What is a Watershed? - Mid-Pacific Institute

3/4 Masa

What is a Watershed?

Posted on September 3, 2017

by Ms. Masa on September 3, 2017

Our Inquiry thinking caps were on this week as we dove into our first discussion of what a watershed is and why they think it might be important to keep it healthy. The students looked at me perplexed when I passed out their first Inquiry assignment with no written directions. Their objective was to start from whatever previous knowledge they may have, or make assumptions and educational guesses as to what a watershed is...and thus began our semester long inquiry work!

Starting from their own knowledge and speculations allowed the students to feel comfortable and open to creating their own ideas, a base camp, if you will, from where we will explore and grow our understanding about watersheds.

We were so excited to welcome our guest speaker Kumu Leong to our inquiry discussion. She captivated the classroom with watershed knowledge of the world, and specifically to Hawaiʻi.



To watch them, so infatuated and excited to learn about the island of Oʻahu and the true meaning of watersheds in Hawaii, was the highlight of both my week, and theirs.

The first question was to the point...What is a watershed?

Here the children openly shared their thoughts...

"I think a watershed is a river that goes through a valley"

"A place where they filter the water"

"A watershed is an area of land that catches, collects, and stores rain water"

From here we had our base, and the lovely Kumu Leong took the students on their their watershed knowledge journey.

With eyes wide and pencils scribbling as fast as possible, they took off on their inquiry learning. Understanding watersheds and their importance creates a deeper appreciation for where we live and how important our fresh water is, to us, the plants, and animals.

The question I urge students, parents, and our community to revisit is, how do we keep Hawaiian watersheds healthy?

Use water wisely
Reduce, reuse, recycle, and refuse! (Why refuse? You can refuse the plastic bag at the grocery store, or the plastic cup for water, plastic utensils, the list goes on!)
Remove problem plants and animals
Plant native plants
Use our resources respectfully
Keep streams free and flowing
Keep beaches and ocean healthy
Enjoy our water resources

The most exciting part about entering our first full month of school is seeing the multiple layers of education and community building already established. On top of our inquiry, we've become comfortable navigating with our iPads, and have begun rough drafts of the students first original stories.



I cannot wait to share with all of you all the wonderful projects the students have accomplished come Open House on Thursday, September 7th from 6-7:30!

Till then, enjoy the Labor Day weekend!

- Mrs. Farwell