Learning from all sorts of different backgrounds
One of the biggest “bang for the buck” things I’ve done to encourage student inquiry and fascination with science is changing my background on my computer (and projector screen) to a rotating gallery of science photos I’ve found all around the internet. It’s easy to set up, and you wouldn’t believe how curious it gets kids about science. My kids love them so much, I now have them rotate every 5 minutes or so. I can’t count how many times my kids have said “what’s that?”
It used to be, I’d say “oh that’s just…” but now, I’m much more about asking questions. “What do you see? What does that tell you?”
For instance, today, this picture came up:
student: What’s that?
me: What do you see?
student: I see stars, and a really bright star?
me: Anything else?
student: numbers! 10/30/ 1/27 1/18?
me: what does that mean?
Student: they’re dates!
Me: What does this remind you of?
Student: Motion maps! Part of it looks like CVPM! (nb. they really did say that–score one for modeling).
Me: Could it be the moon?
Student: no, we saw in Goodnight Moon (click this link), the moon moves through the sky faster.
me: could it be a star?
Student: no, it’s too bright, and they move together…how about a planet?
me: cool. So why does it seem to move backward?
Student: I don’t know, why?
me: That’s for you to figure out.
There are some great sources of photos out there if you’re starting a collection:
If you’d like a ready-made collection, here’s a link to my 250 photos.
One hint if you do this: be sure to put some notes for yourself in the metadata of the photo so that you know what the image is when you try to figure it out.