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Afterwords on Watershed Education

Afterwords on Watershed Education

"As literal as you can get"--
and yet--

"What you are seeing right here is not the result of just what is here."
There is space for interpretation.


But! who saw the lady on the right?

(She resides on the edge of the pond.)
Why didn't you see here?


"This is not just inquiry; it's guided inquiry."


 What things were we missing, when we were
being guided to look @ other things?


Further thoughts from the side of the pond:

Anne: What was it like, being outside? What are the advantages and disadvantages of getting out of the classroom? Of not being "in control" of what's happening (like: the weather)?

Mary Ellen: It was quite revealing that we weren't really aware of our sense of place after being in class together for a week (ex. where are we on the campus, what is the shape of our building, etc.) I would suggest that this session should be at the beginning of the first week next summer. Sense of place should begin with where we are physically, and then move on to the historical, social, and biological perspectives.

Patricia: Placing myself in the environment I could observe the pond and watershed physically, visually and used prior knowledge. It was a perfect example of inquiry teaching partnered with traditional teaching.It is so important our students get out of the box ,(classroom).

Judith: very exciting!...very hands-on! a good reality check for them to understand that there are consequences for the actions they take and that everything eventually affects the watershed! This was a good story!

Rosemary: I was amazed at how thought provoking just hypothesizing the temperature of the water could be.

Rita: There is always the safety issue in Philadelphia.
Wil: Physical laws of nature, historical events, and the sum total of all current context limits the world we know...not everything is possible.

Dora: I wanted to reiterate...the option of encouraging inquiry-based learning outside the classroom...what has worked for many kids and adults in an overly structured education system....small preferences in each individual can create a massive outcome....I'd be interested in an action plan.

Anne's Favorite Quotes from From the Earth to the Moon:

  • "I think we have a good system....they just don't have scientific minds."
  • "Find a teacher who can bring out the scientific minds in all of them."
  • "They need to learn how to really see it."
  • "Do you see the story yet? It's there, but in a language that you can't yet understand."
  • "That's what we are, we geologists. Storytellers, Interpreters, really."
Anne's Grandmother's favorite quote:
"Pretty is as Pretty Does,"
(or: how pretty a map is doesn't necessarily correlate with how USEFUL it is).
Turning now to a different sort of place:
Wendy Sternberg on "Neuroscience and a Sense of Place"
See also NYTimes Science Times (see feed to left!):
"The Subconscious Brain: Who's Minding the Mind?"
"the new studies reveal a subconscious brain that is far more active, purposeful and independent than previously known...we have these unconscious behavioral guidance systems that are continually furnishing suggestions...about what to do next, and the brain is considering and often acting on those, all before conscious awareness....Sometimes those goals are in line with our conscious intentions and purposes, and sometimes they’re not....

The results suggest a “bottom-up” decision-making process...a circuit that first weighs the reward and decides, then interacts with the higher-level, conscious regions later, if at all....conscious awareness...can be one of the last neural areas to know when a decision is made.

This bottom-up order makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. The subcortical areas of the brain evolved first and would have had to help individuals fight, flee and scavenge well before conscious, distinctly human layers were added later in evolutionary history.... unconscious goals can be seen as open-ended, adaptive agents acting on behalf of the broad, genetically encoded aims — automatic survival systems.

...once covertly activated, an unconscious goal persists with the same determination that is evident in our conscious pursuits....Sometimes nonconscious effects can be bigger in sheer magnitude than conscious ones....we are not alone in our own consciousness. We have company, an invisible partner who has strong reactions about the world that don’t always agree with our own..."


Diane OFee-Powers's picture


I am sorry that I missed the outside activities. Watershed protection is a real life problem & it is important to teach to our students. If you can't take the kids outside, there are classroom activities that you can do to simulate a watershed. Project Wet has a book on activities. THE John Heinz center my be a good place for a class trip.

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