Harness Student Curiosity for Remote Learning

April 13, 2020

Student-led inquiry journeys that students can do at home

The real world is far more exciting than anything we could ever make up! These 4 simple strategies help students explore their natural curiosity and takes them on an adventure of self-led inquiry.

Humans are naturally curious! That means our kids too. When our kids are genuinely curious about a topic, they will become more deeply engaged in their learning. 

So why don’t we use this opportunity? If we start with curiosity, and then give students pathways to investigate and explore on their own, a lot more learning will take place! This can be easily done in the safe space of Britannica’s curated set of multi-media content, called LaunchPacks. LaunchPacks cover social studies and science topics and build critical ELA skills.

So how do you use the Britannica tools to build on students’ own curiosity? Exploring is one way we act on our curiosity. When we have a choice with a set of materials, we go to the ones we are most curious about. So giving students the opportunity just to explore within a LaunchPack or a topic will let their curiosity drive their direction.

Britannica has made LaunchPacks free to schools and districts around the country. Learn more and get access here.

Here are 4 simple strategies to guide students on an exploratory adventure:

STRATEGY 1: Explore 1,2,3 Reflection

Give your students a broad topic from one of your content areas and ask them to explore a set and have them fill out a 1,2,3. (This 1,2,3 is an example. You can change it up to meet your content needs!)

  1. 1 thing that interested me
  2. 2 new ideas
  3. 3 new words I discovered

STRATEGY 2: Offering a lot or a little! 

If you know your students should be learning about space right now you could either go directly to a LaunchPack on the universe, or you could open it wide and search astronomy! When you search LaunchPacks for the larger term astronomy, you’ll find a wide array of topics about astronomy from history, ancient Greece and Rome as well as sources from modern day. 

Using a larger search term can open the options up for your students to find something that interests them. Play around with your content and search to see how wide you’d like to let your students explore. You could even have them do that activity! Search the universe (a smaller term), then search astronomy (a wider term). Let them tell you what happened and think about why that is? When we know what we want to learn, we can go right to that information. When we are exploring, wider terms help open the exploration up to more but still relevant content. This is a great thing to experience, learn and for teachers to use to help their students explore.

STRATEGY 3: Variety of resources

LaunchPacks are a small curated set of a variety of resources on one topic. 

Choose one pack on a topic in your standards. Look at the pack to see what kinds of resources are there.

Start with something visual to draw all learners into the content, like a map that tells about a place, or an image that shows what that time in history was like or what a galaxy is, or even a diagram.   

Have them look at an item and reflect on these questions: 

  • What is happening here? 
  • What do you notice?  
  • What do you wonder?  

STRATEGY 4: Explore the set

Let your students explore the LaunchPack using the simple Stop and Jot strategy. Explore another resource and Stop reading or viewing and Jot down some ideas or a question you have. Read more about Stop and Jot.