Tag Archives: Water Inquiry

A Rainy Day Adventure: Theory into Practice

24 Apr

A heavy April downpour set the perfect tone for our first Water Inquiry Story Workshop, held in the Design Thinking Lab of Smith College. Skilled educators from four elementary schools cast dripping umbrellas aside before digging into the learning adventures of Inquiry Inc. and the Case of the Missing Ducklings, our newly published storybook. Pilot teacher Katy Butler introduced the interactive text as she did with her first graders, saying: “It’s a picture book story with characters… the kind of story where we will stop and talk, stop and think, stop and go. You will get to do the activities.”

Katy Butler reads “Inquiry Inc and the Case of the Missing Ducklings” at the Water Story Teacher Workshop.

Teachers then had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the student mindset, studying images of storm drains and ducklings, discussing the questions: “Where do you think the water goes?” and “Where will the ducklings go?” before working together to show their ideas about drain design and water pathways. In his new book Wait, What? And Life’s Other Essential Questions, James E. Ryan– Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education– writes that, “Inquiry… should always precede advocacy,” and it was, indeed, this sense of participatory engagement that characterized teachers’ efforts to “think… talk… and go” in preparation for doing so with their students. Read more at the Water Inquiry Blog

Planning and Piloting

25 Jan

News from Water Inquiry: January 2017

waterinquiry_jan17

 

“I have too many ideas” was a pleasing lament to hear on an icy afternoon in mid-December. Nestled inside a first-grade classroom at Jackson Street Elementary School, Katy Butler (’12, MAT ’18), classroom teacher and Water Inquirer extraordinaire, guided her students through an exciting encounter with our interactive story, Inquiry, Inc. and the Case of the Missing Ducklings. Collaboration was the modus operandi of our Water Inquiry team this semester.… read more

Wondering About Water

4 Aug

Water. Where does it come from? Where does it go? Those questions were the starting points for a group of Smith faculty, students, and local elementary teachers this past school year. The Water Inquiry project, sponsored by CEEDS, brought the group of educators together to share creative 1st-graders-drain-300x300.jpgclassroom activities designed to allow children to develop and improve their own questions and theories about water and to discover connections to the local community and environment.

Outdoor investigations were highlights of the water inquiry project, both for teachers and kids. Going out in a downpour, looking up at clouds, peering down storm drains and watching the river after a storm were moments that stood out for teachers. Like their students, teachers’ curiosity and sense of wonder were inspired by exploring the Botanic Garden and following water downstream from the MacLeish Field Station.

The Water Inquiry project will continue in 2016-2017. To read more about the project, check out their blog, Water Inquiry.