A Study In Wondering – A Study of Snow

When we wonder with our students, we are interested in their curiosity, their thoughts. We are giving them the time and space to notice something, examine it, and wonder about it. These are skills that are foundational to developing a strong sense of self and to building critical thinking skills.

When we begin a study, we observe and listen to our students. What do they notice and what do they wonder about what they notice? What conclusions are they making?

When Kindergarten decided to study snow, they started with a snow prediction. I wonder what will happen to snow that is put in a jar and kept inside? 

Most students thought it would melt. 

The students noticed how much snow was in the jar. They wondered, after the snow melted would the water it turned into be at the same level in the jar that the snow was before it melted?

During a group discussion they wondered…

  • How does snow get into crystal form?
  • How does snow get so soft?
  • Does it always snow in the winter?
  • How does snow form into snowflakes? 

Someone noticed that snow is white. 

They thought about this as a group and two students offered…

  • Maybe snow is white because it comes from clouds which are white? 
  • Maybe snow is white because of how the sun reflects off the snow?

They watched a video of snowflakes forming under a microscope and made snowflakes of their own out of paper. A frozen water exploration included freezing water in balloons–these ice “eggies” are now quite popular. They observed snow outside and were curious while they were playing in it. 

Andy Goldsworthy’s art inspired another exploration. They looked at his sculptures closely and Amber asked each student to say one word describing things they saw in the pictures of the sculptures. Some of the words they shared:

 circles, snow, ice, darkness, curvy, ice slide, bridge, round 

When they studied snow together, they extended their learning beyond simply thinking about snow. In studying snow, their wondering led them to thinking about weather, shapes, science, art, the power of their curiosity to influence others, and the thrill of discovering together. A study of snow became a rich and thoughtful study of many different things–all powered by wonder.

When we wonder together, we are entering into a partnership that helps us all grow and learn. 

When we are present, when we are still, when we take notice, when we listen, when we play, when we collaborate–when we wonder, we are open to the best in our surroundings, ourselves and in each other–we are open to the many possibilities this world has to offer. 

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