Our Models

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How Does it Work?

The Discovery System is a way of describing behaviors that can arouse and sustain curiosity and then lead to discovery. To discover means finding something out for the first time. We know from history that people who are curious make lots of discoveries! In discovery learning, students discover something that is new to them, such as a fact, an insight, a principle, maybe a new interest or hobby. Sometimes discovery is new to everyone on the planet, such as the identification of a new species or phenomenon.

 

When people are curious, what sort of things do they do? What does curiosity actually look like? We have isolated several behaviors related to curiosity and discovery: noticing, exploring, wondering, and questioning. We relate them to discovery by using a model that looks like a solar system. Discovery is like the sun, at the center of the model, with noticing, exploring, wondering, and questioning showed as planets revolving around it. This is to indicate that these behaviors are not part of a sequential operation. Any one of these behaviors may be a sign of curiosity at work, and all contribute to discovery.

In C2C programs, the first thing we do is help students discover what they are curious about-- in other words, what they would like to know and learn more about. Then we incorporate our understanding of how curiosity works to provide a discovery experience, whether it is discovering something as a team like an invention to make masks more tolerable, or discovering something individually about themselves that makes them excited for the future.

Here are some more details about the four behaviors in the Discovery Model.

The Components of the Discovery Model

Discovery

In C2C programs, we help students discover what they are curious about-- in other words, what they would like to know and learn more about. Students might want to know about something, like facts and information about space exploration, and they might also want to know how to do something, like making 3 point shots in basketball, which might require both knowledge and the development of a skill as well.

 

Also, we incorporate our understanding of how curiosity works to provide a discovery experience, whether it is discovering something as a team like an invention to make masks more tolerable, or discovering something individually about themselves that makes them excited for the future. For example, in the Cartoon Storyboard  module, we help students identify a personal goal based on their interests (i.e. things they are curious about) and help them develop a plan for reaching their goals. In the Junk Inventions module, a team of students identify a problem or  “unmet need” in the world today and invent a prototype that solves the problem. The invention process is a discovery process, and someday they may use it to invest in something important to society.

Noticing

Noticing is important because it contributes to how much information we collect. Often it requires using the 5 senses. Noticing might be a natural and spontaneous response to encountering something unusual, like a strange insect, piece of art or gadget. Noticing is turning your attention to the unusual thing and trying to know more about it by how it looks, feels, tastes, smells or sounds. Noticing in this way is a sign that your curiosity is active!!

Exploring

Exploring brings you more opportunities to notice, wonder and learn! Exploring is probably more associated with the word “discovery” than any of the other words used in the Discovery Model. We often think of famous explorers discovering the Americas, or maybe we think about the tv show Star Trek and the crew’s mission to go where no one else has gone before!

 

A key component of exploring is movement. We encourage students to get up and physically explore whenever possible. Exploring provides you with more opportunities to notice and to gather data than if you just stayed where you are, such as in your seat.

Wondering

This word is often associated with curiosity, and indeed, it is a great place to launch into the discovery process. Wondering is important because its a mechanism for our imagination, allowing us to consider what might be possible rather than what is just within our current reality.  

In the Discovery model, wondering, noticing and exploring are thinking skills that can be utilized at any time. It is certainly true that for some people and some situations wondering, noticing and exploring are all very natural, but we believe it can also be a choice--tools to lead us into a state of curiosity.

Questioning

Questions are important because they invite answers, and they build on what we have been noticing, exploring and wondering. When you are serious about discovery you need to include Questioning, or what we like to call a questioning process. Questions can be a way for students to be in control of their learning, because they can ask the questions that are interesting to them. If finding the answer would be meaningful to them, they will be motivated to seek out the answer. Curiosity is a great motivator! 

Questioning is without a doubt an important skill for discovery of all kinds, such as investigation, the scientific method, invention, creative problem solving, product research and development, and more. Asking questions is the most recognizable feature of the curious person! That is why we value questions so highly and create a classroom environment where questions are welcomed even if they are inconvenient

How does the Discovery Model relate to Creative Problem Solving?

Curiosity motivates students to start and stay on the journey of discovery. We use prompts like noticing, exploring, wondering and questioning to keep the curiosity level high and focused on the goal. The fact is, though, even with motivation students can run into obstacles that are difficult to overcome.  If they don’t have the needed skills or tools to solve the problems they encounter they might quit. Fortunately, creative problem solving provides those tools.