Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Joy of Inquiry: Ask Questions Close to Home

What is that? Why does it look that way? What is it doing? Is it always going to look like that is going to change?

Curiosity is wonderful and contaigious. We want children to be curious about the world and ask many questions about it! This is what scientists, writers, historians, doctors, and mechanics do. They raise questions, gather up data and observations and make guesses and research some more.

Why not take a walk and study something in your neighborhood together: a plot of earth, a construction site, a series of stars in the sky or even a tree. Look at. Observe it together. Raise questions. Try and answer them. Read about the topic. Ask other people about the topic. Visit your "something" once a week (or month) to see how it has changed.

You can do the same with a photograph or a series of
photographs. Maybe it is a photograph about the natural world or maybe one from history. You can follow the same inquiry method with these text sources as well!

Looking closely, raising questions, searching for answers, and then looking again is a great way to capture children's attention and to learn and build content knowledge about the world. It also is a great bonding experience- learning about a topic together!

"Is that tree beginning to bud. I think I see a nest in the tree. Is that a bird's nest in the tree or is it for a squirrel? Will it have big green leaves?"

Maybe you will want to study to study how plants change in spring and summer or you will want to study how effective recycling is in your town. Maybe you have questions or just interests in your immediate vicinity. Show kids how to turn their world into sets of questions that they can eventually answer and research together. Revisit the photographs or come back and visit the same pond two weeks later. What has changed and what is the same?

Whatever it is, show kids the joy of first hand research! Show them the joy and necessity that we all have as communitty members to be inquisitive and informed!

Enjoy the studying. Enjoy the reads.

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