What’s So Curious about The Curiosity Cube?
Can you remember being a child? The world seemed huge, daunting and almost a bit scary. It is a place of awe and wonder, as well as danger. But being a child is wonderful. Seeing things for the first time and wondering what things are, how they work and why they are there is all part of developing in our wonderful world.
Curiosity is the key to the joy of learning. Children have a built-in sense of curiosity about the world around them which can be fostered by an engaging and inviting provision that has been planned well to follow children’s interests and teach them new things. Teachers have a responsibility to support and reinforce curiosity where children have the confidence to develop their own theories whilst adding to their store of knowledge.
The ‘want’ to investigate and explore has benefits to all aspects of learning and link to all the characteristics of effective learning. Children are impulsive little people and as they grow, they gain a deeper understanding of the world around them through their experiences. Curiosity is expressed by facial expressions, stance, touching, smelling, tasing and listening and watching intently. Engagement is maximised when a child in engrossed in something.
The idea behind the Curiosity Cube is to excite and engage children while supporting and reinforcing thinking and communication and adding to the children’s stores of knowledge.
Create a buzz in your classroom by adding a curiosity cube. The cube is essentially a transparent box into which you put specifically chosen objects. Objects can be linked to a curriculum topic of theme or be completely random. The idea is to make children curious and eager to know what the objects are.
An outstanding provision will always have maximum engagement and Ofsted will be looking for those children who appear to not be engaged in some kind of learning and what is being done to address this. The curiosity cube is a fantastic and effective way to tackle this and a ‘quick-win’ is to direct any children that aren’t engaged in learning to the cube.
Plan and find which objects you need depending on the purpose of your curiosity cube. Think what you want the discussion to achieve. Develop all the characteristics of effective learning, including vocabulary, speaking and listening skills, reading and specific knowledge related to the objects. Objects can be anything!
The curiosity cube is an irresistible context for communication. Children suddenly become motivated to talk and social confidence is increased. Exploration and investigation will consume the curiosity cube area. Develop a hook for learning and children’s natural intrigue will be cultivated.
Set up the cube when the children aren’t in the provision. Cover it with material so the children can’t see what’s inside. This creates even more curiosity! Then add clues for the children to read, still with cover on. Leave the cube covered for a few days, so that they children literally can’t wait to see what’s inside. They won’t be able to resist peeping! Then remove the cover and reveal what’s inside. Add decodable word labels and a writing opportunity; the children could write down their ideas of what they think is inside the cube.
Plan a specific time to discuss what is inside the curiosity cube to teach the children and address any misconceptions that may have been formed whilst exploring what is inside. Use questions to lead and develop thinking. Questions will be different depending on what the objects are. “I wonder…” is always a great sentence starter to use as it provokes thinking. Remember, in order to answer questions children will have to have a certain level of understanding, so questions need to build on knowledge and experience and develop and deepen thinking. Begin with the surface level, closed questions like “What is it?” or “Where can I find it?” and then ask more open-ended ‘how or why’ questions where children have to make links with previous knowledge and express opinions.
The curiosity cube can be used for many different reasons. Here at Teacher’s Pet, we are making themed curiosity cube resources to inspire your own curiosity cube creations, so make sure you look out for any of our Curiosity Cube ideas!