Our Beliefs About Science Education & Young Children Early childhood teachers build on the sense of wonder present in all children. Young children learn about science through play. Doing science comes naturally for young children. The science processes that young children engage in are more important than learning science facts. As children engage in science experiences, adults observe childrens actions and listen to their conversations so that they can follow childrens leads.
The ABCs of Science in ECE Science processes occur in all parts of the classroom and outdoors, not just at the science table. Children are intrinsically motivated when they have materials to enjoy, have some control over their learning, and enjoy success when involved in science processes. Children and adults should feel free to engage in science processes, understanding that exploration is more important than right or wrong answers. A primary role of the Early Childhood Science Teacher is to provide an appropriate learning environment and opportunities for children to explore, represent, and share their discoveries. Children learn best when they have their own science materials to explore.
The ABCs of Science in ECE Trial and error, cause and effect are natural parts of the scientific learning experience. Science activities and materials need to be culturally relevant and part of a childs every day world. Every child, regardless of gender and ability, needs to have equal access to science experiences. Young children with disabilities are best served in classrooms where they are involved in science processes along with typically developing peers. Adults need to model excitement and enthusiasm when involved in science processes and when planning and anticipating discoveries.
The ABCs of Science in ECE Children who engage in active learning in ECE programs are more likely to succeed in school and in life than children who attend more teacher-directed programs. Peer modeling, lively interaction, and conversation are essential parts of the ECE science curriculum. When talking to children about science, it is important to honor their choice of words. In ECE classrooms, there should be a balance between child- initiated and teacher-initiated science activities. Effective ECE teachers must be effective parent educators who involve families in their childrens science activities.
The ABCs of Science in ECE Teachers cant give children wonderful ideas; Children need to discover or construct their own ideas. Developing new concepts or ideas is an active process and usually begins with child-center inquiry. Child-centered inquiry focuses on the asking of questions relevant to the child While inquiry involves a number of science related skills, the focus is on the active search for knowledge or understanding to satisfy curiosity
The ABCs of Science in ECE Traditional Approach Science viewed as already- discovered knowledge Teacher viewed as authority Areas of study set by teacher Large group instruction and investigating Evaluation based on right answers Content not connected to childrens experiences Predetermined parameters around areas of study Prescribed ways to collect and record data Science viewed as separate area of the curriculum New Approach Science viewed as active exploration Teacher viewed as facilitator Areas of study set by child interest Individual and small group investigations Evaluation based on multiple criteria Content connected to childrens experiences Content of study open-ended Multiple ways to collect and record data Science integrated with other curricular areas
Adapting Art into Science Shake Painting From ScienceArts Materials: 1.Construction Paper 2.Scissors 3.Paint 4.Large Jar with Lid Art Experiment: 1.Cut the paper small enough to fit inside the jar and place it in the bottom. 2.Put several drops of paint in the jar. 3.Put on the lid and shake the jar. 4.Open the jar and remove the Shake Painting. Science Skill: Energy, Absorption Straw Painting From ScienceArts Materials: 1.Drinking Straws 2.Paint, thinned and watery 3.Paper 4.Muffin Tin Art Experiment: 1.Dip one end of straw in paint while holding a finger over the top end of the straw. 2.Move straw to paper and release finger on top of straw to release paint. 3.Follow process several times. Science Skill: Pressure
Burrowing in the Sand & Water Table Legos & Water From Sand and Water Play Materials: 1. Water 2. Food Coloring (optional) 3. Legos Sensory Table Activity: 1.Put 5 of water in sensory table 2.Color water if desired 3.Place Legos in water Science Skill: Design and Construct Tongs & Balls From Sand and Water Play Materials: 1.Water 2.Food coloring (optional) 3.Variety of balls (small enough to fit through openings of containers) 4.Containers 5.Tongs Sensory Table Activity: 1.Fill table half full with water 2.Put balls & containers in table 3.Encourage children to use tongs to pick up balls and place in container Science Skill: Experimentation, Float & Sink
Cracking the Code of Math & Science How Many Seeds? From Bite-Sized Science Materials: 1.Fruits or Vegetables with Seeds 2.Chart Paper 3.Markers 4.Knife Math Activity: 1.Choose several fruits or vegetables with seeds 2.Before cutting, have children predict how many seeds are in each piece 3.Record their answers on chart paper 4.Cut the fruit or vegetable and count the number of seeds together Science Skill: Predicting Sand Stew From Sand and Water Play Materials: 1.Objects from nature 2.Sand 3.Paint Smocks 4.Water Cans 5.Sticks 6.Paper and Pens Sensory Table Activity: 1.Go outside and help gather ingredients 2.Pour sand in table 3.Encourage kids to add water and other ingredients to the sand. Mix with sticks. 4.Ask kids to create a recipe for their concoction. Science Skill: Identify objects in nature, Respect the environment
Diffusing Boredom at Home Foil Molds From Bite-Sized Science Materials: 1.3 pieces of aluminum foil At Home Activity 1.Give child 3 pieces of aluminum foil and ask her to find items to mold in the foil. 2.Place the foil around the item and mold the foil to the item with your hand. 3.Try to guess what item made each mold. Give the other person hints if you need to. Science Skill: Memory & Recall Magnify It From Bite-Sized Science Materials: 1.Zip-top plastic bag made for freezing 2.Water 3.Masking Tape or Duct Tape 4.Book or Newspaper At Home Activity: 1.Fill bad with water and seal with tape. 2.Place bag over book or newspaper to show effect. 3.Use on other items around the house. Science Skill: Magnification
Environment: Designing Your Classroom A variety of interesting materials for children to explore & manipulate Unstructured time for children to develop & test their own ideas A social climate that tells the children that questions and experimentation are as valuable as knowing the right answers
Factors of Scientific Thinking Involves children in the process of finding out Leads children to make their own discoveries Children ask questions, conduct investigations, collect data, and search for answers View children as active learners versus recipients of knowledge Give children the time, space, and materials to exercise their curiosity
Guiding Student Exploration Observe Model Behavior Make-Believe Play Animism and Artificialism Sharing Views
Harvesting Plant Life Sticky Tape Body Art From Science Adventures Materials: 1.Two sided sticky tape, Masking Tape, or Duct Tape Science Experiment: 1.Take children outside and place tape circle on wrist, sticky side out 2.Ask children to wander, observing and choosing items to stick to their tape 3.When every child has finished, ask children to discuss the characteristics of the objects they chose and what drew them to the objects Science Skill: Observing, Life Sciences Nature Match From Science Adventures Materials: 1.Chart of leaves or other collectibles with label and picture 2.Glue Science Activity: 1.Teacher makes a chart of common nature findings. 2.When outside, children collect nature objects. 3.Back inside, the children glue their findings under the appropriate headings. 4.Teacher discusses the term classifying as it applies to sorting by characteristics. Science Skill: Observing, Classifying
Investigating Science Processes There are 4 processes which, according to research, are developmentally most appropriate for very young children. – Observing – Communicating – Comparing – Organizing or Classifying
Jurassic Park Perhaps?? Fossils From Sand and Water Play Materials: 1.Small Figures 2.Plaster of Paris 3.Sand, rocks or pebbles 4.Plastic knives or popsicle sticks 5.Paper 6.Markers and Crayons Sensory Table Activity: 1.Create homemade fossils by placing small figures in plaster of Paris. Allow the plaster to harden overnight. 2.Place these plaster of Paris covered figures in the sand and water table and cover them with sand, rocks, or pebbles. 3.Give the children plastic knives or Popsicle sticks. Encourage them to chip away the plaster of Paris from the object. 4.When the children have chipped away enough to expose the object, have them draw a picture of what theyve exposed. 5.Ask them to predict what is still hidden and complete their drawing using their imagination. Science Skill: Prediction Wild and Wacky Dino Dig From Sand and Water Play Materials: 1.Small Photos of Classroom Dino Figures 2.Laminate 3.Medium (Sand, Large buttons, Paper) 4.Paintbrushes 5.Dino Figures Sensory Table Activity: 1.Take photos of classroom dino figures. Print and laminate. 2.Place photos in bottom of table. Pour medium over photos. 3.Ask kids to use paintbrushes to brush away the sand from hidden photos. 4.Encourage children to search, identify, and match the photos of the actual dino figures. Science Skill: Scale
Knowing the Right Answer Not one of the primary objectives of science Passive virtue with limitations (Duckworth, 1987) – No decisions – No risks – Makes no demands – Automatic – Thoughtless Objective: Answers about the world can be discovered through childrens investigations Involves coming up with ideas of ones own; Developing the ideas and submitting them to someone elses scrutiny
Shedding Light on Art & Science Ice & Salt Sculpture From ScienceArts Materials: 1.Large chunk of ice 2.¾ cup salt 3.Food coloring 4.½ cup warm water 5.Spray bottle (on Stream) 6.Baking Pan Art Activity: 1.Place ice in baking pan 2.Mix warm water with food coloring plus salt in spray bottle 3.Pour cup of water over ice to make slick. 4.Squirt warm salted colored water on ice chunk. 5.Try to create caverns, holes, cracks, and designs. Science Skill: Melting Points, Dissolution Crystal Paint From ScienceArts Materials: 1.Freezing night, or Freezer 2.Water 3.Watercolor Paint and Brushes 4.Plastic Wrap 5.Cookie Sheets 6.White Drawing Paper Art Activity: 1.Paint clear water on white paper. Paint wet paper with watercolor paint, letting colors run together. 2.Immediately cover with plastic wrap and place on cookie sheets. 3.Leave outside to freeze or place in freezer. 4.Next day, pull plastic wrap off to see crystal creation. Science Skill: Freezing Point, Crystallization
A Microscope on Ooey Gooey Science Ivory Soap Explosion From Ooey Gooey Tooey Materials: 1.Bar of Ivory Soup 2.Microwave http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =xDmFiiZKYzU Science Skill: Plasticity and Elasticity Clean Mud From Ooey Gooey Tooey Materials: 1.Ivory Soap 2.Grater 3.Popsicle Sticks 4.Water 5.Toilet Paper http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =9Lco2lCBlPc Science Skill: Solids and Liquids
Natural Science Boats From Sandbox Scientists Materials: 1.Tinfoil 2.Paper Plates 3.Cups, Styrofoam 4.Straws and clay 5.Pieces of Foam and Sponge 6.Corks Outdoor Activity: 1.Invite the kids to design a boat 2.Provide the materials and let the kids go for it 3.If puddles are not available, set out a wading pool Science Skill: Experimentation, Buoyancy Color Scramble From Science Adventures Materials: 1.Coffee Can 2.Crayons Outdoor Activity: 1.Take the children outside and review the crayon colors. 2.Pull a crayon out of the can and say Scramble. 3.Kids should find something that color and stand by it. Science Skill: Observing, Classifying, Using Senses for Observation
Oxygenate Their Minds Bubble Bubble Print From Sand and Water Play Materials: 1.Tall container 2.Straws 3.Pie tins 4.White Construction Paper 5.Washable paint 6.1 cup water 7.½ cup liquid starch 8.1 cup liquid detergent Art Activity: 1.Mix Materials 6-8 to make Print Maker Bubbles 2.Separate solution into 3-4 equal parts and add paint to make colors. Then place each color in separate pie tin. 3.Encourage kids to blow bubbles through straws until bubbles are at top of tin. 4.Place a piece of white paper on top of tin and lift off. This should make a print of the bubbles. Science Skill: Surface Tension Air Moves Things From Sand and Water Play Materials: 1.Light objects 2.Styrofoam packing, Rocks, Cotton balls 3.Straws 4.Masking Tape 5.Marker Sensory Table Activity: 1.Place objects in table 2.Give each child own straw. Label each straw. 3.Encourage children to experiment blowing the different objects using their straws. Science Skill: Cause and Effect
Pint-Sized Science Concepts Systems – Groups or collections having some influence on one another Models – Representations of real objects or phenomenon Constancy and Change – How things change over time Scale – Focusing on characteristics and comparisons Patterns and Relationships – Structure and Organization of Matter Cause and Effect – Explanations for phenomena Structure and Function – Relationship between characteristics and action Variations – Discontinuous and continuous properties Diversity – Variety of types
Questioning in Science: Its Role (A Head Start on Science) Listen to Children Follow childrens Leads Dont Answer Too Quickly Ask Genuine Questions Encourage Children to Engage in Science Processes Encourage Children to Use Science Tools Give Children Time to Answer Make Comments and Ask Questions that Facilitate Learning
Questioning in Science Type of QuestionPurposeExamples Attention-FocusingCalls attention to significant details What is it doing? How does it feel? Measuring and CountingGenerates more precise information How many? How much? How heavy? ComparisonFosters analysis & classification How are they alike? How are their different? ActionEncourages exploration of properties & events; Encourages predictions What if…? Problem-PosingSupports planning & trying to solutions to problems How could we …? ReasoningEncourages reflection on experiences & construction of new ideas Why do you think?
Rotating Sensory Table Materials Balls and Paint From Sand and Water Play Materials: 1.Paint Smocks 2.Butcher Paper 3.Paint 4.Water 5.Container 6.Variety of balls 7.White construction paper Sensory Table Activity: 1.Line table with butcher paper 2.Put paint in container and thin it with water 3.Place the balls in the paint and construction paper on top of butcher paper 4.Roll or bounce the balls back and forth Science Skill: Trial and Error Pair Them Up Two by Two From Science Adventures Materials: 1.A collection of 5 to 20 socks, shoes, or gloves Sensory Table Activity: 1.Show the collection to the children and discuss how the collection could be sorted 2.Discuss the concept of a pair 3.Encourage the children to form pairs, using the objects in the sensory table. 4.In older classes, use the pairs to count by 2s Science Skill: Classifying
Sampling of Science Goals Content – Body of knowledge representing what we know about the world – Develops and increases over time – Desire to communicate and represent their knowledge and should be acknowledged and supported Processes – Active component of science – Include predicting, observing, classifying, hypothesizing, experimenting, communicating – Adults should show a sincere interest in childrens observations & predictions – Adults should provide a variety of materials and settings that invite experimentation Attitudes and Dispositions – Curiosity; Drive to Experiment; Desire to challenge theories & to share new ideas – Teachers should: Value these attitudes or dispositions Be aware of how they are manifested in young children Find ways to acknowledge and nurture their presence
Teachers Role in Science Education Teachers attitude toward science is perhaps the most crucial factor. Two prevalent roadblocks Select appropriate activities – Allow child to be the cause of the action and employ a hands-on approach – Permit child to observe the results of their actions on objects – Select activities where the change is rapid and observable
Utilizing Manipulatives Present Invite Action Ask a Question Use Childrens Questions
Varying Velocity Paint Racing From ScienceArts Materials: 1.Liquid Paint 2.Board from Easel with Paint Tray Attached 3.Stack of Blocks 4.Marbles, Toy Cars, Small Balls, Spools 5.Long piece of butcher paper 6.Newspaper Science Experiment: 1.Make an incline with board propped on blocks- Paint tray at bottom 2.Cover with butcher paper 3.Dip toys in paint and let it roll down the easel, making paint patterns Science Skill: Gravity, Velocity Paint Pendulum From ScienceArts Materials: 1.Cone shaped paper cup 2.String and Scissors 3.Dowel Rod 4.2 Chairs 5.Paint, thinned until runny 6.Newspaper 7.Tape and Construction Paper Science Experiment: 1.Poke 3 holes in cup and lace string through the holes. Gather the strings and tie them in a knot above cup. 2.Tie cup with string to center of dowel rod. 3.Space chairs apart and place dowel rod on seats of chairs so cup swings freely. 4.Cover floor with newspaper. Place construction paper on top. 5.Poke hole in tip of cup so paint can flow through slowly. 6.Put masking tape of hole and pour runny paint into cup until its half full. 7.Pull the tape off and swing the cup slowly over the paper. Science Skill: Gravity, Velocity
Wonder What Theyll Come Up With… Magnets From Sand and Water Play Materials: 1.Magnets 2.Small metal, plastic, and wooden objects 3.Sand Sensory Table Activity: 1.Place metal, plastic, and wooden objects in table. 2.Give kids magnets and encourage them to experiment to see which items the magnet will attract. 3.Cover the objects with sand. 4.Encourage the kids to have a magnetic treasure hunt. Science Skill: Magnetism Water Tubs From Sandbox Scientists Materials: 1.Turkey Basters 2.Sponges & Corks 3.Plastic Pitchers and Cups 4.Aluminum Pots 5.Funnels and Water Pumps 6.Paintbrushes 7.Plastic animals and cars 8.Pebbles Sensory Table Activity: 1.Pouring and washing are the basic activities kids will engage in, but the variety of materials will lead to deeper exploration. 2.Like hydraulic engineers, kids may test different configurations of equipment and develop complex water transfer systems. Science Skill: Water Pressure, Evaporation, Saturation, Buoyancy
X Marks the Spot Nail It From Science Adventures Materials: 1.Piece of a tree trunk 2.Hammers of various weights 3.Large nails 4.Safety goggles Science Activity: 1.Preface this activity with safety notes and rules. 2.Pound the nails into the center of the log to secure the nails. 3.Challenge the children to drive the nail all the way into the log. 4.Experiment with different size hammers Science Skill: Communicating, Physical Science Magnet Hunt From Science Adventures Materials: 1.Small magnets for each child 2.Clipboard 3.Paper and Pen Science Activity: 1.Take the children outside and ask them to hunt for objects attracted to their magnets. 2.Encourage children to share their discoveries. 3.Keep a record of the magnet objects discovered and who found them. 4.Review the places and objects and discuss. Science Skill: Magnetism, Classifying
You Can Be the Chef! Slushy in a Bag From Science Adventures Materials: 1.1 gallon resealable Freezer Bag 2.1 quart resealable Freezer Bag 3.Measuring Cups and Spoons 4.Salt 5.Snow or Crushed Ice 6.Juice of your choice 7.Small Cups and Plastic Spoons Science Activity: 1.Fill a gallon size bag half full of snow or chipped ice 2.Add 6-8 Tbsps of salt 3.In the 1-quart bag, pour ½ cup of juice 4.Seal bag tightly 5.Place small bag inside big bag and seal large bag securely 6.Gently shake the bag and the juice will turn to slush Science Skill: Observing, Temperature Tasting From A Head Start on Science Materials: 1, Salty Tortilla Chips 2. Small Pickle Slices 3. Green Apple Slices 4. Lemon Slices 5. Dried Fruit or Canned Pineapple 6. Small Paper Plates Science Activity: 1.Give each child two of food items listed above 2.As children taste each one, ask them to describe how it tastes 3.Reinforce salty, sweet, sour, or bitter 4.Discuss the connection between smell and taste. Have kids eat 2 nd item while holding nose. 5.Ask: Does the food taste the same? Was it easy to detect if it was salty, sweet, sour, or bitter? 6.Make a graph depicting childs favorite taste Science Skill: The Senses
Zeroing In on Fine Motor Skills Funnels Fill From Science Adventures Materials: 1.Containers (Small-Large, Plastic, Opaque) 2.Various Size Funnels 3.Sand or Water Fine Motor Activity: 1.Fill table with sand or water 2.Add containers and funnels 3.Demonstrate how to use funnels. Invite kids to use funnels. Science Skill: Observing, Communicating, Explore with Tools of Science Coloring and Mixing Sand From Science Adventures Materials: 1.Containers for mixing sand and paint (1 for each color) 2.Pans for drying sand 3.Small, resealable plastic bags 4.Sand (the whiter, the better) 5.Plastic Spoons & Mixing Spoons 6.Paint and Permanent Marker Fine Motor Activity: 1.Measure & pour 1 cup of sand into each container 2.Pour ¼ cup of paint into containers 3.Add ½ cup of water 4.Mix well to make a rich color & runny mixture 5.Pour colored sand into tray to dry 6.When sand is dry, encourage children to crumble back into granular form 7.Add 2 spoonful of separate colors into a bag and mix to make a new color Science Skill: Earth Science, Observing
These are a few of my favorite things… Flour & Baby Oil Corn Cob & Magnetic Wands Glue Sticks & Spices Effervescent Tablet, Eye Dropper, and Colored Water