In a vast number of cases, school (as an institution) has little to do with curiosity, and a whole lot more to do with structure, systems, and hard knowledge.
But what about curiosity?
Children are curious by nature.
In fact, they ask so many questions, that the average adult can barely handle the trail of question marks their kids leave behind them.
- What will happen with the Sun in 3 billion years?
- How come a cow eats green grass and then gives white milk?
- Why does time fly?
- Can bacteria live in hairspray?
- Can robots have human thoughts?
- Can you sleep with your eyes open?
This is what interests children the most. This is what they really want to know.
Kids want to know if plants feel; yet they have to memorize the conditions favourable for the plants to grow.
They wonder why mosquitoes bite them; yet they have to learn why are insects an important link in the food chain.
They would love to find out why zebras have stripes; but above all, it’s essential they recognize the differences between a squirrel, a fox and a wolf.
We’re not trying to say that what kids want to know is more interesting than what they are expected to know — but, there’s a big difference in motivation when it comes to what you want to do and what you have to do.
Could you imagine a school where students didn’t “have” to do anything? Well, you could, but it seems a bit scary. Usually, some general guidelines, set points, and standardized tests and expectations prove useful.
So, we can agree, then, that students have to know certain things. On this quest however, why not employ this cosmic, nuclear, self-supporting force — this exploding (sometimes never-ending) curiosity?
If we want to aim at motivating children towards (hopefully) lifelong learning, first, let’s give them a good reason for it!
for lesson plans inspired by children’s questions
We welcome your feedback