Why does curiosity matter?

Curiosity is about having an open and active mind. It’s about exploration. Not surprisingly, one of NASA’s Mars rovers is named for this strength. Curiosity puts the brain in a state that makes learning easier, more enjoyable, and longer-lasting.

What does curiosity look like?

Students with curiosity might

  • ask questions to deepen understanding
  • eagerly anticipate a new book, movie, or episode in a series they love
  • google to learn more about things that interest them
  • watching videos to learn a new skill
  • discuss a topic for no other reason than that it’s interesting

Teachers with curiosity might

  • read community news in order to develop more connections between content and context
  • seek professional development for both content knowledge and teaching skills
  • read about a discipline broadly, not just the specifics of a single course

Teach curiosity in the classroom

Build Connections


Build Connections is a strategy for linking personal interests with school to increase motivation and effort.

Videos about curiosity

Resources about curiosity

Research articles about curiosity

Why teach thinking?—An essay
Applied Psychology: An International Review, 42(3), 191–237.
Baron, J. (1993). 

Making connections: Replicating and extending the utility value intervention in the classroom
Journal of Educational Psychology, 109(3), 387-404.
Hulleman, C. S., Kosovich, J. J., Barron, K. E., & Daniel, D. B. (2017).

States of Curiosity Modulate Hippocampus-Dependent Learning via the Dopaminergic Circuit
Neuron, 84(2), 486–496.
Gruber, M. J., Gelman, B. D., & Ranganath, C. (2014).