Young children are alive with questions. The world is a wonderful place filled with mysterious things. Things that surprise and amaze them. They often embark on a journey to investigate, explore and understand the world.
At some point children tend to get the idea that questions are not particularly welcome. The learn that having a question means that there is something they do not understand. And they should already have grasped it but they have not.
The wonderful aspects of asking questions to learn and to engage with other people is transformed into public display of what they do not know. Asking questions could be embarrassing so a better option is to go silent. Posing questions becomes something rare.
How to pose and indentify a fruitful question are also skills that are rarely taught. Developing skills in questioning helps children to critically evaluate information as well as to identify missing information and gaps in their understanding.
It is easy to be goal-driven and impatient and quickly decide which questions that are going to be explored and discussed. Yet, spending time helping children to formulate and rewrite their own questions may be just as valuable as discussing the questions.
It take courage to step away from the idea that the answers is the most important aspect. Formulating and exploring questions is a great way to learn and grow. To accurately describe what it is that is puzzling you, is not so easy and it is a skill that develops with experience.
Children are more inspired to think about the world when our knowledge is mysterious and ambigous.
Learning how to classify things into living, non-living and never lived is part of primary science.
Most educational material is rather straightforward. Children are told that trees are living things. Bees and people are also living things. Apples in the fruitbowls are dead, but they were once just like the leaves on the ground part of a living tree. Anything plastic, metal or stone has never been alive.
Wood that has been separated from a tree is dead because it has been removed from the source of nurients. But wood on the tree is alive.
A chair made of wood is non-living.
What if we build a growing chair?
What if we build a growing robot?
What if not all living things need water?
Water has been regarded as essential for life, but it seems like we should not assume that all living things need water. This is important when we serach for life on other planets.
What if. . .
Vine-inspired robot that can grow on demand.
The kangaroo rat never drinks water.
Click here to read more about beautiful questions and the importance of using questions.