Shining Lights At GPS

Thursday, February 20, 2014
The Lamp Project at GPS
The Lamp Project at GPS

Alumnae remember the Lamp Project as a time when they developed “mad soldering skills,” as a reminder of their GPS physics class, or in describing a product that still sits on a table in their or their parents’ home. 

“After 10 years, the full jar of JIF peanut butter that I used as my base was pretty gross.”

A mannequin leg base was inspired by the movie A Christmas Story. 

“I took my glass jar base filled with M&M’s to college.”

“My base was a teddy bear, and it’s still at home.”  

This year’s designs by juniors and seniors demonstrate the creativity and personality of the girls. One is a garden’s watering can sprouting flowers; another is a silver paint can; maybe the girl who used a colorful olive oil container likes Italian cooking.  A cardboard cylinder that once held toys, a silver candlestick, a blue mosaic ceramic container, a paper mâché globe, a mirrored base, and a monogrammed black shade, all are part of this year’s display in the Science Lobby. 

“When we start the project, I show the students examples of lamps from past years, and I can see the wheels begin turning in their heads,” says teacher Bryant Haynes.  “I’m always interested in seeing how each girl translates the assignment into her own creation.  Some just ‘get through,’ while others really put their hearts into it.”  

However lovely the end product, the students know their grade depends on whether a lamp has been wired according to Underwriter’s Laboratory codes, whether the cord has been properly knotted where it enters the bottom of the base, whether electrical connections are neatly made with no loose wires showing, and several other specifications. 

An understanding of electrical wiring and mechanical construction… learning skills for life. To see more examples of the lamps made by physics students, check out the media gallery.

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One summer reading book for GPS ninth graders is the NY Times bestseller Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. The story is of a young woman who is imagined to be the inspiration behind Vermeer’s most famous painting that has the same name as the book title.  Ms. Chevalier’s historical portrait of the girl is fiction, but springs from her study of and appreciation ... (click for more)

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Roy Exum: We Ain’t A Whirlygust

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