The image above is a great starter to this blog post in regards to just what “Drive” is exactly about! The book is focused on two types of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is being internally motivated. Extrinsic motivation is being externally motivated. Let’s dive deeper!!

Three key factors to intrinsic motivation

  • Autonomy—-> Being able to make a choice to fit your needs
  • Mastery——> The desire to get better
  • Purpose——> The desire to do something bigger than ourselves

The picture above helps describe each of the three key factors visually!

Why is being intrinsically motivated important?

  • Increased creativity
  • Higher quality of work produced
  • Increased amount of inquiry
  • More engagement

Strategies for intrinsic motivation in the classroom

Intrinsic motivation is important for many reasons. All of the reasons stated above are excellent examples as to why intrinsic motivation is important in the classroom. So, just how do you increase intrinsic motivation in the classroom? I would start by giving students autonomy. This means students have the power to choose. Many students do not want to be controlled. If students are controlled and often rewarded, then their focus is narrowed leading to decreased creativity. This could look like a, “do it for the grade” environment. Giving students choice will lead them to be more intrinsically motivated.

  • Give students the power to create their own lab/experiment
  • Let students choose their topics to study
  • Let students create their own projects from their creativity/ thoughts
  • Create interactive activities
  • Allow students to provide feedback
  • Hands-on minds-on approaches
  • Encourage reflection

How to foster intrinsic motivation in the classroom…

You want to move away from the, “do it for the grade” environment and more towards asking exploratory questions. This will then lead the students to explore something they are interested in. Moving even further you can have the students work in groups to do investigations. This will get at the interdependence of the students.

This image really gets at how you want students to understand the material and not just memorize the material. We want our students to be type 1 motivated. This means that the students will do tasks because they want to not because someone like the teacher tells them to complete at task. This would be an example of type x. We do not want our students to be type x motivated. Furthermore, understanding the material will ultimately lead to greater retention and productivity.

This video tells us how important intrinsic motivation is. It describes the different qualities produced such as higher performance and greater happiness.


  1. Hi Allie, I love looking at motivation in a new light. I wonder what kind of feedback or reactions you expect to receive when you try to change from what our default has been. How do you see yourself reacting to possible push back, complaints, students not wanting to participate etc?

    • Hi! Thank you for reading my post! I think I would see myself trying to find a way to get those students motivated. I feel like there has to be some way the students will get motivated/ find an interest in something.

  2. Hey Allie! Great post. I really appreciated your use of diagrams and models throughout your blog because it helped provide a more visual way of thinking about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. When talking about possible lesson plans, you mentioned having your students create interactive activities. What do you have in mind specifically in a high school science classroom? I think a great idea is to give students autonomy in their learning, maybe with letting them choose their own research topic. I was wondering if you had some specific ideas about some interactive activities in mind?

    • Hi! Thank you for taking the time to read my post! I think a great activity for the classroom would be giving the students a topic and letting them come up with an idea based on that content area. This will really get into the student’s interest! Same for your second question, letting the students choose is crucial sometimes in my opinion!

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