• Nikita
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      As I an educator, I try to give students 50 % of the lesson as content and 50% as inquiry and project-based learning. I do this to give value to the lesson and  to actively engage students in the lesson.
    • Spryte
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      As many other people stated below, I think modeling is the best way to foster wonder and curiosity in my students. By allowing myself to wonder out loud I can model the inquiry process, which in turn will hopefully be a positive example to my students.
    • Ashlee
      Participant
      Chirps: 25
      On a weekly basis, in my 8th-grade science class, I will ask a controversial question for a bellringer.  A few were: 1.) How important do you think it is for us to explore our solar system? 2.) Do you think access to water is a human right? 3.) How will artificial intelligence change our future?   Students cannot be correct or incorrect in their thinking as long as they back up their answers with some evidence.  I can become better with this by asking open-ended questions relating to the curriculum I teach, such as genetics, weather, and chemistry.
    • Rebecca
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      Each day, each lesson is an opportunity to encourge curiosity or stiffle it.  The goal is to find the balance within ourselves that allows for freedom of thought and curiosity while also developing logical thinking skills.  Of course the second half of the equation involves getting through the standards, ensuring that students have enough base and background knowledge to move forward, and the skills that they will need in the next grade or phase of their life.  Ultimately, it starts with me nurturing my own sense of wonder, my own curiosity and drive to learn.   So much easier said than done.  So much.
    • Students tend to mirror what their teacher model and encourage, so often stating my own wonderings out loud. Also, providing positive feedback for students who observe and wonder is important.
      • Ashlee
        Participant
        Chirps: 25
        I will often state my wonderings out loud as well.
    • Kelley
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      I believe that educators can easily stifle students' ability to observe and wonder or allow these skills to flourish. The most important thing is to provide time and opportunity to allow students to construct their own meaning, investigate passions, and explore self-guided learning. So often in classrooms, I see teachers guiding students to understand, providing answers, and working at very basic levels of understanding. By asking questions beginning with "Why?" or "How?" and allowing students to do the same, teachers can encourage them to seek answers that can't be discovered within the confines of the space and time of a classroom. There are many pressures put on teachers to cover content and standards; looking at these standards in a different way and allowing students the trust and freedom to explore can also meet standards and provide a more meaningful learning experience in the process.
    • Beatriz Cristina
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      We can give our students the OPPORTUNITY to observe and wonder. As teachers, we often times just want to get through the standards (because that is what is expected of us), but we need to move away from merely teaching the standards to really teaching students scientific practices, which include observing and wondering. These are regular parts of life and they help build critical thinking skills. If a students does not know the content, they can easily look up the information on the internet, but the skills of observing and wondering, those are harder to Google.
    • Marta
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      One of the best ways is to model by example. "Today I saw... and I wondered..." Share your own questions with students and encourage them to ask their own questions about things they observe around them. Most importantly, fostering a safe environment where all questions are treated as important and valid. Once students feel comfortable asking questions, it is important to give them the space to answer questions and the freedom to give wrong answers without feeling bad, and giving them tools to analyze their answers and explore other ways to approach a problem to perhaps come up with a different solution.
      • Kelley
        Participant
        Chirps: 23
        Setting the example as a curious questioner is a great idea. I have noticed that my students get excited about the content when I am passionate about it as well. There are pressures in school that it isn't cool to enjoy learning or put forth effort. Teachers can be effective in showing the value in curiosity!
    • Anna
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      I think the first thing I can do is voice my own noticings and wonderings.  Students need to hear this modeled to know what it might sound like and know it's ok, and beneficial to not always know the answers.  I love the lemon lesson idea, because it got at the heart of making very close observations, not general ones.  It's hard sometimes to get students to move past sweeping observations at first.  I also feel like taking students outside and having them write down observations is a good way to spark wonderings.  As they notice more and more it's likely that they wonder more and more about what they observe.  If they're having trouble making the jump to wonderings I can take their observations and voice some things it makes me wonder about.
    • Jane
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      Practicing and becoming an expert in automatically having the ability to ask open-ended questions is a trait all people who interact with children should possess. In my opinion, there is a crucial element to this goal that has been overlooked (at least in this point of the course). Asking the open-ended question is only half of the scenario in being catalysts for students to observe and wonder, the other half is to allow "wait time" or "think time." The power of silence, at least 10 seconds, when using wait time increases student thinking and the depth of their answers to questions. This link gives a helpful look at incorporating wait time in the classroom as a teacher shares his experiences and reflective thinking: Use Wait Time to Increase Student Thinking
      • Anna
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        Wait time is so powerful!!  It's such a little thing that makes such a big difference!  I hadn't thought about that in relation to that in this specific question, but you're right.  I remember when I was student teaching a teacher told me that wait time (along with multiple other things in teaching) is about learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.  Now it doesn't feel uncomfortable, but at the beginning it definitely did.
      • Ashlee
        Participant
        Chirps: 25

        @Anna I agree that wait time is powerful.  I have students who raise their hands immediately and I will tell them, lets make sure everybody has time to think the question through.

    • Beverly
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      I really liked the continuum presented in the video showing the difference between closed and open-ended questions.  As educators, I think we can model our own development of open-ended questions and then also show that we don't know the answer right away, and that is OK!  In fact, it's even desirable!  This is a mind-shift for students, who go through much of school thinking they have to already have the correct answer to a question when asked.  I also think that placing students in environments where there are events to observe and wonder is important, such as right outside the classroom, school or even their own window!
      • Anna
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        I liked the progression of questions they showed, as well!  I feel like in school kids are used to closed questions where there is one right answer.  Getting them used to having questions they don't know the answer to is a big step!
    • Michelle
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      My school is 1-to-1 with Mac books. When having discussions as a whole group, it is great to be able to have easy access for all students to the internet. If we're having a conversation and someone brings up a question, it is easy to give students 5 minutes to open their computers to do some research on the topic. Then we can continue our discussion with the newly learned information that the students found. In the beginning of the year, I like to do simple activities to help students reflect on their abilities to observe well. Sometimes students forget about all of the different ways that they can take observations. I think allowing students to observe and wonder about things they are interested in is important. I always work to build a classroom culture where students use their downtime to explore and wonder -- For example, I have tons a magazines in my classroom -- I always encourage students to grab a magazine and just look at the pictures... no need to read (unless they want to) instead of going on their phones or computers.
    • Pam
      Participant
      Chirps: 33
      I have always struggled to stick to a lesson rigidly - which is what is expected of me when I teach. I have always encouraged students to ask questions and fostered a sense of curiosity. One time I was talking about gardening and the topic of worms came up. Several students asked questions about worms. I did not have the answers but said I could look them up and get back to everyone with the answers. Then one student raised her hand and explained to the class all about worms and answered all our questions. It was a great experience as we all learned together! Of course I didn’t cover all the material I had planned for that day, but I felt we learned something more valuable.
    • David Lockett
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      Because of COVID-19, most teachers and students suddenly find themselves forced to integrate observation as they teach and learn. Inquiry-driven instructional design serves as catalysts for learning. Encourage your students to observe in new and different ways. Show how all stakeholders that students are engaged in their learning even when it seems like they are just observing and working independently. The possibilities of wonder are literally endless.
    • Jessica
      Participant
      Chirps: 27
      As educators we can do our best to help cultivate a classroom culture where curiosity and questions are the norm. In this type of environment, children will be used to and feel comfortable asking questions and sharing their wonderings with the class. Sometimes I think teachers feel rushed and pressure to cover certain material so rather than asking open ended questions, they rush and ask questions with yes or no or other basic answers.   Until watching the video above, I never thought about how these questions can be intimidating for children. They may be afraid of getting the answer incorrect and may choose not to participate. Asking what do you think or opinion questions may be more inviting for students.   It is also important to teach students we don't always find the answers to their questions but can continue to investigate and learn more throughout the year.
    • Sylvia
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      If, as an educator, you yourself are always asking questions and wondering about things, it can help students to both learn and feel comfortable with that process and experience. Having a general wonder board and question box can also be a way to encourage questions and keep track of them, to follow up for projects, discussions, and investigations. It is also helpful to loop questioning throughout content areas so that students can see the relationship between questions and subject areas. Getting outside is also a great catalyst, 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".
    • ej
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      In general, modeling with your own enthusiasm and curiosity and not getting in the way of theirs. Ideally providing exposure and opportunities to observe, possibly pointing out some things of potential interest (anything from “Look at that!” to open-ended questions), asking guiding/exploratory questions, and providing time for reflection. Like a few others, I often work with groups in limited time spans and goal oriented programming which doesn't lend itself to these approaches, but you can sometimes still sneak a few things in - e.g. take advantage of downtime (walking to next location, breaks, etc by giving a "to think about" question or brainstorm with a partner/in small groups on unknown this-or-thats related to something we just saw. If meeting more than once, you can send them off with similar “homework” but possibly on a larger scale, such as: “Well, we sure saw a lot of crows this week! I wonder if they're being as active other places too? Maybe we can all keep our eyes & ears alert for crows this week and share what we saw/heard at the start of our next meeting” (or draw pictures of things, or take some data, or write a journal reflection, etc.
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 29
      Many of my outdoor programs are recreation oriented - hiking, kayaking, bicycling, etc. I would like to more intentionally incorporate inquiry in these programs, as well as design natural and cultural history programs that more readily incorporate open-ended questions. Presently they are not, and I often end up being a type of tour guide relaying factual information rather than helping participants explore their own curiosity. I will be more conscious going forward to ask for 'I wonder' questions before we head out anywhere, and ask questions rather than offer answers as we move along.
    • laurie
      Participant
      Chirps: 34
      I teach very young students (JK/SK 3-6 years), all of whom are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing. Some of my students have very (VERY!) short attention spans due to a multitude of factors. Observation skills and their "attention for detail" are at an early stage of development. I notice that their attention span becomes significantly lengthened when the have an "Observation Tool".  I use a few tools and strategies to foster observation and wonder by linking observations to their senses. A Basket of Senses (I have a picnic basket full of sensory-stimulating tools to use in class and in the field) 1) Visual aids. My students will look longer and more carefully when they use tools to focus and magnify objects. The basket includes: binoculars, magnifying glasses, a loupe, a "bug" container, a pen light or flashlight, a fully charged iPad for children to take photos and videos, and their "field journals" for their illustrations. We may make a pair of toilet paper roll binoculars or a paper towel roll telescope at our Creation Station for outdoor observation. The power of imagination is strong and our toilet paper rolls work magic! 2) Hearing aids. Literally. We offer students the choice to wear hearing aids or cochlear implants for those who use them. We keep ziplock bags on us outside if students choose to remove their aids/implants. Loud environmental noise, blowing wind, rain or snow may make hearing aids/cochlear implants uncomfortable to use and/or cause the aid to malfunction. 3) Touch Tubes. Pringle cans with a toe-less knee sock glued to its opening. The can is wrapped with construction paper decorated with illustrations and adjectives that describe texture and temperature (sharp, wet, cold, fuzzy, hard, sticky, etc). Students take turns finding a special item, placing it in the can and their classmates feel the object, describe it and guess what it is. 4) Sniffy Cups. Collection of small film canisters, each with a cotton ball inside, that can be used to absorb scent and cushion a delicate item. Canister lids have small pin-prick holes to allow scents to be sniffed, described and identified. Lavender, mint, sage, chives, and other herbs from the Learning Garden are good examples of things that might be placed in our Sniffy Cups. 5) Blindfold Taste Test. A kerchief to use as a blindfold and a partitioned container to hold different foods (or different variety of the same food eg. apples). Students are blindfolded and take turns tasting items, describing and identifying foods. Students share their opinions on likes/dislikes and their "favourites". A hand-held, laminated (reusable) "My 5 Senses" pocketbook can be used with wet-erase markers for age-appropriate data-collection to help students record and recount their experiences to their teachers and/or their peers. Activating the senses and linking them with experiences, expands vocabulary and communication skills while also building background knowledge of their own senses and how their bodies work/interact with a wide variety of items.
      • Linda
        Participant
        Chirps: 29
        Thank you so much for elaborating on the tools and concerns for students who experience the world differently! We are currently trying to make sure we are including all types of participants in our programs, so these are very helpful for me to learn about.
      • Jessica
        Participant
        Chirps: 27
        Laurie, thank you for sharing what you do with your young students. I really like the idea of using the pringle cans and having other children put their hands in to feel or describe the texture of what is inside.
      • Pam
        Participant
        Chirps: 33
        Thanks for sharing those great ideas Laurie! I work at a school that is a magnet for mobility differences and this inspires me to think more broadly about being inclusive. Also, your ideas would work well for our school’s courtyard garden because we are considering putting stations around the garden and these activities could be incorporated into the stations.
    • S
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      The thing to do is to get students outside of their element, to give them something to explore outside or inside: an animal, a mechanical puzzle, a task or project. We need to set the stage for curiosity and wonder - something to inspire them to learn. My students who are looking to get the best grade flounder and fight with this - there's always the right answer to get the grade. If they relinquish this pressure or need, they actually have fun but it is a struggle.
    • Jennifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      Last year, our Science units were organized around an anchoring phenomenon, which took at natural phenomenon such as the Great Dust Bowl or a Mars Biosphere and asked students to complete a See Think Wonder Chart.  During the See portion of the lesson, students either watched a video, read an article, or look at a photograph in order to extend their understanding of the topic.  They first were asked to record what they saw (or use their power of observation), then they were asked to make inferences about what they saw in the think portion; finally, they were asked to write questions in the Wonder portion of the worksheet.  The idea was that students would refer back to their wonders throughout the unit to see if they were able to answer the wonders based on what we had learned during our labs, our learning, etc. The upside of this was that it really got students thinking more deeply about a topic.  There were, however, many downsides.  First, doing these charts and referring back to them throughout the unit was rather time consuming, so much so that as the year progressed, I found I couldn't complete all the required topics and eventually stopped using them.  Second, we really didn't go into any kind of instruction or discussion about what made a good question for science inquiry.  Third, since the units were already made (We used Mystery Science.), the students didn't really get to use their questions for scientific inquiry-the idea of wondering just felt like an activity tacked on to a unit just to say we had covered those parts of the NGSS.
    • Alaina
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      As an informal educator, I tend to answer questions while running hikes and programs, or point out behaviors, ecology, and wildlife. I think that moving forward, I could encourage kids and adults alike to make their own observations and try to develop their own answers and inferences to their questions. I can point things out, but keep everything open-ended to allow for further discussion and inquiry.
      • Pam
        Participant
        Chirps: 33
        Alaina I agree with you. All this information and discussion is helping me to see that I need to be more aware of HOW I answer questions and foster discussion. Going forward I will be more sensitive to encouraging students to observe and find answers instead of me providing the answers or facts.
    • Sarah
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      I love the quote that students come into classrooms as question marks but leave as periods... Which in my experience, with my rigorous curriculum, the pressure for students to get A's, and time restraints... this absolutely has so much open ended truth.  I know that I stress over time management, planning, and making sure that I "fit it all in" rather than focusing on the skills that we want them to have as scientists... I hope that my enthusiasm and love for science is enough to foster the same in them, and for some it does... but I can't help but wonder - "I wonder- how many more students I would "touch, inspire, motivate" to love science if I left the learning in their hands." I also believe that in order to facilitate and raise student awareness of the importance of the environment, it is time to make sure I am concentrating more on that "students as self" piece rather than worry about the restraints I place on myself as highlighted above.
      • S
        Participant
        Chirps: 15
        I agree with you. I am often fighting a time constraint and sometimes attitudes. I especially like your comment: "I wonder how many more students I would touch, inspire, and motivate to love science if I left learning in their hands" - more often than I do.
    • Deanna
      Participant
      Chirps: 22
      I love taking students outside. In past years, it was easy -- students were excited to go out, sit on the ground in all temperatures to observe... In the past 3 years, it has become very hard -- the students do not necessarily want to go outside because of bugs, their shoes, their allergies (a dramatic increase), their homeroom teacher's attitude about science or outdoors... I have given much thought about what has changed and how I can change. I think setting up the activity with what them "wondering about" before going outside to observe or gather data may help overcome some of the hesitancy as they will want to see if they can find answers to their wonders or they will be able to revamp some of their wonders when they come back.
    • Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 25
      This was really enlightening to me in terms of asking students open-ended questions.  When students come to me with a research topic, sometimes it is just something like basketball or algae- very general.  I could do better at asking them some open-ended questions and in turn, guide them to ask their own open-ended questions as possible research starting points. This will also work well with my lower level biology students when I first introduce the scientific method.  We could go outside (to promote social distancing) and incorporate both the I Wonder post-its and open-ended questioning to understand the purpose of observation and how it leads to questions to investigate.