I'm writing the syllabus for my science class right now and am finding a great deal of inspiration in this quote from Lois Lowry.
A sense of wonder comes built in with every child. Powers of absorption greater than the most up-to-date Pampers are part of youth's standard equipment.
This comes from a piece Lowry wrote in response to calls for censorship of THE GIVER and is called Trusting the Reader. You can find it in the Kerlan Collection's Censorship Portfolio. (Scroll down the page to the author's response section for the link to the pdf.)
While Lowry was talking about readers in this piece, it most certainly applies to the teaching and learning of science. That curiosity about the world around us is one of things teachers need to kindle and encourage. Too often it's what is quashed by the lack of time afforded to science and the emphasis on teaching to the test. It is hard to find balance, but I'm convinced it can be done.
This sense of wonder and the ability to look closely and see beyond the surface of things is not unique to science and the work of scientists. It is also the work of the poet. Poets not only see deeply, but they see uniquely and encourage us to view the world from a different perspective. For example, I've never seen numbers the same way since reading this poem.
by May Swenson
0 A mouth. Can blow or breathe,
be a funnel, or Hello.
1 A grass blade or cut.
2 A question seated. And a proud
3 Shallow mitten for a two-fingered hand.
4 Three-cornered hut
on one stilt. Sometimes built
so the roof gapes.Read the poem in its entirety.
And I've never seen the sky the same way since reading this poem.
The Blue Between
by Kristine O'Connell George
Everyone watches clouds,
naming creatures they've seen.
I see the sky differently,
I see the blue between—
Read the poem in its entirety.
See what I mean about seeing the world through a different lens? In the hands of a skilled poet, poetry can astound. And therein lies another connection to science. When kids embrace science (play, discover, and do, NOT memorize), it too has the power to amaze.