Ross School - Senior Projects 2011


Student: Abigail Cook       

Mentor: Alex Cromwell

Domain(s): English, Media




Title: Why is the Earth Round?

Description: Why is the Earth Round? is a book I created for my Senior Project inspired by all the amazing things that I have heard children say through the years. The way a childŐs mind works, is to me, so wonderfully inspiring and there is nothing more magical. On occasion, when children produce answers to lifeŐs many questions, they are so brilliantly fantastic, you will never forget them. I have always admired the way some childrenŐs answers to these questions and decided to organize my collection of quotes into one place. In addition to quotes, in my book you will find commentaries and images. The commentaries are written by myself explaining the true reason for why each of these things happen, while the images were produced by children in order to help to give a visual of what a child is actually imagining when they say the extraordinary things they do.












Why is the Earth Round? is a book I created for my Senior Project originally inspired by all the amazing things that I have heard children say through the years. To me, the way a childŐs mind works is so wonderfully inspiring and there is nothing more magical. On occasion, when children produce answers to lifeŐs many questions, they are so brilliantly imaginative, you will never forget them. I have decided to record a collection of these quotes into an organized, published book, which became my Senior Project.

Last spring when senior project began I thought I without a doubt, wanted to do a fundraiser. Mainly two different things I greatly admire, M-Term and ZimKids, launched this idea. Specifically the two community service trips that I have been on, to Tanzania and Nepal/India, impacted me in a way that made me want to give back, by possibly working with one of the organizations again, or an organization such as ZimKids.

In a nutshell, ZimKids Is an organization founded by Dennis Gaboury 2005. Denis uses it as a way of encouraging and rewarding childrenŐs creativity, by hosting a sort of competition among more than 250 boys and girls to build dolls and other toys in Zimbabwe. Dennis then sells the dolls in the US and distributes 100 percent of the proceeds made, to the children in the form of food, school fees, clothing, medical supplies, or whatever else a given child needs. Originally, this is what I thought I wanted to do, perhaps some day I still will. But as time progressed, my senior project developed into something more.

A large part of this development came with working at Summercamp@Ross. I have been a councilor here for several years, and am in charge of the six year oldsÉ my favorite age. It was here, that I heard my first quote from a young girl named Samuelle.

During the process, I was also able to attend a lecture given by the woman that wrote my summer reading book, The Philosophical Baby: What ChildrenŐs Minds Tell us About Truth, Love and the Meaning of Life. In the lecture she discussed consciousness in children and divided consciousness into two separate categories. A Spotlight (adult consciousness) compared to a lantern (infant consciousness). By this, she means that Adults tend to focus on one thing at a time, where as children look at everything. She also referred to consciousness in children and adults as explorers vs. exploiters.

            When it came time to put the book together, I had my commentaries written, quotes organized and just needed to gather the images. I did so by working in the first and second grade classrooms at Ross. This was more challenging than I anticipated, because in the first grade classroom, all of the children were not able to illustrate a likeness that would make sense to a viewer. However, when I moved up to the second grade, likeness of what they were drawing improved, as well as their understanding of what they were trying to communicate. I found then, that this goes hand in hand with what Alison was referring to when she said, that six is the age that many children begin to attend Kindergarten and become independent. As well as being the age children begin to feels pride in accomplishment and develop organized, logical thought. As I moved up in age, thought was more organized in a very noticeable way.

I did not have to many struggles throughout my project; however, I did have trouble learning about Blurb, and even before that, figuring out which publishing company I would like to useÉ The possibilities are truly endless! In the end, overall, I am very pleased with my final product. I am not sure I will ever publish a book again, but am so glad that this presented me with the opportunity to do so. I have always known I want to work with kids and therefore used my time to pursue a different aspect of this greater interest, in a new medium, which I am very grateful for.


Works Consulted


Wood, Chip. Yardsticks: Children in the Classroom, Ages 4-14. Turners Falls, MA: Northeast Foundation for Children, 2007. Print.


Gopnik, Alison. The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us about Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009. Print.


Eliot, Lise. What's Going on in There?: How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life. New York, NY: Bantam, 1999. Print.


Gopnik, Alison, Andrew N. Meltzoff, and Patricia K. Kuhl. The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us about the Mind. New York: Perennial, 2001. Print.


Siegel, Daniel J. The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are. New York: Guilford, 1999. Print.


"Inside a Child's Mind: A Visual Guide | BabyCenter." BabyCenter | Homepage - Pregnancy, Baby, Toddler, Kids. Web. 21 Feb. 2011. <>.


Mandell, Sherri Lederman. "Nurturing Imagination: The Importance of Letting Your Children Imagine." WholeFamily. 21 Feb. 2011 <>.


Mason, Ruth. "Imagination and Children." WholeFamily. 21 Feb. 2011 <>.


Haddam, Jane. "How to Nurture Your Child's Imagination." Parents - Pregnancy, Babies, Baby Names, Pregnancy Calendar, Ovulation, Birth & More. 21 Feb. 2011 <>.


Outside Consultant

For my outside consultant I worked with a woman named Kate Hartson who is an old family friend. Kate works at a publishing company in NYC during the week and come out to Hampton Bays on the weekends.


Her phone number is (646) 221-7463