The Wonder in Wonderful Ideas

In the book “The Having of Wonderful Ideas”, Duckworth emphasizes the importance of the virtues involved in not knowing, just as much as the virtue of knowing the right answer. As educators, we must not underestimate the power of wonder in our students.

In this video, Duckworth talks about allowing students to “figure it out”. As teachers, we need to listen to our students – What are they thinking? What are they curious about? We should encourage our students to explore, wonder and be curious!

As I have mentioned above, the process of developing understandings is crucial. Students have been taught their whole schooling life that getting the correct answer is what matters. It is our job to make sure that they learn how to develop their own ideas, learn about their own misconceptions and to gain confidence in having their own, original, wonderful idea!

So… How do we start?

#1: Student-led Experiments

The best part of being a Science teacher is being able to hold experiments in the class. Allow your students to dive into their sense of wonder, to be curious! When students are curious, they are then motivated to learn more and find out.

  • The learning experience is handed over to students
  • Starting discussions from experiments can also help to enrich the learning experience
  • Students are encouraged to teach themselves, learn from the process
  • They can share their findings and learn from each other

This also ties back to the Science and Engineering practices in NGSS. Through these projects, not only does this promote inquiry in science, but the students also get to experience what real scientists do to investigate the world around us.

#2: Genius Hour

Utilizing genius hour in the classroom helps to spark curiosity in students, direct their own learning and actually be passionate about it! This idea originated from Google, by allowing their engineers to spend 20% of their time to work on anything they want, which has actually increased productivity and resulted in 50% of actual Google projects.

So how do we implement this in the classroom?

Set up an hour or two a week, where students are in control, choosing what to study, how to study or what they want to produce. They are allowed to design their own learning in school, which will promote curiosity and wonder in students.

  • The students can create whatever they want, vocalize their own wonderful ideas
  • Students are able to find their own purpose of learning
  • Students realize that their ideas are significant and worth exploring
  • With designing their own learning, students gain confidence in their own ideas


  1. Hi Woojin!
    I really like you post, genius hour sounds like a great idea to encourage free thinking and to push students to find something they are passionate about! But how would you handle a student who has not found that spark and isn’t motivated in your classroom?

  2. Great post Woojin! I really liked the lesson revolving around the genius hour! I had never heard of it before. I was wondering if you think this could be something students get tired of in the classroom, and if so what would you do to combat this?

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