Curiosity and Wonder in Science and Technology
Curiosity and wonder are at the core of science and technology disciplines and should be at the core of a student-centred science and technology education. Students come to school with a natural curiosity about the way in which the world works, and as they learn about natural phenomena, science and technology concepts and theories, and scientific and technological discoveries and innovations made by diverse individuals, they can be amazed and inspired. The Ontario science and technology curriculum strives to nurture and support curiosity and wonder in order for all students to enjoy science and technology, to be engaged and achieve success within the program, and to see themselves as confident learners and as scientifically and technologically literate individuals. The curriculum also strives to inspire students with a spirit of inventing, designing, making, and entrepreneurship as they use their knowledge from the classroom to develop innovative, made-in-Canada solutions to global issues.
Within the science and technology classroom, students’ curiosity may be expressed explicitly, with direct questions, such as “How does that work?”, or expressed subtly as they consider the results of an experiment or the results of testing an engineered design. They may bring questions into the classroom about scientific and technological phenomena they have observed in their own lives, or initial classroom investigations may lead them to extend their thinking and further compare and analyse concepts. Processes such as scientific research, scientific experimentation, and engineering design provide a framework within which to situate and nurture this curiosity. Students can revise and refine their initial questions, and then proceed through a formal process to seek answers or develop solutions.
Wonder is exhibited as students are surprised at the results of their research, experimentation, or engineered design, or as they admire the natural processes that make up our world. Through opportunities to engage in a wide variety of investigations related to the small (chloroplasts, vacuoles, mitochondria, and cytoplasm) and the large (the Sun, Earth and other planets, and the solar system), the stable (struts, ties, and structures) and the dynamic (pulleys, wheels, axles, and flying machines), the Ontario curriculum provides opportunities for students to appreciate and wonder about scientific concepts and processes, as well as current and emerging technologies and innovations.
The excitement and promise of discoveries and innovations is balanced with an awareness of the limitations, and potentially harmful impacts, of science and technology. Students should develop an understanding of the types of problems that can be solved by science and technology, as well as of the critical role that human creativity, empathy, and ethics have in innovations and solutions that support accessibility, inclusivity, and equity for all.
In addition to being at the core of science and technology disciplines, curiosity and wonder should be integral components of helping students develop the skills and make the connections needed for scientific and technological investigation, develop the ability to relate science and technology to our changing world, explore and understand concepts, and develop as scientifically and technologically literate individuals.