Chris Reid

Thesis Title:

Learning Science: What’s Curiosity Got To Do With It?


While there is more demand than ever for scientists and engineers, few school students aspire to those careers, instead seeing school science as too ‘brainy’ or ‘for other people’. Teachers are often encouraged to present science as a body of knowledge to learn rather than a way of exploring the world. Those students who do well are those who are best at accumulating the facts.

What if there was another way to learn science? What if schools emphasised a hunger to find out something new, a desire to explore?

My research sets out to look at the role that curiosity plays in learning science. How can we measure curiosity? Does it change over time? What makes students curious about science? Does it help students to do well in science at school? These are the questions I want to answer.

My study will take place in a secondary school in England, and will use a combination of questionnaire data and interviews to find out if being curious helps students to make progress in science over the course of a year. I’ll find out if their scores on the questionnaire change over time, and I will interview them to find out what happens in lessons to make them curious.

If we can discover what makes students curious, we can start to change the way we present science to young people.

First Supervisor:

Melissa Glackin


Pathway 6: Education, Mind & Society