The greatest words that a teacher can hear uttered in their class are: “What would happen if…”

These simple words show the beginnings of an expansive complexity of processes taking place in a brain that is questioning what it is processing, and is hungry for more.

The moment that these words are uttered you know that the brain has already started to process the initial information and make new connections; the fireworks of up to 100 trillion synapses have started, and, for that moment at least, you know that this student is hooked.

Meet 17-year-old Queensland Apprentice Diesel Fitter, Jonah Scott from Cecil Plains QLD.

“I got my first telescope when I was 15. I took it outside and thought I’d look at all the brightest stars I could see. I focused on one star and I couldn’t quite make out why it was different. All the other stars were dots, but it wasn’t……..and then it dawned on me that the reason it wasn’t a dot was it had rings around it.

It was the planet Saturn.

I never knew that I could see Saturn’s rings with my own eyes.

I ran into mum and had to get her to come and have a look, and ever since then I’ve been looking up to see what else I could find.”

Gallery: Jonah Scott space gallery

Jonah is acutely aware of his environment and has a passionate curiosity that drives him to use his talents to aid discovery.

He simply asks himself “what if I did this…”, “how could I do that….”, “What would happen if…”, and then he commits himself towards finding the answers.

This type of learning is powered by self-generated questioning inspired by a singular point of wonder – a ‘hook’ which grabs the attention of the mind, and prompts the first question.

As the teacher, what can we do in our classrooms to provide the best catalyst for this type of ‘curious learning’?

 

Story resource reference:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-13/the-sky-is-no-limit-for-this-young-queensland-astronomer/6091754

 

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