This lesson is based on Jaak Panksepp’s theory of seeking. There is a summary of his theory here

Experiencing curiosity.

  • Send students out around College on a 20 minute errand. Task them with ‘finding something interesting’ which they must report back to the class on. You might like to set limits/boundaries on their search.
  • Ask them to pay particular attention to what goes on in their minds whilst seeking. What affects what they choose? What feelings do they experience whilst seeking and when contemplating reporting back?
  • Upon the students’ return, share some examples of what they found interesting in discussion.
  • If Panksepp is right, we are set up to be curious. Ask students if they think that their experience confirms or denies this. Are people naturally curious? What about babies? Does something change between infancy and getting older that impedes curiosity?
  • Ask students to make a list of the things that spark their curiosity and which they become engaged in and a list of things which they have to do, but which they find it difficult to be curious about. Get them to compare their lists with others. Are there patterns?
  • What gets in the way of curiosity? Is it cool to be curious? Is there something that happens in groups that causes us to hide the seeking mind? Did any of them feel curious about going out to find something, but then feel their curiosity being restrained? What was it restrained by? Were there thoughts in their minds which restrained their curiosity?
  • Central to curiosity is being open. Watch this clip from Derren Brown’s documentary on luck  and discuss the effects of a lack of openness.

Building curiosity.

  • How can we give the seeking mind the best possible chance of doing what it should? How can we remove obstacles to curiosity? What can we do to become more curious about things that we have to learn, but which don’t really interest us? Are ideas either interesting or boring, or is it more complicated than that?
  • Look at ‘building curiosity’ ideas. Ask students to work together to evaluate which of these might be most successful. Ask them to add more ideas to the list.

Prep: ask pupils to notice times when their curiosity is provoked over the next two weeks. Are there patterns to what captures their interest? They should try to find ways of becoming more curious about things which disinterest them, but which they must learn (e.g. for exams). Ask them to write about their experiences.