Ignite Their Curiosity #30GoalsEdu

Goal 26: Ignite Their Curiosity of The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators! Click the link to find out more about the 30 Goals Challenge for Educators!

“Curiosity in children, is but an appetite for knowledge. The great reason why children abandon themselves wholly to silly pursuits and trifle away their time insipidly is, because they find their curiosity balked, and their inquiries neglected.” ~John Locke

Curiosity is already ingrained in each of us. It is a natural instinct for us to want to know more and discover more. The problem is that many schools suppress curiosity through the environment, rules, and curriculum. Students walk into bland classrooms with desks in rows. They are expected to sit, listen, and do what they are told. Curiosity isn’t supported or nurtured in this way. The mind has to be exposed to different settings and introduced to new materials in order to be stimulated. The same routine and materials day after day make our minds lazy. Textbooks, no matter how visual, will not continue to stimulate or interest learners.  Our learners need to be introduced to new ways of thinking. They need their routines interrupted. They need to see what they have learned year after year in a new way. They also need the time to be able to explore their curiosities. If we do not allow students to have time to explore their curiosities we suppress this instinct. In many schools, the curriculum often doesn’t allow time for students to explore their curiosities and doesn’t have activities that nurture curiosity.

In schools, textbooks will often cover the same materials. The same math problems will be introduced year after year. The same history will be taught year after year. The same English grammar will be used year after year. After awhile, our students begin to tune out what is repetitive. For this reason, it is important teachers step away from the book and only use it as one tool of many to help learners. The textbook should never be the focus or the main instructional tool.

Here are a few ways to nurture curiosity in your classroom:

  • Change the environment- try learning stations, pillows, etc. (I will talk more about this in goal 28)
  • Stimulate your learners minds with a puzzle, anagram, brainteaser, ethical dilemma, tough question, or riddle
  • Try introducing a lesson with a demonstration or experiment. Take 5 minutes or less to do the experiment then have your students either replicate the experiment or discuss what occurred. Sink or Float is one type of experiment that can be used.
  • Create a mystery- set-up the classroom in away that has students investigate. In this lesson plan by Jamie Keddie, he creates an outline of a body on the floor with masking tape. The students desks circle the body so all can observe. Students are questioned about the outlined body.
  • Try more problem and project based lesson plans that allow students to explore their curiosities.
  • Ask students questions that have more than one answer
  • Set-up a class Flickr account and have students add to it weekly images of what they saw outside the classroom that made them curious. Take a few minutes to discuss these images.
  • Incorporate activities that stimulate the other senses. For example, try passing around a bag or box where students feel and do not see the contents and make guesses. Have students smell or hear something and make guesses.


Short-term– Nurture your students curiosity for one lesson. Take any of the ideas listed above or share another idea with us in the comments below.

Long-term– Make changes to your curriculum and classroom environment to ignite and nurture curiosity.

Important News


Create a task or lesson that ignites your students curiosity.

Did you reflect on this goal? Please leave a comment that you accomplished this goal by either posting your own video reflection on Youtube, using the hashtag #30GoalsEdu, posting on the 30 Goals Facebook group, adding a post to the GooglePlus page, or adding a comment below!

Be inspired with these Inspirational songs, videos, quotes, and more on my Pinterest board, Inspiration for World Changers!

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell), Facebook.com/ShellyTerrell, and on her blog, TeacherRebootCamp.com, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at https://www.slideshare.net/ShellTerrell/presentations

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