2017 Curiosity and Learning Conference

2017 Resources and Handouts

Please visit our Resources and Handouts web page to view or download the handouts/resources related to Exploration Stations at Wheelock College's 2017 Curiosity and Learning Conference.

See social media postings from the 2017 conference.


Email Us to contact the conference organizers:

Stephanie Cox Suarez
Doc Studio

Mary Avery
Aspire Institute

Inspired by the Hawkins Centers of Learning

Wheelock College's third annual Curiosity and Learning Conference brought more than 130 educators from all over New England, as well as New York, Chicago, and Denver, to the Wheelock campus on October 28, 2017, for a high-energy day of hands-on learning. At the 20 hands-on activity stations, attendees experimented with provocations and recycled materials and informally engaged with Wheelock faculty from science, math, art, and education as well as colleagues from area museums and education groups.

See videos, photos, and more posted to social media from the 2017 conference!

Painting with your whole body at the Curiosity Conference

Wheelock's annual Curiosity and Learning conference offers enriching professional development to educators from schools at all age levels, museums, and family child care providers. It provides an opportunity to practice many ways to nurture curiosity and wonder in ourselves and our students. The inaugural conference in 2015 was an outgrowth of "Cultivate the Scientist in Every Child: The Philosophy of Frances and David Hawkins," an exhibit created by the Hawkins Centers of Learning to spread ideas related to the Hawkins' philosophy.

New for 2017

Curiosity Station Scholarship Winners!

Two teaching teams were selected to create innovative stations.

Natural Explorations imageNatural Explorations
with Lizzy Schlichting and Cynthia Evans
Preschool teachers from the Peabody Terrace Children's Center

Create patterns and textures of art using natural materials inspired by Andy Goldsworthy's style of creative masterpiece.

Making Robots ImageRobot Making
with Ann Scalley and Emily Cooperman
Preschool teachers from the Lesley Ellis School

Their 3 year olds created moving robots with recycled materials. You can create one too.


2017 Conference Agenda

October 28, 2017

8:30 - 9:00 a.m. Check-in and coffee - Wheelock Family Theatre foyer
9:00- 9:30 a.m.
Welcome to Wheelock, Wheelock College Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Mary Churchill
Advocating for Play - More Important than Ever!, Wheelock College Professor of Early Childhood Education Dr. Diane Levin

9:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Explore Stations guided by your curiosity. Station details provided below.
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Brunch and Lunch available (any 30 minutes). 2nd floor Wheelock Campus Center ($10.30 buffet) or BYO.
2:00 - 2:30 p.m. Gather at two locations to reflect on the day: Campus Center or Earl Center.
Submit Passports to receive CEUs (certificate emailed); thank you for completing the online evaluation, we need your input!

2017 Station Details

Visit the Resources and Handouts web page for supporting materials from various stations



1 Games for Creativity and Discovery
WFT Foyer (9:30am-noon)
Come play physical games to de-mechanize and de-routinize your thinking, bring out your creativity for you and your students.
Ellie Friedland, Early Childhood Wheelock Faculty
2 Beautiful Stuff
Earl Center
Create treasure boxes with recycled materials.
Marina Seevak, Director, Beautiful Stuff Project, Somerville
3 Play in School! What we can learn from Play Dough
Earl Center
What can quality play dough play teach us about how play promotes learning? What challenges does quality play (dough play) face in schools today and what can we do about it?
Diane Levin, Early Childhood Wheelock Faculty
4 Boston Makers
Earl Center
This is one of five maker-spaces all exploring electrical circuits, temperature, robots, and magnets in ways that are accessible to all learners.
Joe Negri and Dominic Burdick, Boston Makers
5 Mbadika
Earl Center
This is one of five maker-spaces all exploring electrical circuits, temperature, robots, and magnets in ways that are accessible to all learners.
Netia McCray, Allessandra Brown, Jameson Francois, Andres Mendez Perez, Roxbury Innovation Center
6 Boston Public Schools Tech Team
Earl Center
This is one of five maker-spaces all exploring electrical circuits, temperature, robots, and magnets in ways that are accessible to all learners.
Rhianon Gutierrez, Rashmi Primpikar, Boston Public Schools Tech Team
7 Earl Center Maker Space
Earl Center
This is one of five maker-spaces all exploring electrical circuits, temperature, robots, and magnets in ways that are accessible to all learners.
Mare Parker-O'Toole, Earle Center Director, Dunia Dunner, Phill Fernandes, Nicole T. Cunha, Earl Center Staff
8 Robot Making
Earl Center
Explore robots and circuitry with two preschool teachers who built robots with their 3 year olds!
Curiosity Station Scholarship winners:
Ann Scalley & Emily Cooperman, Lesley Ellis School
9 Ready Robots: Programming with Preschoolers
Earl Center
Play games with robots using an iPad app.
Carie Cardamone, Wheelock Science Faculty
10 Print-Making
Earl Center
Play and experience a rolling print-making device!
Diane DeStefano, Robin Meisner, Boston Children's Museum
11 Weaving Large and Small
Outside Tent, Earl Center
Weaving with a variety of textures including natural materials in a large community weave and individual frames.
Erica Licea-Kane, Wheelock Arts Faculty
12 Building: Forces and Motion
Classroom 104/106 and Hallway
Explore the science and engineering of building things. How can we build? With what can we build? Investigate motion by making ramps and rolling balls. How long can we keep a ball rolling? How can we make a ball do a loop-de-loop?
Karen Worth, Wheelock Science Education Faculty
13 Intuitive Engineering
Classroom 104/106
Explore with artist Greg Gomez the strength of materials and just how much weight they can bear.
Greg Gomez, Wheelock Art Faculty
14 Screens as Art
Classroom 104/106
Inspired by the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum's current exhibition, Screens: Virtual Material, explore implications of screens as inspiration for art - from weaving window screens to assembling collages from the innards of electronic screens to designing Op Art based on television test patterns.
Julie Bernson, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
15 Joint Literacy w/Immigrant Families
Campus Center
Join faculty from special education and English Language Learning (ELL) to explore ways to engage ELL families and their children.
Susan Redditt and Jenny Jacobs, Wheelock Faculty
16 Exploring Poetry
Campus Center
Create a poem of your own from an existing text using erasure and other text manipulation techniques.
Jenne Powers, Wheelock Humanities Faculty
17 Books and Books
Campus Center (Conference Room)
Sara Levine is a scientist, educator, and children's book author and will share her books as well as others she recommends to inspire curiosity in science.
Sara Levine, Wheelock Science Faculty
18 Explore the Garden
Campus Center
Explore growing plants and gardens in your classroom and school.
Jane Hirschi, Robyn Burns, Allie Rowe, Raji Harikrishnan, Alessandra Sangurima, City Sprouts
19 Messing About ...
Campus Center (Wolf Room)
Investigate pumpkins and leaves with educators from the Hawkins Learning Group.
Ronit BenShir, Harriet Garskovas, and Laura Friedman, Hawkins Learning Educators
20 Natural Explorations
Campus Center (Wolf Room)
Explore a series of provocations using natural materials to extend various curricular threads, inspired by a preschool-age group's interest in birds, weather, and plants. Come create a nest that can withstand winds, observe closely and draw from a still life, and create transient art in the style of Andy Goldsworthy.
Curiosity Station Scholarship winners:
Lizzy Schlichting & Cynthia Evans, Peabody Terrace Children's Center
21 Nests, Beaks and Tweets: All About Birds
Campus Center (Wolf Room)
Join educators from three different Mass Audubon Nature Preschools to explore birds.
Karen First (Ipswich River Nature Preschool), Rina Zampieron (Drumlin Farm), Hilary Johansen-Silve (Boston Nature Center)
22 Evolution
Earl Center, Classroom 104/106 and Campus center
Participate in the development of community art, located in three different locations.
Laura Friedman, Hawkins Learning Group Educator
23 Sit and Reflect
Campus Center (11am-2pm)
What connections are you making? Sit and talk with others, including Wheelock education students who would like to hear what you are thinking.
Teach, Learn, Create Wheelock Student Club and Early Childhood Graduate Students
24 Bay State Learning Center
Earl Center
This is one of five maker-space teams all exploring electrical circuits, temperature, robots, and magnets in ways that are accessible to all learners.
Paul Barner, Jack Kallas, Bay State Learning Center

Testimonial from Conference Participant

"The enthusiasm, spontaneity, focused involvement, questioning, frustration, and reward of the learning that I watched this weekend so strongly related to what I see in very young children. Learning happens so easily when interest of the learner, supported by an equally interested mentor, is embedded in the educational system, whether that system is formal or informal. This has always been clear to me. What else is apparent is that we really don't all have to learn the same thing—we are different in our interests because society NEEDS diverse expertise to function smoothly."

- Laura Friedman, educator and curiosity station guide

See more comments from 2016 conference participants

Previous Conferences

Visit the archived web pages from our prior conferences to see agendas, descriptions of the panels, as well as supporting educational materials.

See video highlights from the 2016 conference

See video highlights from the 2015 conference

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