A great provocation gets kids thinking about concepts and ideas! In Excellence, we try to engage our students in provocations which connect to our central idea. A provocation can be simple and yet still powerful, such as a question, statement, image, video, song, or object. They create an opportunity for students to create new questions or find a new direction for the inquiry or action. Provocations can happen throughout a unit and do not always have to be teacher-driven.
There have been many cases in our class where students have brought in their own provocation to share with the class to get friends to start thinking and asking questions. The bottom line is, the best provocations, no matter their form or level of sophistication, leave a lasting impression on students, one which they would often think back on and connect to their learning.
For this unit, one of our first student provocations was from Pam! She brought in a plant for her Morning Meeting share which led students to question:
What are the parts of a plant?
What is a stem?
Can we make a indoor garden for our classroom?
Through Pam’s share, students were inspired to bring in their own classroom plant to learn about and take care of .
With so many plants trickling into our classroom, we decided to take a closer look using first a magnifying glass and then a handheld smart board microscope – this is what got the children really going.
Students began to see details about a plant that they had never seen before and began to ask questions that they had never asked before:
How do plants get their color?
Why so some plants never die?
What is a root made out of?
Why do some plants close when you touch them?
Why do leaves have this shape?
What is inside a seed?
What are some plants poisonous?
Why do some plants have no stem?
What is inside a leaf?
Why are plants always green?
Do plants have many shapes?
Why do some animals use plants to hide?
Why are some plants big and some small?
What are the dots on the leaf?
Why do some plants have no dots?
What are the lines?
Why is soil made of?
Why do flowers have stripes?
With these student-created questions, it is much easier to navigate the direction of our unit.
Provocation: Dry bean vs. Wet bean
Provocation: What do plants need to grow?
Provocation: Seed Exploration Center
DIY Recyclable Plant Pot to plant our seeds from the Seed Exploration Center
Our KWL chart so far!: