​Wonder, Inquiry and 100% Student Engagement

Mar 30, 2019

Matthew Arend

(A co-written post by Wonderologist Lorie Lyon and Wonder Lead Ambassador Matt Arend)

Having the opportunity to be a Wonder Lead Ambassador has opened my eyes to the variety of ways wonder can be infused into classroom. Wonder should always be present in a classroom. It allows students’ curiosities to be explored and make natural connections to interests they have. It is easier said than done. Teachers are tasked with an awesome responsibility of delivering the highest levels of instruction, yet the first thing to fall off the plate is providing students with the opportunity to wonder. What if there was a way for students to chase their curiosities, explore and wonder? What if we could do all those things while adding in student voice and choice?

SiglerNation’s Lead Wonderologist Lorie Lyon recently had the opportunity to showcase the ways she promotes wonder within the walls of her classroom giving students voice and choice. Thanks to the support of Wonderopolis, she was able to share her story all over the Wonderopolis IG account. (If you are not following Lorie or Wonderopolis stop right now and do so.)

Check out what she calls Camp Wonderopolis...

During Camp Wonderopolis, our fifth graders rotated through wonder stations that called for them to read an article from www.wonderopolis.org and brainstorm ways to solve a related problem or task. The next step was to create. The students worked in teams to approach the task, and the final step was to reflect on the process. They had the opportunity to articulate the reasons for their creations and describe all the details. Students were exposed to new knowledge to preview upcoming topics and previously learned material in ways that ignited new wonder. During Camp Wonderopolis, the students rotated through three Wonder Stations covering reading, math, science, and social studies content areas.

Go West


Using Wonder: #223 What Was the Lewis and Clark Expedition?, students brainstormed reasons why Lewis and Clark needed to travel west and explore the territory before the pioneers moved onto the land. They analyzed the route that Lewis and Clark took on the map provided. Then, they read the short profiles for each identity and decided what character traits described the different people. This station allowed for the students to identify reasons why people moved west and get a better understanding U.S. territorial expansion. Finally, students were able to apply their knowledge by creating social media posts (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) for the historical figures.

Food Chains and Food Webs

Food Webs and Food Chains

Using Wonder: #1617 Who Decomposes Decomposers?, students brainstormed the difference between producers, consumers, and decomposers. Students discussed their role in the ecosystem and how they interact in food chains and food webs. Then, students created food chains and/or food webs using Google Draw. In this Wonder Station, students showcased their understanding of relationships among and within environments. They were also able to describe the flow of energy derived from the sun and transferred through the food chain or web.

Weather and Climate

Using Wonder: #60 Why do Different States Have Different Weather?, students discussed the difference between weather and climate. Groups then chose a specific location from based on different climates with the US and beyond. (California, Minnesota, Iowa & Costa Rica) Students analyzed the location to determine it’s weather and climate. After researching the location, they planned a weather forecast for the picture. Students recorded their forecast using the Wonder News Green Screen. Being able to create a weather report that included the weather and climate of the given location showed me their level of understanding. Ci3hRbl8qi2urFKd_beJPro76zLIm4j-CxEExVAf

The Result


Three stations, four content areas and one engaged classroom full of students who are exploring wonder, creating and being provided with opportunities for voice and choice. This is it! This is what learning looks like. Cross curricular connections exposing students to new learning and reviewing prior learning. Did students demonstrate understanding? Yes! Did they develop prior knowledge of what is about to be taught? Yes! While Lorie had to invest some intentional planning on the front end and think through the organization of the groups, the students were the ones doing the work. The students were the ones learning while the teacher was truly able to facilitate and enrich opportunities for everyone


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