• Beatriz Cristina
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      In my classroom, I try to give my students time to observe and wonder and give their questions importance. Instead of just saying "That's a great question", but I write it on the board and we talk about what we think about it. Also, giving students a space to express what they are curious about and letting them explore that topic. Even though as teachers we tend to want to plan everything out, with science we need to be a little bit more flexible and realize that sometimes thing swill pop up that we had not thought about. When those opportunities come up, we need to flow with them and have the students explore them. Usually, the kids tend to be very excited and motivated.
    • Marta
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I love to use observation together with creative writing. When observing something in nature (butterfly, bird, leaves changing colors, etc.) we write a story (either independently or as a class, depending on age group) in which our observations become key plot points in the tale.  We practice asking "why" to move the story along. If a student writes about a butterfly landing on a flower, he or she must explain why the butterfly is there in the first place and why it chose to land on this flower, etc. Of course, this is creative writing so students are free to come up with fanciful explanations. However, once the story is complete, it is time to fact check. Creative writing allows student imagination and curiosity, and many times experimental questions, to arise naturally.
      • Kelley
        Participant
        Chirps: 23
        This is a great idea. My students have worked a lot on creative writing this year, but mostly through the cold winter months. I wonder what might be different for them if we were to practice writing skills outside in the fresh air. This is something I can consider when looking at next week's forecast! Thank you for sharing.
    • Anna
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      One strategy I use is even if they ask a reference question that I already know the answer to I may not answer it.  I don't want them to feel like every question they have already has an answer and that the teacher is the keeper of all of that knowledge.  Once they start feeling comfortable enough posing questions I don't want to undue that by answering questions as they ask them.  If they ask a reference question I may bring up another thing they observed and tie it into their question.  By using their observations to grow on their questions I feel like this is a way of scaffolding their learning, while still encouraging them to wonder and observe.
    • Jane
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      In the context of a topic of study,  supply students with artifacts that are unfamiliar to them, but that you know relate to that topic somehow. Do this just after they have had a basic overview to the topic. Then put them in the shoes of a scientist in that field to role play and venture  guesses about the significance of the artifacts and to suggest ways to test those guesses.
    • Beverly
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      I am a language teacher, but curiosity in any classroom is fostered by starting with the words, "What do you notice?" and encouraging students to use all five senses if possible.  Then you can build upon the notice statements with follow up questions.  To get to the observational/experimental level, it helps to ask them to wonder about how what they see right in front of them connects with what is going on outside this small space.  When they think about connections, this is when the questions and then possible experimental options arise...
    • Deanna
      Participant
      Chirps: 22
      Connections-- I think I do need an "I wonder" board and making a digital one for DL is next on my to do list. Some students get motivated if they ask me some questions and I tell them I am not sure but find out and you can share next class. Students love to share what they found out- and it allows them to dig deeper.
    • Kristen Mae
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      When schools come visit us, we call them "field studies" instead of field trips to set the tone that when they come visit us they are going to be observing and studying the ecosystem we go out into. We encourage teachers to have the students bring their science notebooks and before we go into the ecosystem we pose a question: "why are fiddler crabs important to the salt marsh", "why is biodiversity important", etc and then have the students write down a hypothesis in their journals. It may be beneficial to also have them come up with their own questions and hypotheses about the ecosystems as the day progresses.
    • Kinta High School
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Occasionally, I hope to do much more, I ask questions similar to the I wonder questions.  I usually phrase this as "Let us think about a few what-if questions. Or let us think out of the box for a moment."
    • Pam
      Participant
      Chirps: 33
      When I am working with students, I like to encourage their curiosity and questions by creating an atmosphere of trust and respect in the classroom. They know that their ideas are valued and that because I am the teacher does not mean I “know everything”. We all are striving to learn together. Often students come up with excellent insights and comments that enrich the learning experience and allow all of us to broaden our thinking. When these moments come up I embrace them and use them to direct my lesson to draw out more observations from my students. Now during the pandemic, as I am teaching into cyberspace on zoom or during a recorded lesson, I see the true value in the give and take I have with students in the classroom. And I miss it!
    • Cara
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      I think this is something that I am so looking forward to developing! Other than asking students questions, and showing them teaching tools - I am struggling to think of how I actually encourage curiosity.
    • David Lockett
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      Instead of waiting for an interesting activity to come along, students will actively investigate and come up with their own activity ideas.Curiosity is the force that creates new ideas and leads teachers to take risks so that they can ultimately create their own success stories. Inspiring deeper observational and experimental questions by letting students explore topics of interest to them.
    • Jessica
      Participant
      Chirps: 27
      My students have a STREAM journal they use during my class. In their journals, they record questions they have, sketch observations and complete assignments. Their journals are a place where they are encouraged to record questions they have about things they observe or about things related to the current content we are working on. I do have to explain that we may not be able to investigate or to find the answers to all of their questions but they can also find the answers to their questions when they are at home. I often discuss extension lessons or activities for students to complete at home to extend their learning. I am a special area teacher so I work with every class in the school. I have been trying to think of a way to manage 18 I wonder boards and where I would put them. I really like the idea of using a digital I wonder board on a Padlet. I am going to look into this for next year.
    • Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 25
      My new strategy for this year is to get outside!  I have learned a great deal from my local park district, professional development, and this course so I feel more prepared to encourage questions.  I love the idea of classifying types of questions and encouraging students to do so.  I work with students who complete independent research projects and sometimes they come up with just a general area of interest and I ask questions of them- what else do you want to know about this topic?  If they find a similar study I ask how they could formulate a new question based on current research.  The whole scientific method process causes them to analyze their steps- what do they want to know, how can they learn or test that, and once an experiment is completed, what other questions pop up.  Initially questions are very basic but students do develop much better questioning skills as the year goes on.
    • S
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      Well, I am usually just as curious as my students are about things and that starts questions - they like having to find the answer or explore more when I am not the expert. I also throw the question back on them - What do you think? Are there other questions you might have? Look at -------. I challenge their thinking which leads to more or different questions. I invite other students in on the conversation - let the student who initially had the question to share her/his thoughts first. What ideas or questions can you add? Do you agree with what ----- is asking? What information might you need to explore this further? Taking a step back allows the students to take the lead.
    • Sarah
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      In my classroom, we do have a question board, but it is very open-ended and we don't usually have a lot of time to get to them.  This is one thing that I hope to change this coming semester.  Sometimes too, the students ask questions that do not really have a lot of thought in them. It's like they just write a question so they can write on a sticky note and post it. (middle school). I feel like throughout my lessons and labs I do a good job with answering questions with questions to encourage deeper thinking and while I don't answer their questions with answers they want (ultimately, they want to know if what they did is "right") I also don't spend enough time diving deeper into their questions. IN order to inspire deeper observation and experimental questions, I feel I really do need to scaffold the scientific process in the same way the bird-sleuth guide lays it all out. This guide is going to help me help me students to be better scientists while helping them to care about answering their own "I wonder's" in a way that makes them feel like a scientist.  I am excited to use this in my classroom and see what happens.  I also appreciate the emphasis on good research and distinguishing between a prediction and a hypothesis.  Really Awesome Resource!
      • Deanna
        Participant
        Chirps: 22
        You summarized my thought completely-- I want to spend more time diving deeper this year. Perhaps the DL will help
    • Julia
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      Most lessons I do with students are a single lesson and do not see them again however, most of my lessons I cater to what the teacher has been teaching in class. Many times I bring in items to the classroom that is related to a topic they have been discussing/learning. I will layout my items and usually start the lesson with what do you think this or these items are, what are they for, how are they used, what are they made from, etc. As the lesson progresses we answer the basic questions but do not answer all questions and let some questions be deferred for follow-up later in class by their teacher or answers their question with another question to get them to investigate to learn the answers for themselves.
    • Antoinette
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      Sylvia, you make some important statements.   I like the idea of bringing something into class if you don't have the opportunity to explore outside.  I have also mentioned that we have been fortunate to turn a large courtyard area into a garden of plants native to our own area--the north shore of Long Island.  Wow--what happened as our milkweed plants attracted milkweed bugs and butterflies and  our goldenrod plants attracted many different bees!  The K-2 children planted the garden, observed the plants through the seasons, and saw the change in the number of butterflies and bees that visited our garden.  The open-ended inquiry came naturally, and the children can't wait to explore and observe changes and talk about it with their classmates.  The conversations are quite interesting.  The students have nature journals to sketch and ask questions.  They also partner up and share an iPad to take photos and record the results of an experiment or observation.  When they listen to their recordings, they are inspired to help each other and go deeper into their questions.  The more time we spend outdoors, the more we discover....  
    • Sylvia
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Some of these ideas I mentioned in the last lesson. Getting outside is a great catalyst for questions, but if that can't happen, then it is still possible to bring something into class whether it is skins, old nests, feathers, images, seed pods, oak galls or any facet of the natural world for students to document, notice, ask questions about and begin investigation with. It is also good to follow up with general questions/comments to garner more details & discussion like "tell me more about that", "does anyone else have anything to add", or "what does this remind you of". Out of experience I have backed off of anything prepackaged curriculum-wise, because it hasn't given my students an opportunity to become their own "knowledge holders". I don't want them to defer to me or any other adult, but follow up on their questions, and not just ask them and leave them their. I like to create conditions through walks, and pointing out things in a very general way. I have never done a Wonder board but I would like to do that this year. To me, the investigation process is very much like a prototyping cycle. So I draw a lot of parallels between what we do in STEM/STEAM lessons when we are problem solving. This also relates to when we are working on physical computing and have to trouble shoot. It is useful to create connections between these processes and experiences, even though they are not exactly the same. There is a lot of overlap and it helps my students to build their schema or metacognitive understanding of what the process of developing and testing a hypothesis is and does. I don't always ask the same specific questions, but in general I ask what do you notice, what do you wonder, what makes you think that, how could you find out about that? The general what, why and how questions tend to dig beneath the surface of things to help students look at how they could explore something. I do think it is important to be consistent and follow through, which I don't always do, partly because of time. This is another reason why I think a question box or a yearlong Wonder board could be really engaging.
    • Edna
      Participant
      Chirps: 26
      Making that real-world connection in Science piques student curiosity.  The majority of students seem to love anything we do outdoors.  I agree with the need to do some groundwork before going outside.  Discussions about types of questions and even the simplistic definitions of scientific terms.  The lessons went into great detail explaining some common misconceptions, such as hypothesis and how it can be misconstrued if saying it is an "educated guess." I like the idea of taking the reference questions and reworking them into observational and experimental questions.  I think I will get reference questions from several students when we start our project.  The idea of researching and checking the reliability of the source will be an excellent hook.
      • Jessica
        Participant
        Chirps: 27
        Hi Edna,   I agree that making real word connections is important and a great way to spark curiosity. Whenever possible, we try to study local/native species and the environment around us.
    • Allison
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      I find that responses are often different depending on if I'm talking to the kids inside our Nature Center or if we're outside in the park. In the Nature Center, they're seated at tables while I stand at the front of the room. In these situations, they know they're supposed to sit quietly and listen to the teacher. It's hard to start discussions like this. However, when we go outside and we are all standing together in a group, it helps to break down the barrier between teacher and student and we can begin to have a discussion as a group of scientists. As someone else pointed out, the shy students will also come up to me when we're outside. They are able to speak to me directly instead of saying something to the whole group and with positive reinforcement, the students gain more confidence to speak to me and the other students.
      • Edna
        Participant
        Chirps: 26
        Classroom setting versus a more relaxed environment definitely makes a difference with participation.  I have even seen this with remote learning.  Students that don't normally participate in class very much have been more involved with remote learning by having messaging and Zoom meetings.  The setting makes a difference for learning and participation.
      • Laura
        Participant
        Chirps: 25
        Interesting points!  I am going to incorporate more outdoor teaching this year so I will test it out!  :)
    • Nini
      Participant
      Chirps: 32
      I think it is important to establish that all ideas are valued, and set the scene for support and collaborative ideas.  I too was the shy one in class who listened far more often than I talked.  The gift of having a teacher who could recognize this and then facilitate sharing from the most talkative to the shyest in a way that allowed for growth in confidence as well as respect for other perspectives from the group.  I'm thinking about this spring when we were doing remote learning.  I developed a series of videos with a theme, and filmed things in nature.  I began to guide the viewer to observe rather than always name, and tried to model open-ended questions.  Through this class, I am learning that I will need to keep honing this skill of asking good questions.
    • Alana
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      Positive reinforcement for any question asked. I notice that kids are more likely to keep coming up with ideas if the reply is along the lines of "great suggestion, i don't know the answer, how could we figure that out, who could help us?" Kids seem to ask more questions when they are outside and free of walls. It allows the "shy-est" kids to approach and ask without needed to raise their hand and ask their question in front of their cohort.
    • Jackie
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      I do like to allow students to explore the questions they ask me. My favorite memory was during an observation I had. We were using a Gizmo about the digestive system. A student asked about what would happen if we rearranged some of the parts. My response was well come up to the board and let's see. The kids then had some other ways of wondering and asking questions. It was so much fun. I think allowing this sort of exploration allows for deeper understanding.
      • Pam
        Participant
        Chirps: 33
        I agree that allowing this sort of exploration allows for deeper understanding and I also think the questions snowball once you start this process. Students love to learn, especially if their teacher is learning along with them, and if it becomes a shared experience of discovery. My students have come up with the best questions and insights during sessions like this!
    • Kandis
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      I believe that students are great at asking questions that they want a simple answer to.  When out in the field with youth I tend to throw questions back at them or ask how can you find that out instead of giving them the answer and then throwing in "why do you think that you say that animal or plant in this habitat."   Most of the time in the classroom prior to field work, is giving youth tools they can use while outside, youth are encouraged to bring their notebooks with them to write down questions they have, take samples of species that they find interesting and want to know more about to encourage further investigation. I mentioned in one of my earlier post, that I always have the last meeting day as the field day at a local preserve, I think it would be interesting to reverse the outline of the program and have youth go outside first and then spend the next 4 weeks (4 hours) investigating things they saw or want to know more about.
    • Robin
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      While I am not in a position to execute a lesson related to this chapter, I love some of the ideas, and strategies other class members use. Having worked as a public librarian, I would work with the participants to gain information literacy to ensure the resources used were reliable, and valid. The box with tips on how to use Wikipedia is spot on, and giving the students tools to evaluate online, and print materials for their research. Understanding how to evaluate the foundational information will support solid hypothesis development. Going outdoors, to explore, and journal sounds like a great way to get students to start asking "I wonder" questions. I appreciate learning about the Merlin, and eBird app and websites. These are good tools that can support science learning.