Thursday, October 31, 2013

Curiosity killed the cat

If you look up the term "curiosity" on Wikipedia, this is what you'll find:

Curiosity (from Latin curiosus "carefuldiligentcurious," akin to cura "care") is a quality related to inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, and learning, evident by observation in human and many animal species.[1][2] The term can also be used to denote the behavior itself being caused by the emotion of curiosity. As this emotion represents a thirst for knowledge, curiosity is a major driving force behind scientific research and other disciplines of human study.



Interesting how the word is strongly linked with emotions. Armed with the new connotations attached to curiosity (careful, deliberate, emotional),  I went about observing how the students behaved in each science center. When I asked my kids which center they enjoyed the most (emotions), most of the boys pointed to the Break-A-Machine- Apart center. To be honest, I did not think they would learn much here as the machine were mostly electronic devises and had lots of wires and batteries inside them. However, when I sat with them and looked a bit closer, I saw a plethora of simple machines! But most of all, I caught a glimpse of Curiosity! I observed how they caught their breath; the delightful gleam in their eyes as they managed to unscrew a gadget and take a peak inside the mysterious world of machines.




Curiosity Rover on the red planet, Mars



As I sat chatting with the kids at the end of the day, I realized I still needed to explore areas that would peak some of the girls' curiosity. I also realized that not all learning engagements have to directly relate to the understanding of the principles of simple machines. If I was able to make them wonder, while experiencing the feeling of being happy, I had ignited enough neurons to create lifelong learners!  Brain research indicates that students learn best when they are happy.

However, I am still working on how to motivate some of the girls in my class. 

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