Defamiliarize the Familiar: Engage and Explore

Defamiliarize the Familiar: Engage and Explore

Learn how to ignite a true sense of wonder in your students, as they ask questions and seek answers about familiar things in the world they live in by observing them in new ways.


4 - 12


Biology, Storytelling, Experiential Learning, Photography

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Proudly supported by
The Burroughs Wellcome Fund

This is part 1 of 3 in the Defamiliarize the Familiar Learning Package. Explore more WonderLab Learning Resources.

A true sense of wonder drives National Geographic Explorers as they ask questions and seek answers about their world. Often, this wonder starts with questions that surface when they take something familiar and start to observe it in new ways. National Geographic Explorer Anand Varma, likes to think about finding “the right balance between presenting something that's familiar along with something that's mysterious.” Through his work with cuttlefish, he has created both the physical and the intellectual space to observe familiar behaviors, like mating and eating, in new and awe-inspiring ways.

Watch the video, I Wonder: Defamiliarize the Familiar, and pay attention to how Anand and his team display the attitudes, skills, and knowledge of the Explorer Mindset to see cuttlefish behavior in new ways. Use the following prompts to reflect on the video:

  • What are some cuttlefish behaviors Anand and his team are curious about? How might these curiosities lead Anand and his team to learn something more about cuttlefish behaviors in their natural environments?
  • How do Anand and his team use various tools and resources in the WonderLab to problem-solve new ways to explore cuttlefish behaviors?
  • What are different ways you see Anand collaborate with his team members to explore their questions?
  • How do Anand and his team members communicate with each other to share what excites them about what they notice or what they continue to wonder about?

Conijn, J., Rietdijk, W., Broekhof, E., Andre, L., & Schinkel, A. (2021). A theoretical framework and questionnaire for wonder-full education. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 54(3), 423-444.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Elizabeth Wolzak, Director, Learning Innovation, Edu Lab, National Geographic
Heather J. Johnson, Vanderbilt University
Sheron Fraser-Burgess, Education Consultant, Global Inclusive Learning Design Reviewer
Bayan Atari, National Geographic Society
Bayan Atari, National Geographic Society
Graphic Design
Patrick Cavanagh, National Geographic Society
Rights Clearance
Jean Cantu, National Geographic Society
Last Updated

April 24, 2024

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