What Do You See? How to help any learner fall in love with scientific thinking

The Game

Some of the most effective and inspiring leaders and organizations in the world approach their craft with a sense of play. This is where the word “gamification” stems from. When an authentic sense of play is part of any learning environment, any age learner will be more engaged. It’s human nature. So, how can we as teachers and parents create a sense of play related to improving how our next generation thinks? By creating as many game-based approaches to learning as possible. This does not mean that the learning cannot simultaneously be profound. If we could ask Albert Einstein, he might remind us that “Play is the highest form of research.”

Here’s one game-based approach to creating a desire to think scientifically, that is to say with a sense of inquiry, layered questions and prediction.


Step 1

Observe something new

Example: A wagon

Step 2

Why did you notice it?

Example: I noticed it because it had wheels and could move a lot of material all at once.

Step 3

What does this new thing do?

Example: It transports people and products.

What is it about?

Example: It’s about saving time and labor.

Step 4

How does this thing work?  

Example: You need horses to pull it.

How could it work differently?

Example: You could build an engine so no horses would be needed and you could automate it so that you wouldn’t have to be there when it’s doing work.

Step 5

Are there other things similar to what you observed?

Example: Yes, row boats.

Step 6

What could you create that would be similar, yet more effective?

Example: I could create boats with engines. I could automate anything and that would save time.

This example outlines the line of thinking that not only scientists use, but also artists, entrepreneurs and in general inventors. This kind of thinking does not have to relate to only logical step-by-step processes.  The step-by-step process can be modified and used to examine anything, including how we parent, how we cook and how we lead organizations. The main point is not stopping when we think we see all of something. There is always more to see and create.

What will our world look like when our next generation thinks like this by default. How about we find out?

Luke Hewlett