My class has been in a fit of making and creating in our current Unit of Inquiry into how humans use energy to support progress.
Naturally, they wanted to share their learning with a broad audience. In primary school this usually means that older kids spend time showing younger children their learning. One of the children in the class suggested that the older students in the school might find the creations in the class interesting.
The kids energetically set up circuits using a Makey Makey. There was a play-dough Minecraft controller, an interactive dance mat, lightsabers and an Apple Bob with a prize for anyone to get an apple out without the music playing (the copper wire in the bucket an the tinfoil tape on the ground made this an impossible task).
As the secondary snack arrived, the 8 year olds were bursting with glee.
And then… nothing.
My Year 4s weren’t going to accept this situation. The children quickly started running around grabbing older siblings, some were confident to go find other older kids and teachers to play with their creations. Eventually, the younger children’s enthusiasm caught the secondary children’s attention and they allowed themselves to be curious.
Reflecting back on the experience, the Year 4s were surprised by how little curiosity the secondary learners showed and how much work it took them to get their older peers interested.
Curiosity is an attitude that the Primary Years Programme seeks to develop yet it is one so quickly lost.
Like the other attitudes we put on our walls curiosity is not something that can be taught, it must be regularly inspired.
Our younger learners have the capacity to inspire the older children to keep being interested in the world – it’s up to teachers to help create conditions for this happen.