Tag Archives: waterways

The Joy of a Journey

Last Saturday, I had an amazing “New York” day. My husband and I met my daughter and son-in-law at the Whitney Museum to see the inspirational exhibition of Edward Hopper’s work. After a few hours at the museum, we took a cross-town bus to Union Square where we got on a Q train to East 86 Street. We were hungry so we walked to Second Avenue and ate at a very old time New York diner. After stuffing ourselves until we could eat no more, we walked to the beautiful Carl Schurz Park and then took a walk on the promenade along the river. We ended the day by riding on the ferry from East 90th Street to Wall Street, with stops along the way. It was windy and cold on the top deck but we had the most amazing views of the city!

This wonderful day made me think about the joy of going on an inquiry journey with children. When I was teaching, my kindergarten class traveled all around New York as part of our bridge study. The next year, when the children were in First Grade ( I looped with my class), at the suggestion of the children, we investigated the various waterways that flowed under the bridges that we had visited and other waterways in and on the outskirts of the city. I’ll never forget those experiences and I wouldn’t be surprised if the children, now in their 30s, and their parents too, have memories from those excursions.

When I did consulting work with teachers, I encouraged them to embrace inquiry investigations in their classrooms. So many of these teachers did so and with truly wonderful results for the children and for themselves.

When we disembarked from the ferry we walked to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal to get the train back to Brooklyn, but along the way we passed Saker Aviation and I was reminded of a wonderful Aviation investigation that Dana Roth did with her kindergarten class.

Here are some photos to take  you along on the children’s investigation and on their journey.




I would love to hear about  inquiry journeys that you and your classes have gone on! 

      You can click on “reply” at the top of this post to share YOUR classroom inquiry story.



making a mesaSome years ago (these sweet children are about to graduate from college!) my first grade class was engaged in a study of waterways. This was a year-long investigation and adventure that we took together with our 4th grade buddies. We visited the pond in Prospect Park, the Gowanus Canal, and the ocean at Breezy Point. Along with the 4th graders, we took an exciting ride on the MetroNorth train, and followed the Hudson River all the way to the Croton Reservoir.

Along with a representative from the Department of Environmental Protection, the children did water-testing experiments in class, took a walk around the neighborhood to observe how water is tested at various water-checking stations located on different streets and we also visited the water control center at the reservoir in Central Park.

Our “big bang trip” was a boat ride in Jamaica Bay with five instructors from the New York Aquarium. The instructors set up five different exploration stations and the children spent time at each one.

colin on the boat

Our assistant principal, Richard Goldstein a former science teacher, spoke to the children about different landforms and how they interact with and form the various waterways. He helped the children make mini-landforms in small plastic boxes. The next day at the suggestion of the children, we followed this up at Choice Time by creating various landforms in our sand/water table, mapping the landforms and then pouring down “rain” creating rivers and islands.waterway #1

waterway mapwaterway-process descriptionSometimes there was a disagreement about how the landforms should be constructed , but the children were encouraged to do some research to settle their disputes!


Collaboration, sometimes conflict, creativity, research…all taking place at one center during Choice Time in a first grade class!