The Magic of Not Knowing the Answer

Not knowing the answer can lead to making discoveries together. 

Why can’t dogs fly? Do flowers eat? How do mountains grow? 

Little children have big questions about the world… and they’re not afraid to ask them! As a parent or educator, this may feel overwhelming or even scary. What if children ask a question you don’t know the answer to?  

Here’s the good news: you don’t have to know the answer. In science, one of the best things you can do is find out the answers by exploring together.  

The next time kids ask a question you don’t know the answer to, try to:   

  1. Confess!

Let kids in on the fact that you don’t have the answer. You can respond with, “I don’t know—let’s find out together!” Then, look up information online or at the library. 

  1. Plan

Make a plan for finding out the answer. Give kids a chance to come up with the plan by asking, “What can we do to answer our question?” Perhaps it involves asking someone else.

  1. Investigate

Once you’ve come up with a plan, try it out, modeling how to be a great scientist: 

  • Make observations 
  • Explore with all of your senses 
  • Talk about what you notice 
  • Write down your findings 
  • Have fun!