5 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 children’s actions and listen to their conversations so that they can follow children’s leads.
6 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.
7 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 child’s 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.
8 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 children’s science activities.
9 The ABCs of Science in ECE Teachers can’t 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 childWhile inquiry involves a number of science related skills, the focus is on the active search for knowledge or understanding to satisfy curiosity
10 The ABCs of Science in ECE Traditional ApproachScience viewed as already-discovered knowledgeTeacher viewed as authorityAreas of study set by teacherLarge group instruction and investigatingEvaluation based on right answersContent not connected to children’s experiencesPredetermined parameters around areas of studyPrescribed ways to collect and record dataScience viewed as separate area of the curriculumNew ApproachScience viewed as active explorationTeacher viewed as facilitatorAreas of study set by child interestIndividual and small group investigationsEvaluation based on multiple criteriaContent connected to children’s experiencesContent of study open-endedMultiple ways to collect and record dataScience integrated with other curricular areas
11 Adapting Art into Science Shake PaintingFrom ScienceArtsStraw PaintingFrom ScienceArtsMaterials:Construction PaperScissorsPaintLarge Jar with LidArt Experiment:Cut the paper small enough to fit inside the jar and place it in the bottom.Put several drops of paint in the jar.Put on the lid and shake the jar.Open the jar and remove the Shake Painting.Science Skill: Energy, AbsorptionMaterials:Drinking StrawsPaint, thinned and wateryPaperMuffin TinArt Experiment:Dip one end of straw in paint while holding a finger over the top end of the straw.Move straw to paper and release finger on top of straw to release paint.Follow process several times.Science Skill: Pressure
12 Burrowing in the Sand & Water Table Legos & WaterFrom Sand and Water PlayTongs & BallsFrom Sand and Water PlayMaterials:1. Water2. Food Coloring (optional)3. LegosSensory Table Activity:Put 5” of water in sensory tableColor water if desiredPlace Legos in waterScience Skill: Design and ConstructMaterials:WaterFood coloring (optional)Variety of balls (small enough to fit through openings of containers)ContainersTongsSensory Table Activity:Fill table half full with waterPut balls & containers in tableEncourage children to use tongs to pick up balls and place in containerScience Skill: Experimentation, Float & Sink
13 Cracking the Code of Math & Science How Many Seeds?From Bite-Sized ScienceSand StewFrom Sand and Water PlayMaterials:Fruits or Vegetables with SeedsChart PaperMarkersKnifeMath Activity:Choose several fruits or vegetables with seedsBefore cutting, have children predict how many seeds are in each pieceRecord their answers on chart paperCut the fruit or vegetable and count the number of seeds togetherScience Skill: PredictingMaterials:Objects from natureSandPaint SmocksWater CansSticksPaper and PensSensory Table Activity:Go outside and help gather “ingredients”Pour sand in tableEncourage kids to add water and other ingredients to the sand. Mix with sticks.Ask kids to create a recipe for their concoction.Science Skill: Identify objects in nature, Respect the environment
14 Diffusing Boredom at Home Foil MoldsFrom Bite-Sized ScienceMagnify ItFrom Bite-Sized ScienceMaterials:3 pieces of aluminum foilAt Home ActivityGive child 3 pieces of aluminum foil and ask her to find items to mold in the foil.Place the foil around the item and mold the foil to the item with your hand.Try to guess what item made each mold. Give the other person hints if you need to.Science Skill: Memory & RecallMaterials:Zip-top plastic bag made for freezingWaterMasking Tape or Duct TapeBook or NewspaperAt Home Activity:Fill bad with water and seal with tape.Place bag over book or newspaper to show effect.Use on other items around the house.Science Skill: Magnification
15 Environment: Designing Your Classroom A variety of interesting materials for children to explore & manipulateUnstructured time for children to develop & test their own ideasA social climate that tells the children that questions and experimentation are as valuable as knowing the right answers
16 Factors of Scientific Thinking Involves children in the process of finding outLeads children to make their own discoveriesChildren ask questions, conduct investigations, collect data, and search for answersView children as active learners versus recipients of knowledgeGive children the time, space, and materials to exercise their curiosity
17 Guiding Student Exploration ObserveModel BehaviorMake-Believe PlayAnimism and ArtificialismSharing ViewsSo the child who believes that dreams take place in one's room at night (realism), that moving objects have life and consciousness (animism), or that the moon follows them because it wants to (artificialism), is displaying egocentrism just as surely as the child who is unable to differentiate self-other perspectives.
18 Harvesting Plant Life Sticky Tape Body Art From Science Adventures Nature MatchFrom Science AdventuresMaterials:Two sided sticky tape, Masking Tape, or Duct TapeScience Experiment:Take children outside and place tape circle on wrist, sticky side outAsk children to wander, observing and choosing items to stick to their tapeWhen every child has finished, ask children to discuss the characteristics of the objects they chose and what drew them to the objectsScience Skill: Observing, Life SciencesMaterials:Chart of leaves or other collectibles with label and pictureGlueScience Activity:Teacher makes a chart of common nature findings.When outside, children collect nature objects.Back inside, the children glue their findings under the appropriate headings.Teacher discusses the term “classifying” as it applies to sorting by characteristics.Science Skill: Observing, Classifying
19 Investigating Science Processes There are 4 processes which, according to research, are developmentally most appropriate for very young children.ObservingCommunicatingComparingOrganizing or Classifying
20 Jurassic Park Perhaps?? Fossils From Sand and Water Play Wild and Wacky Dino DigFrom Sand and Water PlayMaterials:Small FiguresPlaster of ParisSand, rocks or pebblesPlastic knives or popsicle sticksPaperMarkers and CrayonsSensory Table Activity:Create homemade fossils by placing small figures in plaster of Paris. Allow the plaster to harden overnight.Place these plaster of Paris covered figures in the sand and water table and cover them with sand, rocks, or pebbles.Give the children plastic knives or Popsicle sticks. Encourage them to chip away the plaster of Paris from the object.When the children have chipped away enough to expose the object, have them draw a picture of what they’ve exposed.Ask them to predict what is still hidden and complete their drawing using their imagination.Science Skill: PredictionMaterials:Small Photos of Classroom Dino FiguresLaminateMedium (Sand, Large buttons, Paper)PaintbrushesDino FiguresSensory Table Activity:Take photos of classroom dino figures. Print and laminate.Place photos in bottom of table. Pour medium over photos.Ask kids to use paintbrushes to brush away the sand from hidden photos.Encourage children to search, identify, and match the photos of the actual dino figures.Science Skill: Scale
21 Knowing the Right Answer Not one of the primary objectives of sciencePassive virtue with limitations (Duckworth, 1987)No decisionsNo risksMakes no demandsAutomaticThoughtlessObjective: Answers about the world can be discovered through children’s investigationsInvolves coming up with ideas of one’s own; Developing the ideas and submitting them to someone else’s scrutiny
22 Shedding Light on Art & Science Ice & Salt SculptureFrom ScienceArtsCrystal PaintFrom ScienceArtsMaterials:Large chunk of ice¾ cup saltFood coloring½ cup warm waterSpray bottle (on Stream)Baking PanArt Activity:Place ice in baking panMix warm water with food coloring plus salt in spray bottlePour cup of water over ice to make slick.Squirt warm salted colored water on ice chunk.Try to create caverns, holes, cracks, and designs.Science Skill: Melting Points, DissolutionMaterials:Freezing night, or FreezerWaterWatercolor Paint and BrushesPlastic WrapCookie SheetsWhite Drawing PaperArt Activity:Paint clear water on white paper. Paint wet paper with watercolor paint, letting colors run together.Immediately cover with plastic wrap and place on cookie sheets.Leave outside to freeze or place in freezer.Next day, pull plastic wrap off to see crystal creation.Science Skill: Freezing Point, Crystallization
23 A Microscope on Ooey Gooey Science Ivory Soap ExplosionFrom Ooey Gooey TooeyClean MudFrom Ooey Gooey TooeyMaterials:Bar of Ivory SoupMicrowaveScience Skill: Plasticity and ElasticityMaterials:Ivory SoapGraterPopsicle SticksWaterToilet PaperScience Skill: Solids and Liquids
24 Natural Science Boats From Sandbox Scientists Color Scramble From Science AdventuresMaterials:TinfoilPaper PlatesCups, StyrofoamStraws and clayPieces of Foam and SpongeCorksOutdoor Activity:Invite the kids to design a boatProvide the materials and let the kids go for itIf puddles are not available, set out a wading poolScience Skill: Experimentation, BuoyancyMaterials:Coffee CanCrayonsOutdoor Activity:Take the children outside and review the crayon colors.Pull a crayon out of the can and say “Scramble.”Kids should find something that color and stand by it.Science Skill: Observing, Classifying, Using Senses for Observation
25 Oxygenate Their Minds Bubble Bubble Print From Sand and Water Play Air Moves ThingsFrom Sand and Water PlayMaterials:Tall containerStrawsPie tinsWhite Construction PaperWashable paint1 cup water½ cup liquid starch1 cup liquid detergentArt Activity:Mix Materials 6-8 to make “Print Maker Bubbles”Separate solution into 3-4 equal parts and add paint to make colors. Then place each color in separate pie tin.Encourage kids to blow bubbles through straws until bubbles are at top of tin.Place a piece of white paper on top of tin and lift off. This should make a print of the bubbles.Science Skill: Surface TensionMaterials:Light objectsStyrofoam packing, Rocks, Cotton ballsStrawsMasking TapeMarkerSensory Table Activity:Place objects in tableGive each child own straw. Label each straw.Encourage children to experiment blowing the different objects using their straws.Science Skill: Cause and Effect
26 Pint-Sized Science Concepts SystemsGroups or collections having some influence on one anotherModelsRepresentations of real objects or phenomenonConstancy and ChangeHow things change over timeScaleFocusing on characteristics and comparisonsPatterns and RelationshipsStructure and Organization of MatterCause and EffectExplanations for phenomenaStructure and FunctionRelationship between characteristics and actionVariationsDiscontinuous and continuous propertiesDiversityVariety of types
27 Questioning in Science: It’s Role (A Head Start on Science) Listen to ChildrenFollow children’s LeadsDon’t Answer Too QuicklyAsk Genuine QuestionsEncourage Children to Engage in Science ProcessesEncourage Children to Use Science ToolsGive Children Time to AnswerMake Comments and Ask Questions that Facilitate Learning
28 Questioning in Science Type of QuestionPurposeExamplesAttention-FocusingCalls attention to significant detailsWhat is it doing?How does it feel?Measuring and CountingGenerates more precise informationHow many?How much?How heavy?ComparisonFosters analysis & classificationHow are they alike?How are their different?ActionEncourages exploration of properties & events; Encourages predictionsWhat if…?Problem-PosingSupports planning & trying to solutions to problemsHow could we …?ReasoningEncourages reflection on experiences & construction of new ideasWhy do you think?
29 Rotating Sensory Table Materials Balls and PaintFrom Sand and Water PlayPair Them Up Two by TwoFrom Science AdventuresMaterials:Paint SmocksButcher PaperPaintWaterContainerVariety of ballsWhite construction paperSensory Table Activity:Line table with butcher paperPut paint in container and thin it with waterPlace the balls in the paint and construction paper on top of butcher paperRoll or bounce the balls back and forthScience Skill: Trial and ErrorMaterials:A collection of 5 to 20 socks, shoes, or glovesSensory Table Activity:Show the collection to the children and discuss how the collection could be sortedDiscuss the concept of a “pair”Encourage the children to form “pairs,” using the objects in the sensory table.In older classes, use the pairs to count by 2sScience Skill: Classifying
30 Sampling of Science Goals ContentBody of knowledge representing what we know about the worldDevelops and increases over timeDesire to communicate and represent their knowledge and should be acknowledged and supportedProcessesActive component of scienceInclude predicting, observing, classifying, hypothesizing, experimenting, communicatingAdults should show a sincere interest in children’s observations & predictionsAdults should provide a variety of materials and settings that invite experimentationAttitudes and DispositionsCuriosity; Drive to Experiment; Desire to challenge theories & to share new ideasTeachers should:Value these attitudes or dispositionsBe aware of how they are manifested in young childrenFind ways to acknowledge and nurture their presence
31 Teacher’s Role in Science Education Teacher’s attitude toward science is perhaps the most crucial factor.Two prevalent roadblocksSelect appropriate activitiesAllow child to be the cause of the action and employ a hands-on approachPermit child to observe the results of their actions on objectsSelect activities where the change is rapid and observable
32 Utilizing Manipulatives PresentInvite ActionAsk a QuestionUse Children’s Questions
33 Varying Velocity Paint Racing From ScienceArts Paint Pendulum Materials:Liquid PaintBoard from Easel with Paint Tray AttachedStack of BlocksMarbles, Toy Cars, Small Balls, SpoolsLong piece of butcher paperNewspaperScience Experiment:Make an incline with board propped on blocks- Paint tray at bottomCover with butcher paperDip toys in paint and let it roll down the easel, making paint patternsScience Skill: Gravity, VelocityMaterials:Cone shaped paper cupString and ScissorsDowel Rod2 ChairsPaint, thinned until runnyNewspaperTape and Construction PaperScience Experiment:Poke 3 holes in cup and lace string through the holes. Gather the strings and tie them in a knot above cup.Tie cup with string to center of dowel rod.Space chairs apart and place dowel rod on seats of chairs so cup swings freely.Cover floor with newspaper. Place construction paper on top.Poke hole in tip of cup so paint can flow through slowly.Put masking tape of hole and pour runny paint into cup until it’s half full.Pull the tape off and swing the cup slowly over the paper.Science Skill: Gravity, Velocity
35 Wonder What They’ll Come Up With… MagnetsFrom Sand and Water PlayWater TubsFrom Sandbox ScientistsMaterials:MagnetsSmall metal, plastic, and wooden objectsSandSensory Table Activity:Place metal, plastic, and wooden objects in table.Give kids magnets and encourage them to experiment to see which items the magnet will attract.Cover the objects with sand.Encourage the kids to have a magnetic treasure hunt.Science Skill: MagnetismMaterials:Turkey BastersSponges & CorksPlastic Pitchers and CupsAluminum PotsFunnels and Water PumpsPaintbrushesPlastic animals and carsPebblesSensory Table Activity:Pouring and washing are the basic activities kids will engage in, but the variety of materials will lead to deeper exploration.Like hydraulic engineers, kids may test different configurations of equipment and develop complex water transfer systems.Science Skill: Water Pressure, Evaporation, Saturation, Buoyancy
36 “X” Marks the Spot Nail It From Science Adventures Magnet Hunt Materials:Piece of a tree trunkHammers of various weightsLarge nailsSafety gogglesScience Activity:Preface this activity with safety notes and rules.Pound the nails into the center of the log to secure the nails.Challenge the children to drive the nail all the way into the log.Experiment with different size hammersScience Skill: Communicating, Physical ScienceMaterials:Small magnets for each childClipboardPaper and PenScience Activity:Take the children outside and ask them to hunt for objects attracted to their magnets.Encourage children to share their discoveries.Keep a record of the magnet objects discovered and who found them.Review the places and objects and discuss.Science Skill: Magnetism, Classifying
37 You Can Be the Chef! Slushy in a Bag From Science Adventures Tasting From A Head Start on ScienceMaterials:1 gallon resealable Freezer Bag1 quart resealable Freezer BagMeasuring Cups and SpoonsSaltSnow or Crushed IceJuice of your choiceSmall Cups and Plastic SpoonsScience Activity:Fill a gallon size bag half full of snow or chipped iceAdd 6-8 Tbsps of saltIn the 1-quart bag, pour ½ cup of juiceSeal bag tightlyPlace small bag inside big bag and seal large bag securelyGently shake the bag and the juice will turn to slushScience Skill: Observing, TemperatureMaterials:1, Salty Tortilla Chips2. Small Pickle Slices3. Green Apple Slices4. Lemon Slices5. Dried Fruit or Canned Pineapple6. Small Paper PlatesScience Activity:Give each child two of food items listed aboveAs children taste each one, ask them to describe how it tastesReinforce salty, sweet, sour, or bitterDiscuss the connection between smell and taste. Have kids eat 2nd item while holding nose.Ask: Does the food taste the same? Was it easy to detect if it was salty, sweet, sour, or bitter?Make a graph depicting child’s favorite tasteScience Skill: The Senses
38 Zeroing In on Fine Motor Skills Funnels FillFrom Science AdventuresColoring and Mixing SandFrom Science AdventuresMaterials:Containers (Small-Large, Plastic, Opaque)Various Size FunnelsSand or WaterFine Motor Activity:Fill table with sand or waterAdd containers and funnelsDemonstrate how to use funnels. Invite kids to use funnels.Science Skill: Observing, Communicating, Explore with Tools of ScienceMaterials:Containers for mixing sand and paint (1 for each color)Pans for drying sandSmall, resealable plastic bagsSand (the whiter, the better)Plastic Spoons & Mixing SpoonsPaint and Permanent MarkerFine Motor Activity:Measure & pour 1 cup of sand into each containerPour ¼ cup of paint into containersAdd ½ cup of waterMix well to make a rich color & runny mixturePour colored sand into tray to dryWhen sand is dry, encourage children to crumble back into granular formAdd 2 spoonful of separate colors into a bag and mix to make a new colorScience Skill: Earth Science, Observing
39 These are a few of my favorite things… Flour & Baby OilCorn Cob & Magnetic WandsEffervescent Tablet, Eye Dropper, and Colored WaterGlue Sticks & Spices