"The Curiosity Project”: Re-igniting the Desire to Inquire and Transformation Through Intrinsically-Motivated Learning and Mentorship


  • Stacey L MacKinnon University of Prince Edward Island


curiosity, inquiry, project-based learning, intrinsic motivation, transformation


"The Curiosity Project" encourages students to engage in intrinsically-motivated, inquiry-based project learning, investigating topics that interest them and following them down long and often winding roads, where u-turns, hidden side roads, and venturing off the map are a cause for excitement not a distraction from the destination. These inquiry-based, semester-long, student-led projects incorporate proximal goals of weekly learning logs and peer group meetings and in-depth feedback from peers and senior student facilitators. There are no page/word limits or minimum/maximum number of resources, just students' burgeoning sense of what constitutes "high-quality work".  Community-oriented projects round out this experience. In this paper, I outline the structure of "The Curiosity Project", its theoretical underpinnings, and present both quantitative and qualitative data that suggest that not only are the project's basic goals being met but that there are unexpected, but theoretically supported, transformational properties stemming from student engagement in this project.

Author Biography

Stacey L MacKinnon, University of Prince Edward Island

I am an Associate Professor of Social Psychology, Graduate Faculty Member in the Faculty of Education and Co-ordinator of the UPEI First-year Inquiry Studies Program.


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