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  • 1.  As the new school year approaches....

    Posted 07-24-2019 09:58 PM
    As many of us are looking at starting new students soon, I was wondering about science learning in your classrooms.  Sharing all brings out new ideas, so here are three questions to start the conversation

    Do you have a go to science exploration to start the school year?
    If so, what is it?
    And what tools do you start with in your science center?

    Anne Lowry
    Aleph Academy
    Reno NV

  • 2.  RE: As the new school year approaches....

    Posted 07-25-2019 11:38 AM
    Hi Anne,

    My school has a science learning shelf in my classroom. It includes rocks, seashells, pinecones, magnifying glasses, and a microscope for the children to explore natural items. A few sensory bottles are also found here. This is a very basic and broad shelf that encourages children to become interested in science.

    I try to build on the children's knowledge of science through interactive, theme-based studies for each unit. For our ocean unit, I had the children perform a sink and float experiment and an experiment relating to water pollution and aquatic life. During our bugs unit, we watched the life cycle of a butterfly with real butterfly larvae as they transformed into beautiful butterflies.

    Jennifer United States

  • 3.  RE: As the new school year approaches....

    Posted 07-25-2019 09:03 PM
    I love starting the year with all about me as it helps me learn about the students while they learn about themselves.  When I taught three-year-olds we talked about our senses (and talked about some of our favorite things that go along with them!).  This year I'm teaching pre-k, and I will again do all about me, but I will expand the topic to talk more about what's going on inside our bodies as well (like our hearts, lungs, muscles, and bones).  We have a decent outdoor playground and a woods nearby where we can walk to for a field trip.  I plan to have the children collect items from these places and have them put the items in our science center for their exploration and the exploration of the younger children as well.  They can use magnifying glasses, do rubbings, journal, weigh the items, etc.  We can talk about what they feel, see, smell, etc.  I try to have the kids participate in the composition of our centers since if they are interested in what is there they are more likely to engage with it.  I want what we are talking about to help me get to know the kids and what they value.  Perhaps this is something you could try?  Definitely start with a balance scale and magnifying glasses and teach the kids how to use them.  Those are great tools.  Best of luck!

    Stephanie Gessford
    Licensing Director
    Learning Tree Cooperative Preschool
    Midland MI

  • 4.  RE: As the new school year approaches....

    Posted 07-28-2019 08:26 AM

  • 5.  RE: As the new school year approaches....

    Posted 07-26-2019 01:08 PM
    I have a nature-based science inquiry outreach program that visits preschool classrooms. On our first visit to a classroom, we talk about how we are scientists everywhere we go - we carry 5 scientific tools with us to all places. It allows us to talk about our five senses and how scientists use their five senses to make observations about the world. Those are the tools we all start with and will use our entire lives! We revisit these tools with every visit (there is a song we sing), and then add a new or special tool that applies to the activity we're doing that day. My favorites in the beginning are magnifying lenses and spoons for digging, which can be easier to maneuver than shovels. The program focuses on extremely accessible parts of nature that any child might have the opportunity to interact with - grasses, trees, and flowers. We will spend the first three months talking about something as simple as grass: exploring it as a habitat all the way through how we use (eat) grasses as humans. We connect almost everything to quality children's literature. Books are carefully selected to introduce or explain concepts as well as inspire wonder. It's the wondering questions which pop up that drives our explorations and scientific conversations.

    Cheryl Potemkin
    Early Childhood and Family Programs Specialist
    BRIT - Botanical Research Institute of Texas
    Fort Worth TX