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?