I have recently changed my attitude towards students’ ‘special news’ – The wonderful objects and stories that the students bring to the classroom from their worlds outside of the classroom. I have begun to embrace such wonders of life as the stimulus for future inquiry based learning. Here is a prime example. (Apologies for my shaky filming).
I was hedging the shrubs in our garden when I noticed a bird’s nest. I called out to my children and they were so excited! Then I realised that I hadn’t actually looked inside the nest. There was a tiny featherless baby bird who was yet to open its eyes. Now even I was excited and feeling rather guilty that I almost hit it with the giant tool I was wielding.
There were so many I Wonder… questions racing through my mind. I wonder how old it is? I wonder why it doesn’t open its eyes? I wonder where the pieces of egg shell are? These questions lead directly to an inquiry based approach to student-centred learning if the students are supported in their attempts to make their own discoveries about the living world around them. Stimulating curiosity is a key component of student-centred inquiry and real life examples, such as finding a baby bird in a nest in a back garden, are excellent sources of direction for teachers looking to start taking steps towards using inquiry based teaching methodologies.
Feel free to show your students this clip as a discussion stimulus or you may even wish to use it as an introduction to the STEM Learning Project Year 2 birdhouse inquiry project. I would love to hear about other methods of stimulating inquiry.