Wisdom Begins with Wonder

“It’s complicated. And we need to move on.”

Michael Doyle (Science Teacher) inspired this post with his post “If Randall Munroe were Secretary of Education” If you don’t know who Randall Munroe is, he is the creator of the brilliant web comic xkcd.

The crux of Michael’s post:

“It’s…complicated. And we need to move on” kills inquiry, kills science, but apparently not science education.

In the quest for rich inquiry (easier said than done), this is a core goal. Student questions and curiosity must drive the curriculum awhenever possible.

When I, or the state standards, drive the curriculum train with what we think is important, engagement is a fickle mistress. Often, key topics bore many (most?) students to tears. Sometimes, students are hooked by topics I expect to incite mutinous apathy.

I’m getting better at knowing the difference but it varies dramatically from student to student, group to group, year to year. Every time I think I’ve found a topic that kids love or a method that keeps them engaged, I’m brought back to earth by a group (or a vocal minority) that reminds me I don’t have all the answers.

Better to let student interest drive the train, methinks.


  • #   Ed on 12.11.10 at 1:45 pm     

    We’re a PYP school, where inquiry is our stance, and we have great trans-disciplinary units of inquiry which engage kids in exciting ways… and now, lucky us (not), we have a new Australian national curriculum to limit us.

  • #   Cheryl Barnard on 12.12.10 at 8:56 pm     

    Interest is the KEY in class – how sad to pack it up and move on! Thanks for this reminder to slow down, and investigate and really seize upon those moments when they come! Thanks!

  • #   Mr. Rice on 12.19.10 at 4:05 pm     


    Sometimes we miss really important opportunities because we’re in a hurry. That’s a shame!

  • #   Mr. Rice on 12.19.10 at 4:05 pm     


    That’s a bummer! I’d like to hear more about your new standards in Australia and how they’re impacting you.


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