Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Sibéal. Sibéal Wonders, “How do imaginations form?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Sibéal!

Do you ever daydream? Be honest! It happens to all of us. One minute, you’re in math class. You’re learning about division or negative numbers. The next thing you know, you’re imagining yourself off on an adventure

Maybe you’re hiking through the desert. Perhaps you’re off into outer space. You might even be in your own yard! Your mind has carried you away from your math lesson. How does that happen? Where does imagination come from?

Maybe you’ve heard people call themselves “right-brained” or “left-brained.” Did you WONDER how they could only use one half of their brain? They’re actually referring to an idea that people used to have about how the brain works. People once believed that all creative thought, including imagination, happened on the right side of the brain. On the other hand, logical thought happened on the left side.

Today, we know that’s not quite true. Scientists have found that most thinking uses more than one part of the brain. For example, experts at Vanderbilt University studied the brain to learn about imagination. Using an MRI machine, they took pictures of people’s brains as they imagined different shapes and images.

Are you WONDERing what they found? It turns out that imagination exercises many parts of the brain. This includes areas responsible for vision, emotion, and senses. It also used areas that control reasoning, speech, nerve impulses, and more. The brain used all of these functions to make imagination happen. Isn’t that interesting? Every time you drift off into a daydream, you’re using all those parts of your brain.

But where does the imagination actually come from? Experts say that real life events help form imagination. In fact, human brains often use information stored in memories to come up with the things people imagine. If you’ve been WONDERing with us for a while, you know how memories are stored. When a person is drifting off into a daydream, brains use those memories to help power the imagination. 

Imagination is a very useful tool. People with strong imaginations come up with ideas others might not think of. They create the world’s greatest inventions. They make powerful art. Some of them write books that impact others. Would you like to have a stronger imagination? The trick is to experience more things in real life. That helps your brain store more memories to draw from when you imagine. 

For example, reading is a great way to strengthen your imagination. When you read, your brain stores new information from stories and books. Your imagination can use that information to form a new idea or solve a problem. 

Of course, real-life adventures also help! Pay a visit to the local aquarium or zoo. Explore a garden or local park. Your imagination will thank you for it!

Standards: NGSS.LS1.D, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrow's Wonder of the Day turns the beach into an art studio!