The Power of Curiosity

Duckworth, a student of Piaget’s, urges us to allow children to be curious and support their sense of wonder. It is this sense of wonder that gives our students a desire to learn. Extinguishing our student’s curiosity by denying them the opportunity to explore and expand upon their own ideas is the most harmful aspect of formal education today. It is our job as teacher’s to not only allow our student’s to explore, wonder and be curious, but to encourage them to do so.

This sense of wonder is important in every aspect of schooling, but may be the most prevalent in the science classroom. So how do we as science teachers ensure we are doing our part in promoting student curiosity?

We need to:

  • Give students freedom to explore their own ideas
  • Ask students to question given knowledge
  • Make sure we do not avoid or dismiss any student questions
  • Take every opportunity to explore deeper
  • Get to know student’s interests and incorporate these into lessons
  • Utilize NGSS science and engineering strategies

What are some strategies to promote curiosity and wonder?

Start new units with Exploration Stations

  • Set up multiple stations with different items/activities that relate to a new unit
  • Give students freedom to interact with and explore each of these stations at their own pace
  • Ask students to write down questions they have during this exploration
  • As a class, discuss and further investigate these questions

Have students Design Their Own Labs

  • Instead of having students complete a predetermined lab with already known results, ask them what they would like to discover
  • Use student curiosity and questions to inspire a unique and student centered lab
  • Ask students to create their own lab, including their hypothesis and methods
  • Allow students to explore their hypothesis and discover the answers to their questions

Allowing students to expand upon their curiosities and dive into their wonders will result in interested and engaged students who are eager to learn. What teacher doesn’t want that?


  1. Hi Natalie! Something that really stood out to me about your post was your line “Extinguishing our student’s curiosity by denying them the opportunity to explore and expand upon their own ideas is the most harmful aspect of formal education today”. I just think that is a really accurate and powerful line to describe a downfall of our school system today. I liked your idea about exploration stations and I actually wrote about a similar activity in my blog! Can you think of a specific use for exploration stations that you can use in your future classroom?

  2. Great post Natalie! I really like the quote you used in your tweet, I totally agree that allowing students to be curious will help them become life long learners. I also like the idea of exploration stations. Are there any specific ones that you would love to implement in your class?

  3. Nice post Natalie! I also had an idea that was really similar to the exploration stations that you were describing in your post. I was wondering what units you think this would work really well with in science? For example, evolution, systems of the body or something else! Let me know!

  4. Great post Natalie! I love the idea of having students design their own labs. Throughout my middle school and high school experience I never got the chance to design my own lab. We always did traditional “cook-book” labs, and although those were enjoyable to me, I would have loved the idea of creating a lab about a topic I want to discover. How were your lab experiences throughout your years in school?

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