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Study explores link between curiosity and school achievement

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“Researchers know that certain factors give children a leg up when it comes to school performance. Family income, access to early childhood programs and home environment rank high on the list. Now, researchers are looking at another potentially advantageous element: curiosity.” (more)

Curiosity is key to early childhood success in math and reading

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Curious children are better able to grasp basic math and reading. This is according to a group of researchers from the University of Michigan, led by Prachi Shah. The study in the journal Pediatric Research, which is published by Springer Nature, is the first to investigate a possible link between curiosity and early academic success among young children. In addition, the researchers found that for children from poorer communities, curiosity is even more important for higher academic achievement than for children from more well-off backgrounds, and may serve as a potential target of intervention to close the achievement gap associated with poverty.” (more)

A Recipe for Inspiring Lifelong Learning

Edutopia – Ben Johnson

“I recently visited a tiny town in northern Texas that is famous for one thing: dinosaur tracks. As I walked through the river and stepped into gigantic tracks, I thought that these huge lizards had no inkling that so many years later bipedal mammals like me would be following their footsteps in wonder. It made me reflect over my career as an educator, and what kinds of impressions I have left in the hearts and minds of the many students I have taught. I would like to hope that the impressions I left were favorable, even memorable.” (more)

Schools Are Missing What Matters About Learning

The Atlantic – Scott Barry Kaufman

“The power of curiosity to contribute not only to high achievement, but also to a fulfilling existence, cannot be emphasized enough. Curiosity can be defined as “the recognition, pursuit, and intense desire to explore, novel, challenging, and uncertain events”. In recent years, curiosity has been linked to happiness, creativity, satisfying intimate relationships, increased personal growth after traumatic experiences, and increased meaning in life. In the school context, conceptualized as a “character strength,” curiosity has also received heightened research attention. Having a “hungry mind” has been shown to be a core determinant of academic achievement, rivaling the prediction power of IQ.”(more)

Can pre-school children learn to do science?

The Guardian – Jenny Rohn

“Perhaps the intense curiosity of a toddler is only a developmental phase. Or more worryingly, natural curiosity might be squelched by exasperated, sleep-deprived parental rejoinders such as “just because” – or by formalised learning of long lists of scientific facts. (One of my step-daughters once brought home a summary of her year 7 school science curriculum: the entire programme seemed to be based solely on weights and measures.) Either way, if toddlers are naturally prone to being good scientists, are we as a society somehow missing a window of opportunity? I began to wonder how much of the rudiments of the scientific method are dealt with in the pre-school phase.”(more)

Festival explores what is possible with science

San Diego Union-Tribune – Sandy Coronilla

“You don’t need special powers to walk on water. That’s what many who attended this weekend’s Impossible Science Festival at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center discovered as they ran over, hopped onto and sometimes even sank into a pool of liquid Oobleck…The goal of the festival was to inspire visitors to “imagine how they can apply science to make today’s impossibilities into tomorrow’s realities,” Steven Snyder, chief executive officer of the science center, said in a statement. The reality is that American students rank 29th in math and 22nd in science when compared to their global counterparts…“The only thing separating magic from science is the understanding of the situation,” said Jason Latimer, host and designer of the festival…What better way to reach students than through curiosity and fun, Latimer said.”(more)