7 Fun Ideas For Discovery Learning Activities

A constructivist-based educational strategy, discovery learning is an inquiry-based learning process. It is also known as 21st-century learning, experiential learning, and problem-based learning. With this approach, pupils actively engage in learning as opposed to passively absorbing information. They are exhorted to think, speculate, ask questions, form hypotheses, and work cooperatively with others. Students engage with their surroundings by investigating and experimenting with objects, debating issues and controversies, or doing experiments. 

Although the Discovery Learning Method may have a predetermined outcome, its emphasis is on the processes and the critical thinking required to get there. In order to successfully implement the Discovery Learning Method in the classroom, a teacher must not only be adaptable but also well-prepared, organized, and aware of the educational value of what is learned in class.

However, it can get really challenging as certain activities and tasks might not fulfill the purpose. Hence, Given below are some discovery learning activities ideas that exactly tap the learning environment with much-needed curiosity and student engagement. Each activity is designed to serve the purpose in an innovative way.

Easy activities that emphasize learning through discovery

Classroom activities play a great role in teaching through discovery. Activities help create a fun learning environment combined with curiosity, active learning, and focus-building skills. 

1. The Situation Saga

The Situation Saga

Situational-based problems often offer a diversified learning environment to students. As students think differently in different situations, they are more likely to collaborate thoughts for a positive outcome. 

  • To conduct this activity, prepare different situations for students
  • The situation can be related to classroom etiquette, general knowledge, life-saving moments, or any adventure-based situation 
  • Divide students into teams of 4 members each
  • Now, let each student pick one situation and think about the solution for 5 minutes 
  • After this, they need to convey the solution collaboratively to the entire class 

As students get an opportunity to think about a solution in a limited time, they are more likely to develop creative thinking skills. They also discover other people’s perspectives and opinions.

2. What’s the Problem?

What's the Problem?

Discovery learning is more about finding solutions to already existing problems however, this activity focuses on the otherwise. Students get an opportunity to make their minds work and first find the problem.

  • To conduct this activity, ask students to go around the school or campus area
  • Now, ask them to find potential problems in the entire area assigned
  • They need to note the problems in a systematic manner
  • Allow them to interact with other students on the campus
  • After this, discuss all the problems and then ask them to suggest solutions to it

Discovery learning can be successfully implemented when students learn to identify gaps in the smooth processing of any task. If students are able to identify the crux of the problem, they are more likely to develop logical thinking.

3. Go Solo!

Go Solo!

Research is an important part of learning any subject matter. When students learn the art of analyzing numbers, they are more like to understand real-world problems and solutions.

  • To conduct this activity, give students a task where they need to interact with people 
  • Here, you need to give them data-based tasks
  • These can be the following examples
    • Analyze the impact of impulsive buying in malls
    • Analyze the importance of spending weekends away from home
  • After they have got the topic, they need to prepare their own questionnaire and interact with 20 strangers to find data
  • Once done, they should discuss the findings with everyone

As the activity challenges students to step out of their comfort zone, they also get to learn a lot about people, their perspectives, and their way of life. Innovative research in an easy format encourages them to learn more about the external world.

4. Class Representative 

Class Representative 

The class representative is an important position for any student. Here, students get an opportunity to be the leader thereby also maintaining classroom etiquette 

  • To conduct this activity, ask students to present their stand for being the class representative 
  • Here, students need to practically convey why he/she is the perfect
  • They can use images, poems, or creative ways to acquire maximum votes from other students 

Students can also discover the real difficulty of leadership when they step into the shoes of the leader. A competitive environment helps them discover how the real world is filled with many leaders and that it takes courage to stand out of the crowd.

5. Be the Interviewer!

Be the Interviewer!

Interviews in the corporate world are really interesting. Most interviews include a combination of open-ended and direct questions thereby making it more interesting.

  • To conduct this activity, students need to play the role of an interview
  • Here, they need to interview 2 different humans and their work experience
  • Make sure they do not interview their parents or other teachers to keep it challenging 
  • Students need to prepare at least 8 questions for this activity 
  • They can interview their neighbors, security guards, school assistants, or their grandparents too

Here, the real discovery takes place when students learn how work-life and balance impact their entire life. They also learn to develop communication skills and empathy as they hear varied realistic stories.

6. Connect with Nature

Connect with Nature

Learning about nature and its different elements is crucial to understand its role in everyday life. Discovery learning is not limited to English but can also be applied to environmental studies and science.

  • To conduct this activity, ask students to go around the campus and collect different elements from nature
  • They need to collect elements based on their shape, size, color, or texture
  • Once done, ask them to show these elements to the class and talk about their discovery 
  • For example, they can talk about the difference in the texture of stones or the difference in colors of leaves and so on

As students go around to discover what lies in nature, they become more observant with their approach. Since they have to discuss these observations, they tend to think critically and develop focus-building.

7. What’s in the News?

What's in the News?

Students only know what is going on in the outside world when they have exposure to student-friendly news articles. Such newspapers help students develop curiosity and find solutions to active problems.

  • To conduct this activity, ask students to bring a student-friendly newspaper or magazine (whatever is easily available)
  • Now, ask them to read the newspaper and spot problems
  • After spotting, pick one problem and invite open discussion from students about the solution
  • Even if the problem is related to a science project in some other school, encourage students to share their views 

While real-world problems can be overwhelming for students, it is important to expose them to relatable problems only. As they can relate to the problem, they are more likely to be creative in finding solutions.

When to employ discovery learning or direct instruction?

The method of teaching known as “direct instruction” is frequently referred to as “traditional” since it reflects the usual classroom in which a professor directly explains theoretical concepts, gives examples, and evaluates student learning.

In an inquiry-based learning technique called discovery learning, students are encouraged to build their own knowledge through a self-directed learning process, which is effective “instructionless” learning.

  • Students have a more influential involvement in their learning outcomes as they progress through discovery learning because they are required to comprehend detailed facts and see how various elements of a business challenge related to one another in order to find the best solution. However, this aspect might be missing in direct instruction as it is more controlled and students do not get an opportunity to always reach the conclusion of a problem. 
  • Direct education is a fantastic technique to teach students to learn and recall core concepts if they have no prior understanding of a subject. In this case, discovery learning is not beneficial since students do need a theoretical and instructional approach before actually discovering the subject matter.
  • Challenges in the world always begin with an issue, and learning takes place during the journey of researching, examining, and discovering various solutions to that problem. But, direct instruction does not fulfill the purpose as it might not necessarily include problem-solving and managing the real world.

It seems to sense that the best teaching strategy would be a hybrid approach of discovery learning and direct instruction. Only when students are given an opportunity to understand instructions and also discover the real world can they actually develop critical thinking, brainstorming, and other valuable skills.

Wrapping up

The Discovery learning method requires effort, and teachers need to be mindful not to schedule activities in the classroom simply for the sake of scheduling them. Discovery learning encourages students to seek out solutions, emphasizes the process, and gives hands-on experience. Students are on task more frequently when the discovery learning method is employed because they are actively engaged in the learning process rather than being passive observers. 

However, it should be noted that direct instruction equally plays an important role in the teaching process. Depending on the learning environment and goal of teaching, direct instruction can be applied for the best outcomes. Whatever approach you use, these activities can always act as a good source of motivation to learn. Whether it is a scientific experiment or a math-based problem, the above-mentioned activities can be twisted for an innovative learning experience. 

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