capstone project I have focused on the crisis of poverty among restaurant workers. For my action piece, I have chosen to raise awareness and understanding about the problem through various posters and articles in newspapers around the local area, all of which lead to my website.
There are over fifteen million restaurant workers in the United States today, and over 40% of them are near poverty (National restaurant Association 2020, Grub Street 2014). The people who flip your burgers, wait your tables, bus your dishes, and more, often cannot afford rent, food, or bills where they live. In the United States, restaurants are not required to pay tipped employees more than a miniscule $2.13 per hour, as compared to the $7.25 minimum wage for non-tipped workers in the US (US DOL, 2021). This leads to many restaurant workers having to juggle several part-time jobs just to stay afloat.
To learn more, and show your support, visit my website at: www.supportworkers.wixsite.com/raisethewage.
Fast fashion is one of the largest polluters in the world, but many are unaware of what the practice even is. Fast fashion is mass-produced clothing made to satisfy trends, and feed into consumerism. Cheap, quick, and in style, people reach for fast fashion options without looking into where these articles are made. So where does fast fashion come from? Fast fashion is often made by workers in inhumane conditions, who are overworked and underpaid, which is part of the reason why these clothes can be sold at such a low cost. Although a solution to this problem is “slow fashion,” which can be pricey and hard to access, a cheaper, more accessible option, thrifting, is quickly gaining traction in the fashion industry. Not only does thrifting benefit the environment by reducing the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere because the buyer is giving previously donated clothing a new life, but it is also a more affordable option to sustainable buying.
Hello Woodland Community, my name is Katie, and in order to help supply these thrift stores, I’m setting up a clothes drive at Woodland, collecting thriftable apparel which will be donated to my local Goodwill. You can donate any type of clothing, including shirts, slacks, shoes, as long as the article is in good, wearable condition, and has been washed prior to donation. The drive will be held outside of the front office, where a bin will be located to collect donations. The donation drive will begin on April 23 and extend through May 17th, Monday through Friday. I hope you have the chance to donate! Thank you!
Hello, my name is Marcus and my capstone project is about coral bleaching. Coral bleaching, the expulsion of coral’s symbiotic algae which provide it with sustenance, is an environmental disaster that will have consequences that ripple throughout the whole world if left unchecked. In the last 30 years, around 50% of coral reefs have died, and up to 90% could die within this century. Coral reefs are ecosystems imperative to the biodiversity of our planet, and those who have witnessed its beauty can understand the need to keep these ecosystems healthy. According to National Graphic, “An estimated 4,000 fish species, and some 25 percent of marine life, depend on coral reefs at some point in their existence”. These marine housing systems are slowly being destroyed by human caused climate change. As we humans are the root cause of this problem, the responsibility to fix it also falls on us. For my action piece, I created a website with information on coral bleaching and how to reduce your carbon footprint, as well as a coral bleaching animation I made using Adobe Animate. My action piece was meant to spread awareness around coral bleaching, in hopes that informing others would make them feel the need to preserve these reefs.
You can find my website at coralbleachinginfo.webnode.com
2020 Capstone Projects
- Solar Panel Installation
- Animal Testing
- Animal Poaching
- Proposition 13 - How could this happen?
- Homelessness in San Francisco
- Children's Book encouraging careers in Nursing
- Healthy Eating
- Confidence in Girls
- Nutrition in Teens
- Airline Sustainability
- Lack of STEM Programs in CA Public Schools
- Dance Therapy and It's Importance
- Human Trafficking
- How Drugs Impact Our Society
- Teen Vaping and Smoking
- The Effects of Youth Spending No Time Outdoors
- Empty Fields
- Public School/Private School
- Social Media and its Effect on Us
- Ailing Public Transportation System
- How Dead Zones are Impacting Our Society
Solar Panel Installation
Rising sea levels and poor air quality have affected millions of lives and will continue to do so. These problems are a part of a bigger issue known as global warming. Alex created a 3D model of solar panels and posted the model on a website called Thingverse with a brief description of why solar panels can be helpful and how someone can donate to Gridalternatives to fund solar panels for low-income households. View his solar panel here.
The 5K is cancelled due to measures put in place to decrease the spread of COVID-19. Thank you for your understanding.
Hello Woodland Families!
My name is Alex, I’ve been at Woodland School for six years and I am in eighth grade. I am working on making a sustainable change in regard to solar panel installation for low-income households for a class called capstone. All eighth graders are challenged to make a change in the world in this class. I will be hosting a 5k run/walk to raise money for solar panel installation. The company that I will donate all the money to is Grid Alternatives which is a non-profit that helps out low-income households with sustainable energy.
The event will take place on March 28 at Shoup Park in Los Altos Hills
400 University Ave, Los Altos, CA 94022
The price to participate will be $20 per person. Larger donations are appreciated as well.
The event will take place from 9 am - 11 am and the race will start at 9:15am.
I am looking forward to seeing people there!
Hello, my name is Annika and my capstone project is about animal poaching. Animal poaching is the illegal killing of wildlife. The demand for animal products, such as ivory from elephants and rhinos, encourages poachers to continue harming animals. Consumers need to be educated on the effects they create from purchasing such products. To do my part in bringing awareness to this issue, I created an online game that educates future generations about animals that are susceptible to poaching, and the impact poaching has on them. You can play my game at: https://scratch.mit.edu/
Proposition 13 - How could this happen?
Please visit Simon's website, https://reconsiderprop13.org/, to learn about Proposition 13 and listen to his podcast. Education in California has steadily worsened, as Proposition 13 drains funding and resources. The only way to stop this disaster is to raise awareness, so greater actions can be taken. California’s educational quality was second place prior to the passing of Proposition 13 but fell to 38th place, where it stands today. In fact, our quality rating has dropped to 40th place recently. Education in California has dropped significantly as a result of proposition 13. The only way to stop Proposition 13 is to educate the people of California, so that action can be taken into greater hands. A podcast on education easily educates and shows people what the largest issues in Californian education are. In fact, even though repealing such a Proposition as one person would be practically inconceivable, spreading the message through the internet would let those who can make a larger difference take action.
Homelessness in San Francisco
With almost unanimous consensus, Americans and residents of the Bay Area consider the homelessness crisis in San Francisco, one of the most affluent cities in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, a humanitarian crisis. Over 9,000 individuals do not have a permanent shelter, and over half of those 9,000 don't have a shelter of any variety (Turner, 6). There is limited healthcare and medical support services to get them off the streets. This is especially critical given that many of them have diseases like HIV (Bouchér, 2). A combination of gentrification in low-income areas and rapid development that strips away housing units for at-risk individuals and families has created a serious homelessness issue that disproportionately affects minorities. (Darling-Hammond, 3). In order to avoid the total socioeconomic and humanitarian cataclysm on the horizon, city leadership needs to establish concrete measures to support the homeless and prevent at-risk individuals and families from becoming homeless. While the Mayor has proclaimed her intention to tackle the crisis, she still remains behind a veil of bureaucracy that prevents her from utilizing her position to the fullest.
Nikhil publicly called for the mayor to take action. View is letter to Mayor London Breed.
Children's Book encouraging careers in Nursing
Scarlett created a children's book explaining the challenges and rewards of nursing from the viewpoint of nurses and people in training. She hoped that this can spread awareness of how hard nurses work, and ways you as a citizen and patient could have a helpful impact on the workplaces. View her book here.
Ethan examines obesity in America.
Obesity affects adults and children all around America. As of November of 2019, almost forty percent of the American population was diagnosed with obesity, and amongst children, obesity rates reached up to eighteen percent. Obesity is a medical condition where people are excessively overweight. To measure if someone is obese, doctors measure a person’s body mass index (BMI). BMI is a tool used to see if a person is at an appropriate weight for their sex, height, and age. For example, if a 5’ 9” male weighs 125lbs to 168 lbs, he would have a healthy BMI which would be 18.5-24.9. If he weighed 203lbs, he would be considered obese with a BMI of 30 or higher. The flamboyant marketing of junk foods lures people into buying the product, and the taste of the product hooks the customer causing them to buy more. People who are unaware of the effects of eating unhealthy foods are the main customers, so educating them on the dangers could prevent obesity from becoming more prevalent. My action piece, to summarize, is to design a journal for adults and kids to keep track of their eating habits. They can look back at the food they’ve eaten and make changes depending on how healthy they ate.
Confidence in Girls
Girls lose their confidence when they begin puberty, and this lack of confidence can last for the rest of their life. There are many factors that can lead to the drop in female confidence. During the middle school years, teenage girls often experience a confidence drop for reasons such as peer pressure or physical changes. Social pressure from peers, as well as parents, can have a big impact on girls’ self confidence. Studies have shown this is much more common for the Z generation, likely due to the rise of social media. The constant pressure for girls to fit in, combined with the hormonal imbalance that occurs in the teenage years, can have lasting effects on young women. One solution is for girls to talk to each other, as well as adults. For teenage girls to understand that the women before them have also experienced self doubt is helpful because girls will know that all women have gone through a confidence drop at some point in their lives. Charlotte created a handbook explaining reasons why girls lose their confidence, and more importantly, ways to regain it. She wants girls to read it, and know they can be confident. She hopes that girls in the future will be more confident about who they are, and hopes girls will help and support each other.
Nutrition in Teens
Umair designed a video to educate middle schoolers about teen nutrition, so they might change their own habits. He put all his research into the video, trying to make it fun and interesting. His goal was to make a change in the mindsets of teens in regards to eating choices. He wanted them to be aware of what junk food is doing to their body on a daily basis, so they could make the decision to increase their own body’s performance. Moreover, many students are in social isolation due to COVID-19, and might feel the urge to eat unhealthy while quarantined at home, creating even more of a need for motivation to eat as they should. The video was entertaining and engaging, so students could relate to it as well as learn. View Umair's video here.
Cooper's goal is to spread awareness and education through and Instagram account. His Instagram would address important sustainability topics-like reusability, and using a phone for boarding passes. While viewing his Instagram, he wants viewers to learn more about commercial travel, and sustainability. His design was taking concepts used in a travel review(like plane spotting photos, and wing shots), and doing some focused segments to teach people more about airline sustainability. View his Instagram account here.
Lack of STEM Programs in CA Public Schools
Many high school students want to go into a STEM-related field, but since numerous schools do not have the resources, the student is not able to get the proper education on the subject they need to pursue a STEM career. The lack of STEM education is detrimental to today’s youth. This void of STEM programs has lowered interest in the subjects of STEM, and schools cannot give their students access to these programs.
Brady wrote a curriculum to post on STEM Facebook pages for teachers and parents to use to teach their kid’s engineering through bridge-building. He hoped that the lesson plan would get some publicity and that it would be improved upon and those improvements would be shared with him. He created a lesson plan for bridge-building and posted it on STEM Facebook forums. View Brady's Curriculum here.
Dance Therapy and It's Importance
Dance. That word has a different meaning for people all around the world. For some people it is something valueless, ineffectual, and silly. But for others it serves as a sign of hope and unity. Going to see a doctor can be scary especially when you are ill. Hospitals usually try their best to make their patients feel safe and comfortable but many kids still feel scared or alone. Many parents of patients send their children to therapy in hopes of it being beneficial, but it can be tense and be difficult for a child to talk to a stranger. Hospital stays for children can be scary, stressful, and lonesome but they can be more comfortable if the patients had something to look forward to like dance therapy. Dance therapy could be a safe place for patients and help them be more positive and engaged. I hope to make a change by bringing positivity to hospitalized children through dance. Geethikaa will be making a Tik Tok account specifically for dance and dance therapy. Many children going through dark times often turn to social media especially since there has been a shelter in place order. She hopes that by posting weekly videos on Tik Tok and Instagram people will be more aware of the importance of dance or kids with terminal illness will try my dances out. Check out her Tik Tok account.
Human trafficking is the action or practice of illegally transporting people from one country or area to another, typically for the purposes of forced labor or sexual exploitation. Trafficking is equivalent to modern-day slavery and needs to become more recognized around the world. Many people are forced or frauded into harmful situations, performing labor in order for traffickers to make a big profit. The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most trafficking-prone places in California. Human Trafficking is a threat to the world, just like slavery. This is like slavery, where people are taken and considered as property used to benefit the trafficker. 51% of people that are trafficked are women, while 21% are men. 28% of victims are children which is depressing.
Human trafficking in the Bay Area is a significant problem because it is not tightly regulated in big cities and leads to people getting abused; just like modern-day slavery. To solve this problem, people need to be aware of their surroundings, educated on the topic and should know how to defend themselves if they are confronted by a trafficker. Olivia's action piece will be an online self defense class. After learning self defense skills, students should feel more confident and safe when going outside. Students will also be able to identify situations in which to use self defense after this online class.
How Drugs Impact Our Society
Not long ago, San Francisco was famous for being the “Golden Gate” to success – a shining place to chase after your dreams and make them a reality. But as the fog rolls in on the City’s positive reputation, it consumes it with a dark reality that needs to be brought into the light. Today, there are more people on the streets than ever, and drugs play a large role as to why so many find themselves in unfortunate circumstances. It is disappointing to know that, “There are about 24,500 injection drug users in San Francisco — that’s about 8,500 more people than the nearly 16,000 students enrolled in San Francisco Unified School District’s 15 high schools and illustrates the scope of the problem on the city’s streets.” (sfchronicle) Not many people understand why drug abuse is so widespread and why there are so many needles on the ground, and what we can do to help. The current state of affairs shows just how important it is that we make it a priority to solve this problem as it is increasing by the day. Drug abuse is a major and ongoing problem in the Bay Area that we must work together to reduce its severity. By understanding the effects that drugs can have on one’s brain and body, the lack of resources for addicts, and spreading awareness of this issue, we can take steps to alleviate this enormous problem that negatively affects our society. To help diminish the amount of people with drug abuse, Madeline will distribute an informational pamphlet in the local Juvenile Hall for inmates to take and read about the topic.
Teen Vaping and Smoking
Vaping is an international, and prominent issue in today’s society. 37.3% of high school seniors tried to vape during the last 12 months in December of 2018, which was tremendous growth from the 27.8% of high school seniors who had tried vaping in the last year during 2017. The small particles in the vapor in e-cigarettes can also be proven to lead to various cancers. Vaping or the use of e-cigarettes is the act of inhaling small particles, including nicotine. E-cigarettes are separate from normal cigarettes because the exhaust is not smoke; it is vapor made of toxic chemicals, including nicotine, propylene, and carcinogens. Carcinogens have been proven to cause cancer. Vaping is a health crisis among teens because large companies, such as Juul, are selling e-cigarettes at small gas stations that are not heavily regulated. Schools need to educate their students about the health effects of vaping. Therefore, one possible solution to this problem is to spread awareness and information about this to schools in my area. This would hopefully limit the number of teenagers who try to vape. Charlotte wanted students to notify others about these health problems, so that rumor would go around that vaping is detrimental to your health. She posted the information flyer below at two local middle schools.
The Effects of Youth Spending No Time Outdoors
In 2018, CBS News reported that youth spend more than 7 hours a day on screens when the American Heart Association recommends 2 hours a day. Youth in the bay area rarely spend time outside because their time is spent on screens. This problem can affect kids because it can lead to obesity, lack of socialization, and will discourage creativity. Therefore, we need to organize ways for youth to be outside exercising and socializing with others. Jack's action piece was to set up an event where he invited children ages 10-14 to come to play capture the flag and other games. This forced youth to get more time outside because they spent time outdoors and got exercise at the event, so he hopes the event influenced them to spend more time outside and active in the future. He expects that the children who attended will want to meet up with others and spend time with their friends away from their screens.
A 2019 study stated, “70 percent of kids in the United States quit sports by the age of 13.” Declining rates of participation in youth sports in america are rising to epidemic proportions. In the absence of sports, children miss out on important life lessons, such as learning perseverance and developing a solid work ethic. Slipping participation rates in youth sports have been a problem for years, with youth participation numbers declining steadily since the late 2010s. Hudson has experienced this first hand. While playing recreational baseball, his first kid pitch team was one of thirteen teams in the league. His second year in the same baseball organization, it dropped to ten teams, then nine, then eight, and finally by age fourteen, only four teams remained. Therefore, in his experience with his own teams, his team suffered almost a 66% participation loss from the ages of ten to fourteen, and a 50% decrease from the ages of thirteen to fourteen. Similarly, he witnessed a rapid decrease in school affiliated sports participation. From ages ten to fourteen years old, the numbers of player participants on his school flag football team decreased by 31%. These expeditious decreases in participation numbers are not just taking place in his local area, but are being experienced throughout the country. This is concerning and problematic because of the important life lessons that are missed that sports can teach, as well as losing the many other positive effects youth sports has on participants. The root cause for this escalating decline is the increasing competitive nature of sports. The increased competitive pressure reduces the natural enjoyment of participation. Kids drop out under the weight of this pressure. By providing an opportunity for kids to play a less competitive organized sport, it could help solve the dilemma of kids dropping out of sports at an early age. Hudson proposed to solve this problem by addressing the issue of lack of interest in sports. For his action piece, he strove to show that sports can be fun and engaging. Hudson hosted a five on five football game during a Woodland School House Cup Games. He sought to engage 260 students to participate.
Public School/Private School
Many parents and others continue to converse about which type of school, that they can best be part of, can they best benefit from including their children. Several people still wonder which type of school could set the future of their child brighter and wealthy. Thus, creating barriers of wealth, education, and the overall relationship the student has with its educators. Many exceptions immediately come to mind when applying your child to a school they want to go to or they need to go to. There are many differences in public to a private school that can support the students that attend there to best help them in present and in the future. Furthermore, there are several other reasons a parent would put their child in a public school. That being said, what goes outside of school can affect what’s going inside and vice-versa as the beginning of the child’s education is what could matter the most. What are the main differences between public schools and private schools? The head pounding argument of public schools versus private schools is still an ongoing debate. There are many exceptions and evidence to aim toward one or the other such as which is better for you and your child, or you and your or budget/income, and you and your school district.
Julio's action piece is a comic book comparing the different lives of people in different types of schools. His hypothesis is that his action piece will inform those who read it an average day of different students who attend a public school while another attends a private school.
The initial design is a comic book with up to 6 panels a page. The comic will have a main student and people all around showing how he could be seen and treated. The comic informs people of the differences in the different ways a day could’ve gone. While the comic was average in size the explanation is enough to complete a full day. The comic shows how his 4 years in public school went compared to his 4 years in a private school could’ve gone.
Social Media and its Effect on Us
Did you know that social media can not only affect your physical and mental health negatively, but you can also affect yourself positively? Social media to most parents is utter horridness because kids are always on it, nonstop. However, it can cause harm and few adults know about the positive aspects. How does this affect the people around us? Well, a single post can reach thousands, even millions, of people around the world. But how does that post affect us? And how do other people’s posts affect us? While it has been reported that up to 25% of teens feel less shy and more confident, social media lacks emotional connection with family and friends and it can facilitate laziness. Many people are slowly becoming addicted to social media, either positively or negatively. Adolescents you see everyday can be impacted by social media for a number of reasons; feelings isolated, meeting new people online, reduced self-esteem, and more. While social media can have a negative impact on adolescents’ self-confidence, few know the positive impacts of social media. Social media raises awareness of teen hobbies and interests that can combat depression and anxiety. Teens need to be aware of the positive and negative impacts of social media.
Zoé made a large canvas painting hinting at both the advantages and disadvantages of social media. She also interviewed a few of my fellow students in middle school, asking each of them a few questions about their use of social media. She wanted more people to recognize both the assets and liabilities of social media. Most people know only one or the other, and she wanted people to know both.
The painting is inspired by the effects of social media on everyone. In the painting, a girl, who Zoé named Alys (pronounced ‘Al-liss’), is falling in a swirl of colors while clutching on her cellphone. Alys is a girl instead of a boy because studies show that girls are more vulnerable to social media than boys, especially with their self-confidence. Alys is falling into the “rabbit hole” of social media. The dark blue hands are reaching out to her, trying to bring her back to the “real world.” Colors are emerging out of the phone. Social media doesn’t only increase depression and anxiety, it can also offer opportunities to meet amazing people and have many positive experiences; these are represented by the colors. The colors also serve as emotions when on social media; yellow for happiness, blue for sadness, and so forth.
Ailing Public Transportation System
In the Bay Area, commuters ride public transportation 1.8 million times a week. (Transit Ridership par. 1). With these statistics, it is a surprise that the Bay Area is ranked near the bottom of many transit rankings. Commuters have pleaded for change with no avail, asking Bay Area leaders to create reforms and pass acts that would help improve transit.
The Bay Area’s ailing public transportation affects thousands of commuters per day. Bay Area Rapid Transit, also known as BART, and Muni, part of the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency, are known for crowded cars, messy stations, costly fares, and inadequate service. An effective, easy to use, efficient, inexpensive, and above all, seamless, transit system would benefit not only users but also the reputation of the Bay Area’s public transit. To achieve this, the public needs to be informed about the issues and possible solutions.
Aneesh decided to inform the public in a 4-step plan. First, he started a fundraiser on Cause Vox. This was designed to alert Bay Area leaders to take action in helping to fix our transit system. Also, this money went to supporting Seamless Bay Area and keeping the non-profit working. Next, he shared the Seamless Petition to his peers and the Woodland Middle School. Aneesh gained about 200 signatures towards the 1600 signature goal. The main goal of he action piece was to post 40 posters, made in photoshop, advertising Seamless Bay Area and its mission statement. He posted these in areas such as Mountain View’s Castro Street, Menlo Park’s Santa Cruz Avenue, and Palo Alto’s California Avenue. These places are well known for having regular pedestrian traffic. He found community bulletin boards and asked employees if he could place my advertisement at the storefront. Lastly, he created a presentation regarding the recently passed AB 2057 Seamless Transit Act, introduced by San Francisco assembly member, David Chiu. He also sent this presentation to Bay Area elected leaders, such as the Board of Supervisors in various Bay Area districts.
How Dead Zones are Impacting Our Society
A few decades ago, kids could go out to play in different waters. Kids could go to the beach or the bay and go crabbing. However, there is an unfortunate reality. Children may get hurt when doing these activities. This is because of dead zones. A dead zone, which describes an area where oxygen is not sufficient, is caused by runoff and sewer nutrients which not only affect marine life, but also affects the human economy and recreation. Today, there is an estimated total of 400 dead zones. This is twice as much as in 1960. The sad reality is that marine animals are either dying or forced out of their natural habitat. When that happens, fishermen and crabbers produce a lower income because of the lack of fish or crabs. This affects the things that they buy and the whole economy is affected. This is a current problem in the Chesapeake Bay. According to the EPA, “Harmful algal blooms... impact clear water, recreation, businesses and property values.” The public needs to use limited fertilizer and limit the amount of nutrients that go into the bayThis problem is not well known on the west coast because it is not terribly bad yet. The public needs to use limited fertilizer and limit the amount of nutrients that go into the bay. To help people understand this problem, Marcus will create a curriculum that informs middle schoolers about the upcoming problem of dead zones. It will give them general and in depth knowledge, teach them about other dead zones, and give them a way to help.