Curiosity - Intermediate High

Positive Psychology Learning Outcomes: Students will learn what curiosity is and share topics they are curious about, and they will understand that people are curious about different subjects and respect those differences. Language Learning Outcomes: Students will connect content to background knowledge, identify a speaker’s point of view and understand main ideas, and talk about topics familiar to them and ask questions about topics they may not be familiar with.

Lesson Information

Positive Psychology Learning Outcomes

Students will...

  1. learn what curiosity is and share topics they are curious about.
  2. understand that people are curious about different subjects and respect those differences.

Language Learning Outcomes

Students will...

  1. connect content to background knowledge.
  2. identify a speaker’s point of view and understand main ideas.
  3. talk about topics familiar to them and ask questions about topics they may not be familiar with.

Materials Needed


Explain to the students that they will be able to understand what curiosity is as well as what they are curious about. The goal is for them to also understand and respect that different people are curious about different things.

Activate Background Knowledge

"Curiosity is defined as taking an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake; finding subjects and topics fascinating."

Retrieved from:  

  • Read or have a student read the following quote by Richard Feynman, an American physics researcher.
    • “It has to do with curiosity. It has to do with people wondering what makes something do something. And then to discover, if you try to get answers, that they are related to each other – that things that make the wind make the waves, that the motion of water is like the motion of air is like the motion of sand. The fact that things have common features...What we are looking for is how everything works. What makes everything work.”  --Richard Feynman

  • Go over the definition of curiosity again. Why is it good to be curious when you are studying science? 
  • Discuss: What other things can we be curious about?

Activity 1: Listening/Speaking

Explain that people shouldn’t ask if they are curious, but rather what they are curious about. 

  • People are curious about different things, but everyone is curious about something. Some are curious about nature, some about cars, about math, about fantasy, or any number of things.
  • Share the following quote: “Alter your course often.”
  • Have students make suggestions as to what the quote could mean. Then explain that it means to go and try new things, maybe you will find you like it. Maybe you will not like it and you won’t have to go back and do that again. 
  • Next, they will have the opportunity to learn something new about a classmate and also share something about themselves.
  • Have the students think about something they’re curious about. If they have phones, invite them to find a picture of the topic they’re thinking of. After giving them time to think and find a picture, have them talk to a partner and share the thing they are curious about and their pictures.
  • Talk together as a class, have students answer the following questions:
    • What did your partner share about?
    • Were you also interested in what your partner shared? 
      • Explain that it’s okay if they weren’t, because everyone is curious about different things
    • If your partner shared a topic that you were not interested in, did hearing them talk about it change your opinion at all?
      • Explain again that it’s okay if they don’t love it still, but sometimes hearing someone talk about something that you didn’t pay attention to before will let you see that people care about it, even if you don’t.

Activity 2: Listening/Speaking

Explain that sometimes you become curious about something as you pay more attention to it. There are also two different types of curiosity: passive and active.

  • Passive curiosity is where you are only curious when something new pops up in your environment and active curiosity is where you actively explore your environment. This activity involves active curiosity.
  • Have students take paper and a pen or pencil and walk around the classroom or area. For a few minutes, have them look closely at the surroundings, noticing textures, artwork, or other structures they haven’t paid attention to before. Have students write down the things they notice.
  • Once students are sitting back down, have them pair off and share some things they noticed as they walked around. Ask for some students to share with the entire class.
    • Why did you notice more about your environment today than other days you have come to class?

Activity 3: Speaking/Listening 

Have students get in groups of 2-4 for a role playing activity where students will learn the difference between uninterest, curiosity, and nosiness. 

  • Explain that nosiness is being too curious, or asking questions that make people uncomfortable. It’s important to understand that different people have different opinions on what is nosy and what isn’t, so sometimes questions that you think are okay other people consider nosy. 
  • Have one student read the statement card, and have the other students categorize the prompts into uninterested, curious, and nosy. If you don’t have printed prompts, read the statements and prompts out loud and have students discuss which category the prompts would fall into.
    • Card 1: “I just got a new dog!”
      • Prompt 1: “That’s nice. Are you going to be in class tomorrow?”
      • Prompt 2: “Wow, that’s cool. What kind of dog is it?”
      • Prompt 3: “Who did you get your dog from and how much exactly did it cost?
    • Card 2: “I hurt my ankle this week so I will not be coming to soccer practice.”
      • Prompt 1: “That’s too bad. Talk to you later!”
      • Prompt 2: “Oh, ouch! Do you have to use crutches?”
      • Prompt 3: “I bet it cost you a lot to go to the doctor. Do you have other health problems?”
    • Card 3: “I think I ripped my pants while I was giving my presentation!”
      • Prompt 1: “ Oh well, better luck next time.”
      • Prompt 2: “Oh, no! What did you do then?”
      • Prompt 3: “Did the whole class see your underwear? What color is it?”
  • If there is more time, have students think of more statements, along with responses that are uninterested, curious and nosy. 
  • Discuss  some topics that would be considered nosy to discuss with people who are not close friends and family.

Activity 4: Speaking/Listening

Watch the following video from this website: Curiosity | National Geographic Society

An explorer is “A person who travels in search of geographical or scientific information”.                

  • Is there anything in the natural world you are curious about?
    • Explain that you can be an explorer about things not in the natural world as well.
  • How can you be an explorer when you learn about what interests you?


Have students find a partner to do the two parts of the homework with. This can be a classmate, family member, or friend. 

  1. Try an activity a partner is curious about.
  2. Introduce a partner to do something you are curious about.

We will follow up in class on Thursday.



Share the following quotes:

“The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size.”

- Albert Einstein

  • What does this mean?
  • Einstein may have meant that curiosity about new ideas changes the way we think and gets us more interested in the world around us.

“Curiosity is the engine of achievement”
- Ken Robinson

  • How does curiosity drive you to accomplish your goals?


Share the following quote:

“Be curious, not judgemental”
- Walt Whitman

  • What does the phrase “to keep an open mind” mean? 
  • Have students think of something they have disliked previously--maybe a genre of music or a food. Have students spend a couple minutes writing down what they know about the thing they have chosen. For example, if they were writing about an avocado, they might write, “Avocados are green, with a pit and tough outer skin. They can be made into guacamole.” The purpose of this exercise is to think of the topic they have chosen without judging it. 

Follow up with original homework. Have the students share with a partner (not the same partner they did the homework with) the activity that they tried and what they thought about it, as well as the activity they introduced to someone else and how it felt to share something they are curious about. 

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