Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Earth & Space Science: Session 6

Barbara Waters with Robin Geggett;
Mashpee, Massachusetts

Barbara Waters"Asking a question is harder than giving an answer. My thesis is over 100 pages and I can boil it down to one sentence: Never answer an unasked question. I think that over half a lesson should be developed from questions that the children ask — if they didn’t ask the question, they really won't care about the answer.”


School at a Glance:
Quashnet School

  • Location: Mashpee, Massachusetts
  • Grades: 3-6
  • Enrollment: 776
  • Ethnicity:
    85% White
    7% American Indian
    5% African American
    4% Hispanic
  • Percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch:
    2% versus a state average of 29%

Barbara Waters is quick to say that she has always liked water. “Ever since I discovered there were little things crawling around in the pond in the back yard, I was fascinated.” But she’s also quick to add that she married into the name. Barbara started teaching science in 1959 and, because she lived near the coast, says she felt like she was always teaching about water in some way. When she went back to school to earn her master’s in the early 1980s, she became interested in watersheds and groundwater, and it was an easy choice to do her thesis on water. At the same time, however, Barbara became interested in the constructivist approach to teaching, which, in the 1980’s, was not yet strongly advocated to classroom teachers. For her master’s thesis, Barbara combined her two interests, and one of the results of her work is the grades 4-8 curriculum Watershed to Bay: The Raindrop Journey.

For the video, Barbara worked with Robin Geggett’s fifth graders at the Quashnet School in Mashpee, Massachusetts, which is on Cape Cod, a peninsula off the coast. Robin is in her fifth year of teaching, and has used Barbara’s curriculum in the past. “Mashpee is a community that has to be really concerned about their water — dumping from a local air force reservation led to some groundwater plumes,” explained Robin. Groundwater plumes result when contaminants have filtered into the groundwater, making it unsafe to drink.

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