|From the town web site -- click to enlarge seal & map.|
Monday, April 9, 2012
Family Geography Night -- East Middle School in Braintree
We are delighted that TWO schools in Braintree have adopted the Family Geography Night concept, making it their own. These are both schools with geographic names -- South and East -- and more importantly they are schools where we encounter a lot of students with a sound understanding of the concepts of geography and an enthusiasm for learning more. Clearly, the excellent educators we have met at both schools -- and in Braintree's central administration -- have a lot to do with that. We are very pleased to be spending another evening with these educators, their students, and the families who support all this learning.
Since the EarthView Team visited South Middle School just a fortnight ago, it would be good to compare the coordinates of the two schools. Which is farther south? East? By what portion of a degree? Where would the antipodes of these schools be (See the "more about" link above for this one.)
Aside from a striking name borrowed from a town in England, Braintree is a fascinating study in both history and geography. The blog post for our September 2011 visit to East Middle includes some discussion of the town's unusual seal, and also references the situation of the town. Geographers use the word "site" to refer to the characteristics of a place, while "situation" refers to the ways it is connected to (or separated from) other places or the broader region. Braintree is south of Boston, and includes one of the most important intersections in southern New England, as traffic leaving Boston is split between those headed south and east toward Cape Cod and those headed south and west toward the South Coast of Massachusetts or the I-95 corridor. Where outgoing traffic splits, incoming traffic converges. Braintree is also at the periphery of the municipal rail system for Boston, includes access to ferries (directly or through neighboring towns), and a major terminal for bus service to Logan Airport.
The convergence of these transportation networks creates a point of very high accessibility -- and therefore property value, especially commercial. This in turn has made Braintree a logical site for major office and shopping infrastructure. Combined with its role in the nation's history and the complexity of the coastal topography, Braintree is an ideal place to learn geography!