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Into the wild

Into the wild book cover
  • Author: Robert Vescio | Illustrator: Mel Armstrong | Age: 3+

Want to spark children’s curiosity in discovering STEM in their everyday lives? Most books can be a great starting point for exploring children’s questions and ideas about the world around them further.

Book summary

A young boy explores his surroundings, going on an adventure from his backyard to the beach and a forest. He’s fascinated by his discoveries of different plants and animals, and driven by an endless curiosity to find more. On one of his adventure walks, the boy makes an unexpected discovery: a bright red scarf peeks out behind a tree together with footprints on the ground. Who might they belong to? Following the red scarf and footprints he discovers a new friend! The picture book Into the Wild highlights the core principles of inquiry-based learning in a simple yet vivid way.

Spark STEM explorations

  • Ask children in your service: If they could choose a place to explore from the book, where would that be? The bush, the garden, the city, or the beach?
  • Invite the children to observe if how the colours of the beach are different to the colours of the bush. What colours would they normally observe at the beach? How might this change at night?
  • Invite the children to use their senses and imagination: What shapes can the children spot in the garden? What might the beach smell like? What sounds can they hear in the city?
  • You could take the children on a walk to a park but instead of walking, encourage the children to hop like a frog. Does the park feel any different? Does the park feel bigger or smaller or the same?

As you can see, a simple activity like reading a book can lead to countless STEM explorations, which could spark an inquiry-based STEM project led by the children in your service.

What is an inquiry-based STEM project?

An inquiry-based STEM project is designed with a specific objective of finding something out e.g. “Can wattle seeds grow in space?”. This is very different to an open-ended activity like “Exploring gravity.” A project should build upon the interests of children and stem from their questions and observations. It should engage with a topic over several weeks or months so that children can explore hypotheses with ample time for discovery and reflection. You can read more about inquiry-based projects here. We also recommend this summary of an excellent inquiry-project called “Can We Save Humpty Dumpty?” by Glasshouse Early Education Centre in QLD.

Developing an inquiry-based STEM project is a key component of:

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