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 is a teacher trainer, author, and international speaker. She is the host of American TESOL’s Free Friday Webinars and the Social Media Community Manager for The Consultants-E. She has co-founded and organized the acclaimed educational projects, Edchat, ELTChat, The Reform Symposium E-Conference and the ELTON nominated Virtual Round Table language and technology conference. Her prolific presence in the educator community through social media has been recognized by several notable entities, such as The New York Times, UNESCO Bangkok, Edweek, Converge Magazine, the United Federation of Teachers, the 140 Conference, Mashable, English Central, Tefl.net, and T/H/E JOURNAL. Her education blog, Teacher Reboot Camp, is ranked as one of the top 10 language teaching and technology blogs and the 50 best blogs for education leaders. In 2012 find her book, The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators published by Eye on Education and participate with over 7000 educators worldwide in this online professional development course that helps educators develop Personal Learning Networks and accomplish social media and teaching goals. Find her on Twitter, @ShellTerrell. Shelly has taught English language learners at various levels since 1998 in the US, Greece, and in Germany. She currently presents and hosts workshops on integrating technology effectively with young learners and adults. Shelly holds an Honours BA in English and a minor in Communication with a specialization in Electronic Media from the University of Texas in San Antonio and an Honours MA in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix.

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