Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Waiting Game: Trying To Figure Out Student's Interests.

After we had finished our Sky Inquiry, I was at a loss as too what the kids would want to investigate next so I started setting out things for them to explore to see if there was anything they would want to dig deeper into.  I tried plants and seeds.  I had observed a few checking out the flowers and seeds that they were finding outside.  I set up an area for them to explore the parts of a plant,

their favorite flower, the dandelion,

and let them plant either marigold or sunflower seeds.

None of this really interested them.  The stations were not visited and their was minimal interest shown when I read books about this subject. After giving it some time, I decided to move on.  Our caterpillars came in so I thought we would try butterflies.  What five or six year old isn't curious about butterflies? I set up an area for them to observe the caterpillars and explore butterflies through literature and art.

I couldn't believe it when only about 3 kids showed any interest in these caterpillars and butterfly books.  Most have had these same butterfly kits at home so this was all old news for many of them! The caterpillars were mostly ignored until they became chrysalises. They didn't even want to paint butterflies! After the butterflies emerged, the kids were very excited about them and observed them... for about 5 minutes and then they too were ignored...

Our school is doing a school wide Caring for the Community Rally and the focus is on caring for pets and pets without homes in the local shelters, so I as we started talking about this I noticed a buzz starting to happen.  They all started talking about their pets and asking questions about each others pets.  They started getting very animated as they talked with big giant smiles.  I remembered the Vet office they created earlier in the year as a side project and how much they loved that... so I asked if they would be interested in exploring pets further and I got a very excited reaction from them!  Pets it will be!  Stay tuned as we wonder and find out all that we can about pets!

But what about the time spent on these other things? Was that time wasted? Absolutely not!  I don't set up the whole room when I am testing an interest.  Just one or two areas.  The kids were still introduced to the concepts and some great discussions happened and we enjoyed some good books about these subjects. The very small groups who were interested enjoyed spending time in these areas.  It was still time well spent. The kids will have many other opportunities in their lives to learn more about any of these subjects.  Not everything will turn into a large scale inquiry or project. Some will turn into small group inquiries, some will be explored through play, and some will just not happen at all... and that's okay.


  1. Yes, PETS are loved all over the world by children, especially dogs and cats.... not to forget the house snakes, hamsters, goldfish etc. Lovely for all sorts of measurement activities, mammal growth and life, care. This once led to a wonderful set of activities based on dogs that help us.
    Love you ideas!

  2. Thanks for this post Darla. I agree with child-led and if they aren't excited and vested in a topic it is best to move on. And yes...learning still occurs during these trial runs, but deep and meaningful learning will happen when we trust the children. Love your blog!

  3. This post is SO helpful in finding "the project". It's something that I have struggled with wrapping my head around and this approach makes so much sense! Thank you!!

  4. I really liked this post. It has some amazing pictures which really put life into it. Lovely share dear. thank you for doing such wondrful work. keep it up