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Curiosity: A Pathway to Knowledge

We are very Curious animals that lead to human development

It is well known fact that human’s are curious. So that led to the developments in science. Usually such curious people are commonly known as scientists. Without accepting the facts at its face value they went on asking questions: Why?, How?, When?, Where?. They followed a systematic method of investigation to seek answers to their questions. This method is commonly called scientific method. On many occasions serendipity played a crucial role. Even in such cases the scientists continued to explore the situation in detail until they got satisfied. Curiosity is, thus, the basis of scientific and technological progress in the world. The aim of school science education is to cultivate this behaviour and to nurture it.

Children by nature are curious.

Given an opportunity they come out with a large number of questions. A systematic study was conducted in an educational project undertaken in Mumbai to understand the nature of questions raised by students studying at secondary level of schooling. A question box was placed at the entrance of a school to facilitate dropping of the questions by the students. Over a span of a year about 800 questions were collected. Analysis of these questions asked by the students shows that their curiosity is tickled both by the textual information and by everyday experiences. The textual questions are mainly of four types:

1.     Questions seeking meanings of technical terms,

2.     Questions seeking additional information,

3.     Questions looking for reasoning and mechanism and

4.     Questions seeking advice in practical matters.

Likewise the experience based questions are also of four types:

1.     Human body,

2.     Gadgets in the house,

3.     Incidences around and

4.     Legends/superstitions prevailing in the society.

How to satisfy curiosity?

In order to satisfy their curiosity a variety of methods need to be adopted by teachers. Science teacher can arrange a special question-answer sessions to deal with question dropped in the Question Box. On some occasions reading assignments can be given to the students so that they could find out the answers to questions themselves. Yet another mode is to suggest some simple and relevant activities for them to perform. Help can also be taken from EdTech tools to achieve the goal. These efforts are found useful in shaping the curiosity behaviour of students. In the project referred to above it was found that students could develop the habit of looking for answers to their questions themselves and help others to do that. Questioning attitude developed at the school stage would go a long way to develop a population with scientific attitude in their behavior.

Related: Bridging the Gap between Scientists and Science Educators

Ref: Linkedin

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