A Healthy Amount of Curiosity Never Killed The Cat

Our 4th new character skill was curiosity. This one was especially hard to teach because so many students were taught that curiosity would get them into trouble. I had to reframe their thinking into remembering that curiosity leads us to learn new things. All learning starts when we are first curious about something.

I taught grades K-6 a variation on the same lesson and I have them all . . . yes I know it’s a lot . . . outlined below. I have labeled them by grade level, so feel free to skip down to the one that most interests you.

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Curiosity for K-1 Graders

Introduce Curiosity

People who are curious want to learn new things. They ask questions to help them learn better and they are interested in a lot of different things.

Show the picture above to the students. Get them curios about the picture by asking . . . .

What are the kids doing in the picture?

Curiosity starts when you are interested in something.

What are the kids in the picture curious about?

What is something you are interested in?

After that, you learn about it. Then you can do it! When we do new things do we sometimes make mistakes.

What happens when we make mistakes?

Do you think the kids in the picture were able to finish the puzzle? Why?

A character all the kids know as being too curious is Curious George. Since they are familiar with him. I used the above discussion to guide us as we watch a short clip of Curious George.

Say: We are going to watch a video about Curious George. In the video, Curious George wants to make Compass the pigeon the perfect perch so the bird can feel right at home. But it takes a lot of research to figure out how to build a tall object that won’t collapse.

Let’s see if we can find the curiosity steps: interest, learn, do, make mistakes.

What was Curious George interested in, did he learn about perches, was he able to do it, were there some mistakes?

Next, I allowed them to use their own curiosity to built a tower, bridge, and castle out of blocks. As they problem solved to produce the best one they could, they were often asking me questions about the process. Curiosity isn’t about the answers so I would simply respond, “That’s something to think about, isn’t it?”

Curiosity for 2-3 Graders

This lesson begins exactly the same all the way until the Curious George video. I have outlined the whole thing below in case you skipped the K-1 lesson.

Introduce Curiosity

People who are curious want to learn new things. They ask questions to help them learn better and they are interested in a lot of different things.

Show the picture above to the students. Get them curios about the picture by asking . . . .

What are the kids doing in the picture?

Curiosity starts when you are interested in something.

What are the kids in the picture curious about?

What is something you are interested in?

After that, you learn about it. Then you can do it! When we do new things do we sometimes make mistakes.

What happens when we make mistakes?

Do you think the kids in the picture were able to finish the puzzle? Why?

A character all the kids know as being too curious is Curious George. Since they are familiar with him. I used the above discussion to guide us as we watch a short clip of Curious George.

Say: We are going to watch a video about Curious George. When Curious George invites a group of dogs home from the Dog Show, he has to figure out a way to sort them so that he can count them correctly.

Let’s see if we can find the curiosity steps: interest, learn, do, make mistakes.

When was Curious George interested in, did he figure out a way to count them, was he able to do it, were there some mistakes?

Real World Connection 

Which school subject requires most of our curiosity? Give examples. 

Next, we did our own sort. We used curiosity to sort animals into certain groups. After they sorted, they had to describe the groupings and why they placed the animals that way.

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How did this activity force you to use your curiosity? Were there many different answers or just one?

Just like the K-1 lesson, the boys wanted to be told how to sort the animals. It was much easier for them to just be told the correct answer than work through the tough parts. During this time, I replied to all their questions with, “That’s something to think about, isn’t it?”

Curiosity for 4-6 Graders

This lesson begins exactly the same as the K-1 and 2-3 lessons. In case you skipped them, I have it outlined below, one more time.
At the beginning of this lesson place a small object inside a lunch sack. Have the lunch sack sitting out during the lesson. The lunch sack will be noticed, but do not answer any of their questions about it. Just simply state, “That’s something to think about, isn’t it?”

Introduce Curiosity

People who are curious want to learn new things. They ask questions to help them learn better and they are interested in a lot of different things.

Show the picture above to the students. Get them curios about the picture by asking . . . .

What are the kids doing in the picture?

Curiosity starts when you are interested in something.

What are the kids in the picture curious about?

What is something you are interested in?

After that, you learn about it. Then you can do it! When we do new things do we sometimes make mistakes.

What happens when we make mistakes?

Do you think the kids in the picture were able to finish the puzzle? Why?

Can we think of other words that tell about curiosity?

We wrote these ideas on the board:

  • exploring
  • investigating
  • experimenting

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Real World Connection 

Which school subject requires most of our curiosity? Give examples.

We wrote our examples on the board.

  • science
  • math
  • computer
  • robotics

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Now, suppose you were a teacher . . . how could you get your students curious to learn about something new? What are some things you might do?

Next, I had the boys complete the Just Curious worksheet that I got through the website showcase.schooldatebooks.com. The link to their full lesson is attached. My whole lesson was based around this.

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At the end of the lesson, I finally engaged the boys with the paper lunch sack. I told them that I sparked their curiosity by placing it in front of them, but by not answering their questions.

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I gave them 20 questions to guess what was inside the bag. Once the 20 questions have been asked illustrate how their curiosity led them to “learning” what was inside the bag.

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