What are provocations?

A provocation can come in many different forms, but it is always intended to provoke thoughts, ideas, and actions that can help to expand on a thought, project, idea or an interest.

At the start of an Inquiry Learning unit of work, the provocation sparks curiosity and interest from students. This could be through a photo, picture, or a book, or even through questions or an event that encourages a child to make an action.

Provocations open doorways for developing creativity, critical thinking, and meaningful questioning habits.

When we create provocations for learners, we “provoke” and inspire the beginning of exploration.

  • An interesting photo, picture or book,
  • Nature (e.g. specimens)
  • Conceptual (e.g. changing seasons, light)
  • Old materials displayed in a new way
  • An interest that a child or children have
  • An object (e.g. magnets, maps)
  • Questions (from any source—i.e. What do you know about…?)
  • An event (e.g. a presentation, a holiday)
  • Maybe an observation of living creatures (ex: snail inquiry)
  • A sensory exploration (ex; painting activity, scented discovery basket, playdoh)
  • A discovery activity (ex: nature walk, field trip, neighborhood walk)
  • An exploration of new material (exrocks and minerals provocation, magnets)
  • Clothing (from different seasons)
  • A ‘crime scene’ (Detectives theme)
  • A written letter (real or made up)


Question: Who are we? (family photos, food, clothing, types of houses, world map)

Question: Who are our friends? (photos, gifts, smiley faces, videos)

Question: What makes our community special? (Local map, Neighborhood walk, visit to community helpers: Fire, Police, Hospital etc.,)

Question:  How do people in our community make a difference in our lives? (local map, neighborhood walk, construction of local area with boxes etc,, visit to classroom of nurse, dentist, store keeper, builder etc.,)

Question: How do we stay healthy? (fruit, food displays, photos of healthy activities, videos)

Question: How do we celebrate? (birthday hats, candles, Xmas items, CNY objects, videos of celebrations across the world, red envelopes, etc.,)

Question: How can we make our world a better place to live in? (bugs, plants, photos of pollution, endangered animal pics, videos of our world, sorting activity – farm, jungle, sea, desert animals toys, habitat photos, etc.,)



Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.


We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?


Create Account