CoverIntroductionWellbeing and Its Importance in SchoolsWhat frameworks exist to promote school wellbeing?What is the best approach for my school/district?Valuable Tools and ConsiderationYour Call to ActionStudent Wellbeing InterventionsPositive Emotion Three Good ThingsCounting BlessingsEnvisioning Your Best Possible SelfUnderstanding HumorThree Funny ThingsOutdoor LearningBringing the Outside InBibliotherapyEngagementRecognizing and Utilizing Personal StrengthsARCS Model of CuriosityCarousel BrainstormingGenius HourPerspective Taking and Role-PlayArts IntegrationDrawing and Coloring TherapyCulturally-Enriching and Arts-Based Field TripsCulturally Responsive PracticesSocial Belonging InterventionEmotional Self-Regulation: RULER methodModeling Emotional Self-Regulation SkillsTeacher PraiseRelationshipsModeling Love, Kindness and ForgivenessActive Constructive RespondingDialogue JournalsSecret Strengths SpottingPeer Praise NotesActs of KindnessVolunteeringFast FriendsBuddy BenchMeaningEducating Students about Benefit AppraisalsGratitude LettersSavoring StrategiesTaking in the Good (HEAL)Mental Time TravelBrief Mindfulness ActivitiesMindful BellMindful BreathingBody Scan RelaxationMindful Walking/MovementFive Senses MindfulnessMindful PhotographyMindful Self-CompassionAccomplishmentFuture Thinking & When/Where PlansHope MapG-POWER Goal SettingEmbedded Self-Regulation StrategiesGrowth MindsetGrit and Deliberate PracticeDeveloping Students' Resilience and Coping SkillsHealth and VitalityHealthy Sleep HabitsClassroom Physical ActivityYogaCreative Playground EquipmentHealthy Body Image InterventionStudent-Led Health ProgramSchool-Led Interventions for Teachers and StaffSupporting Teacher AutonomyMindfulness TrainingCompassion TrainingHumor TrainingIncentivizing Physical ExerciseIndividual Interventions for School EmployeesPositive and Reflective JournalingSelf-Regulation and Coping StrategiesSelf-AffirmationSelf Compassion LetterDiscovering and Utilizing Character StrengthsJob CraftingMindfulnessAdditional Interventions to ConsiderDedicated Wellbeing SpacesIndividual Wellbeing Plans for School EmployeesOther ResourcesPROSPER
Addressing Wellbeing In Schools

ARCS Model of Curiosity

Keywords: Elementary Education, High school, Middle School

Our understanding of curiosity has developed over time. In the 1980s, curiosity was understood as the optimal zone of interest, between boredom and anxiety. Curiosity is multifaceted and influenced by an individual’s predispositions and what arouses their interest(stimuli). The ARCS model of curiosity defines curiosity as a product of attention, relevance, confidence,and satisfaction. Each factor is a prerequisite for the others. For example, without sustained attention, students won’t be able to understand the relevance of a subject to their lives. We can increase attention by introducing the subject and presenting the material in an engaging way. We can increase relevance by giving students choice, helping them understand how this knowledge is applicable in their lives, or by “introducing a curiosity-arousing situation which has at least some familiarity to the learner (that is, the learner already has some knowledge about it)” (Arnone & Small, 1995, p. 9). We can increase students’ confidence that they can answer their questions or resolve the cognitive conflict by selecting appropriate challenges and building positive expectations. Finally, we can increase students’ satisfaction by helping them recognize the feelings of accomplishment and pleasure that come from learning new things. Arnone & Small (1995) provide additional recommendations for fostering each factor of curiosity beyond what has been summarized here (p. 13-14).

The ARCS curiosity model has also been used to improve student motivation. Hattie and Zierer (2018) argue that it is the role of the teacher “to set the tone in the class and to motivate students, not vice versa” and that this can be accomplished using strategies from the ARCS model (p.50). They provide strategies for generating motivation in each of the four categories: Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction. These strategies are illustrated in the table below.

This image is a table, with Attention, Relevance, Confidence and Satisfaction (ARCS) across the top. Under each category there are three principles that support each one,. Attention includes perceptual and inquiry arousal and variability. Relevance includes goal orientation, motive matching and familiarity. Confidence includes learning requirements, successful opportunities and personal responsibility. Satisfaction includes intrinsic and extrinsic reinforcement and equity.

Source: Keller (2010)

Does it work?

Feng and Tuan (2005) assessed the effectiveness of integrating the ARCS model into chemistry lessons on high school students’ motivation and engagement in the lessons. Fifty-one 11th grade students participated, half being assigned to the lessons using the ARCS model and the other half to a control group with traditional lecture-style lessons. Students in the ARCS model classroom reported higher levels of learning motivation following the intervention, as measured through a greater sense of self-efficacy and confidence, more frequent use of active learning strategies, and a deeper understanding of the value of science learning. Additionally, students reported an improved ability to pay attention and be engaged for the duration of the class period (Feng & Tuan, 2005). A meta-analysis of 38 controlled experiment studies of ARCs model use in classroom instruction, with a total effect size of over 8000 students from grades K-12 and higher education, also found that the ARCS model has a positive effect on both student motivation and academic achievement (Gosku & Islam Bolat, 2021).


Arnone, M. P. & Small, R. V. (1995). Arousing and sustaining curiosity: Lessons from the ARCS model. Proceedings of the 1995 Annual National Convention of the Association for Educational Communication and Technology.

Feng, S.L., Tuan, H.L.(2005). Using ARCS model to promote 11th graders' motivation and achievement in learning about acids and bases. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 3, 463–484.

Goksu, I., & Islam Bolat, Y. (2021). Does the ARCS motivational model affect students’ achievement and motivation? A meta‐analysis. Review of Education, 9(1), 27-52.

Keller, J. (2010). Motivational design for learning and performance: The ARCS model approach. London: Springer.

Hattie, J. & Zierer, K. (2018). 10 mindframes for visible learning: Teaching for success. New York: Routledge.


CC BY-NC: This work is released under a CC BY-NC license, which means that you are free to do with it as you please as long as you (1) properly attribute it and (2) do not use it for commercial gain.

End-of-Chapter Survey

: How would you rate the overall quality of this chapter?
  1. Very Low Quality
  2. Low Quality
  3. Moderate Quality
  4. High Quality
  5. Very High Quality
Comments will be automatically submitted when you navigate away from the page.
Like this? Endorse it!