How I Wonder ... Through Different Viewpoints

How I Wonder ... Through Different Viewpoints

This tool invites students to slow down and make thoughtful observations as they examine and contemplate one object using multiple viewpoints.


4 - 12+


Biology, Storytelling, Experiential Learning, Photography

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The Burroughs Wellcome Fund

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This is a general tool that uses the learning strategy of encouraging contemplation to encourage learners to slow down and see one thing using multiple points of view. By doing this, learners become aware of details that they might not have seen at first glance, and can pay attention to the object and the interactions between that object and its surroundings. This slow observation also helps learners develop empathy as they consider the many connections to one thing, and how different viewpoints influence what they notice and wonder.

Why Use This Tool

This is a general tool to encourage learners to see and contemplate one thing using multiple points of view. It helps learners develop empathy as they consider all the connections to one thing, and how different viewpoints influence what they notice and wonder.

When to Use This Tool

This tool is particularly useful when a complex decision needs to be made. Use this tool BEFORE learning, to generate questions from multiple viewpoints that might be influenced by the decision. This will help learners see the complexity of the decision and help them identify interconnections.

  • Time: 20-30 minutes
  • Audience: ages 10 and up
  • Ease of Use: simple

This tool provides a way for learners to study one thing using different viewpoints.


  1. Select an object to explore. Identify something in the world that your learners can use their senses to examine. It should be something easy to see, touch, walk around or hold, so they can view it in many different ways.

  2. Examine the list of viewpoints. For some things, some of the viewpoints might be harder to imagine for learners. If it is helpful, you can be more specific and name the viewpoint.


  1. Introduce the object to your learners. Either take them to the object or have the object accessible for them to explore in your learning space.

  2. Brainstorm a list of different viewpoints that might interact with the object in the world.

  3. Distribute the ‘How I wonder… through different viewpoints’ learning tool with learners. Have learners review the different viewpoints on the tool (or write in on their own).

  4. Encourage learners to complete the tool adding noticings and wonderings from each viewpoint. You can do the first one together using their own viewpoint to provide an example of what noticings and wonderings might look like. A good sentence starter might be, “I am noticing… object… from the viewpoint of… the viewpoint you selected.”

  5. Have learners discuss their wonders in small groups of 2-4. Have them identify commonalities and trends from their sharing, as well as questions they find most intriguing. The discussion of different viewpoints encourages learners to process diverse thoughts and ideas.

Modifications, Variations, and Extensions

  1. For young learners, you might want to limit the number of viewpoints to two or three. The historical viewpoints might be harder for them to do so you might choose to eliminate those.

  2. For young learners or multilingual learners, allow them to draw pictures for their noticings and wonderings.

  3. Challenge learners to consider representing the interconnections of the different viewpoints. Pose a scenario around the object where learners need to consider the impact from different viewpoints.

  4. Invite learners to research or investigate questions they developed from different viewpoints.


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
Stephanie Hamilton, Education Consultant, Global Inclusive Learning Design Reviewer
Margot Willis, National Geographic Society
Kate Gallery, National Geographic Society
Graphic Design
Patrick Cavanagh, National Geographic Society
Rights Clearance
Jean Cantu, National Geographic Society
Last Updated

April 29, 2024

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