Seven Ways to Nurture the Spirit of Inquiry

Seven Ways to Nurture the Spirit of Inquiry

Give your child oppor­tu­ni­ties for open-ended explo­ration and inves­ti­ga­tion, use com­puter games, encour­age her to start a col­lec­tion, use a broader selec­tion of fam­ily out­ings, use oppor­tu­ni­ties to learn from the course of daily life, nur­ture your child’s curios­ity by respond­ing to her ques­tions and par­tic­i­pate in com­mu­nity learn­ing activ­i­ties to to nur­ture the spirit of inquiry.

“The whole art of teach­ing is only the art of awak­en­ing the nat­ural curios­ity of young minds for the pur­pose of sat­is­fy­ing it after­wards.” ~ Ana­tole France

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One — Use toys, mate­ri­als and activ­i­ties that involve your child in open-ended explo­ration and inves­ti­ga­tion
Bar­ber et al. argue that open-ended activ­i­ties with mate­ri­als such as clay, sci­ence kits, blocks, jour­nals, flash­lights, shov­els or mag­ni­fy­ing glasses are bet­ter than video games or toys with lim­ited func­tion­al­ity. If she has dis­as­sem­bled your favorite iPhone, for exam­ple, pro­vide her with sci­ence kits or blocks.

Two — Use edu­ca­tional com­puter games
Wal­lace and Husid argue that it’s worth­while to seek com­puter games that are edu­ca­tional and fun. Also, talk to her about how chil­dren are under peer pres­sure to engage in addic­tive, mind­less and vio­lent com­puter games.

Three — Encour­age your child to start a col­lec­tion
Pressed flow­ers, fos­sils, bones, rocks, but­tons, etc. are cool things that your child could col­lect. Col­lect­ing things will nur­ture her obser­va­tion skills and depth of knowl­edge increas­ing her mas­tery of a sub­ject, besides boost­ing her con­fi­dence and pride.

Four — Use a broader selec­tion of fam­ily out­ings
Sci­ence cen­ters, muse­ums, zoos, plan­e­tar­i­ums, hikes, nature walks or observ­ing a night together are sev­eral options for fam­ily outings.

Five — Use oppor­tu­ni­ties to learn from the course of daily life
Learn from every pos­si­ble oppor­tu­nity from daily life: involve your child while cook­ing, show her how an egg­beater works, study the cater­pil­lar on a leaf, plan a repair project together, or observe the changes in nature dur­ing spring.

Six — Nur­ture your child’s curios­ity by respond­ing to her ques­tions
Have a con­ver­sa­tion with your child every time she asks a ques­tion. If you do not know the answer, seek the answer together by look­ing up ref­er­ence materials.

Seven — Par­tic­i­pate in com­mu­nity learn­ing activ­i­ties
Rush­ton rec­om­mends par­tic­i­pat­ing in activ­i­ties offered by schools, libraries and com­mu­nity orga­ni­za­tions. Such activ­i­ties are safe and easy for fam­i­lies. Sci­ence, math and com­puter activ­i­ties are very pop­u­lar ways of nur­tur­ing inter­est in sci­ence and technology.

Ref­er­ences:
Bar­ber, J., Parizeau, N. & Bergman, L. (2002). Spark Your Child’s Suc­cess in Math and Sci­ence. Great Explo­rations in Math and Sci­ence. Cal­i­for­nia: Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at Berke­ley.
Rush­ton, S. (2008). Acti­vate Your Stu­dents. Aus­tralia: Cur­ricu­lum Press.
Wal­lace, V. & Husid, W. (2011). Col­lab­o­rat­ing for Inquiry-Based Learn­ing. Vir­ginia: ABC-CLIO.


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