Real learning begins with Curiosity. But you cannot script someone else’s curiosity, certainly not a student’s. But in that journey of curiosity, there are moments of discovery where understanding is illuminated – Eureka Moments. Moments that turn us into life-long learners.
In The Dayton Practice, a Genius Hour class was given a shared base topic, for example, ‘music’. Each team then drew their scrambler, a randomly selected topic. For example, ‘sports’.
Their goal, over the next two to three weeks is to (1) research these two topics, (2) find connections between them, (3) create something that demonstrates what they learned, (4) share their findings, using their creation, to their fellow students in an In & Out Demo.
Prompt Guide: Rabbit Hole Research
To help spark curiosity, Jenni and her colleagues developed a prompt guide.
The students start their research by identifying aspects of the base topic and the scrambler topic that interest them.
But some students struggled to find areas that they were curious about. To help move them past that barrier, the prompt included two more elements, suggesting the students explore ways that those topics could relate to their passions or to specific projects they wanted to do. Find something that is interesting to research, they were urged. Then explore how it could connect the scrambler to the base.
One student team, for instance, had a student who really wanted to do a baking project. But their topics were art and psychology. So the team agreed to research the relationship between art, psychology, and food. Much to their surprise, they discovered that the artistic flair by which we present food directly affects how we perceive its flavor.
They baked cupcakes, decorated them, and then told their story of discovery to their peers.
The practice takes advantage of the understanding that students are sparked to action by different Learning Motivators.
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