Imagine a child who is not curious. I can not. Imagine any of us going through a day without amazement or wonder at the things in the world around us. I can not. It is very beautiful to live in this world noticing, appreciating, and engaging with and wondering what makes things flip, flop, turn or hop. In this short blog post, I have compiled a list of a few ways to nurture a sense of inquiry in students.
Classrooms and even a space in your home, condo, or apartment can be utilized to nurture a sense of inquiry in students. Try a wonder station. That station can be a table with an object, a writing instrument, paper or a journal. Students will simply record their thoughts or wonders about the project to be researched later. This table can be small and can be easily used in a corner.
Another way to nurture the natural curiosity in students is to use a Wonder Wall. The Wonder Wall can use several items with QR codes or the Wonder number listed beneath the object. Supply a varied assortment of items that can be easily researched using Wonderopolis.org or another safe search site.
My new favorite way to wonder is to incorporate a Wonder Jar into a classroom as a station. This was my project the first semester of this 2016-2017 academic school year. I purchased 10 – two quart jars and filled them with ten varied objects that were not too familiar to the students. For ten weeks, the teachers or students will select a different item to write or list their wonders. Research should follow to see how closely the student wonders match with actual results.
The Wonderopolis store has some handy Wonder Journals for sale. I had the pleasure of having a few to share and they were a hit. My niece and I journaled during the summer and once school began, I journaled with students. We listed wonders about books, subjects, items and whatever came to mind. The journals are spiral bound and are easy to fit in smaller hands.
Create a Wonder Windows by taping off an area inside of a window in a classroom or home. Label the window with the words “wonder window” so that the students know to go there for observation. With a wonder journal, writing instrument or plain paper, students will simply write their wonders about what they observe through the Wonder Window.
These are a novel idea. But Wonder Boxes would be great to use in the same way as the BreakoutEdu boxes. They can hold a variety of items, but getting into each box would be half the fun. While the items contained in each box, would be enough for each student in the class, solving the riddle, mystery or combination would be a great way to spark curiosity in the entire class! My time to have these at school is coming.
Select pictures of items, places, people and affix them to cardstock. Create enough picture cards so that students in a station have access to at least 3 cards at a time. Students will hold and closely look at these Wonder Pictures cards and write their thoughts in their Wonder Journal or on paper. The Wonder Picture cards can be numbered on the back so that students can track which card they have already covered. Oh how fun!