Increase Student Curiosity with the Curiosity Jar

Increase Student Curiosity with the Curiosity Jar

How do nocturnal animals hunt?

What animal is the smartest?

What would happen if worms didn't decompose dead things?

These are just a few of the questions that my third graders came up with. As a teacher I love it when my students are using their curiosity and asking good questions. 

However, I found myself running into two problems:

1.) I didn't seem to have enough time to throughly answer all of the excellent questions my students were asking.

2.) I found that I needed to do some more research myself before I could give my students the complete and accurate responses that they deserved.

My time-saving solution to this problem was:


The Curiosity Jar

Here’s How It Works:

When you are in the middle of a lesson and a student has a question that you are not able to answer right away tell the student to put their question in the curiosity jar. The student will silently walk over to the curiosity jar, record their question on a slip of paper, and drop it in the jar. Meanwhile, you are free to continue on with the lesson. 

At a designated time during the week you can go through the questions in the jar with the students once you have had time to sort through them and research answers if needed. 

The curiosity jar validates the questions that your students ask, provides time for necessary research, and saves valuable lesson time! You can even put the ownership on the students by allowing them to look up answers to their own questions or make it a classroom job.

How to Set Up a Curiosity Jar:

To set up your own curiosity jar all you need is a jar or bowl and small slips of paper. I used an old fish bowl and halved index cards or Post-its. Introduce the curiosity jar to your students and set procedures for how and when they can use it. Then sit back and enjoy all of the time you are saving as you nurture your students’ curiosity.

Try the curiosity jar out in your classroom and let us know how it goes!

Another great way to increase student curiosity in the classroom is through hands-on STEM challenges. Encourage student curiosity all year long with our seasonal STEM bundle!

For more STEM ideas, inspiration, and collaboration with other STEM teachers be sure to join our FREE Facebook group Elementary STEM Teachers Club!

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