While ensuring mastery of basics, providing quality lessons, encouraging creativity and critical thinking, with time available, here are some thoughts and questions to bring out the kid in your students. Of course, a little curiosity, research, and discussion might bring the topics out. Some of the best teachers I have known, and/or worked with, were always inquisitive and learning.
When you jump up, what brings you back to Earth? Gravity? Okay, and the moon, which is 250,000 miles away, 30 planet Earths, and very heavy, what keeps it going around the Earth, especially when a tiny rocket, free floating, doesn’t get pulled back?
Look at an atom. It has protons and neutrons in the center. Little electrons orbit the nucleus, forever. What makes the electrons go around and around, never stopping?
Why is everything in the universe in orbit, rotating, or revolving?
We see water on the ground. We see clouds, which are molecules that went back up from the planet. But we have gravity. Why do those molecules rise when gravity pulls things down?
Except for human beings, just about every land animal runs around on all four. Why four? Why not three or five?
Watch a colony of ants. We see some ants, alone and searching. We see others remaining with the main colony, doing this and that. How do ants know what to do?
What do you want to do when you grow up? If you don’t know, write a list of things you like, hobbies you take part in, and things you would like to try. Then, make a list of jobs and careers and see if you can match your interests with careers/jobs. Then research the ones you like.
I’ve also had students create cities, island communities, write their own plays (acting them out), and other ideas that teachers created. Sometimes, from these, the students will create more ideas.
Curiosity spurs ideas and research.