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Science & Discovery

This is a very hands-on area.  It provides materials for children to discover, explore, evaluate and draw conclusions.  This area leaves room for many centers that open the door to literacy.  The centers consist of on going research that focuses on instruction, sequencing, classifying and recording.  The children will be able to work together to find out what it feels like to be a scientist.  Literacy skills are practiced as children evaluate and reflect on different science activities they are engaged in. They will have opportunities to read charts, and write observations.  Children can journal their findings and discoveries, and practice making predictions and inferences, which are critical in developing comprehension skills used in reading.

Theme related centers can be incorporated in this area and are flexible.  Two common examples are a sensory center and an observation center.  These two centers leave a lot of flexibility to change what is observed or discovered according to the theme.

Goals:

In the science/discovery area children are able to explore new topics of interest, learn about the world around them, and develop their problem solving skills. They get to WONDER about things!  They practice observation skills using their five sense, learn about cause and effect, making predictions, and begin to learn some basic science concepts.

Area:

A science area can be set up pretty much anywhere. Space next to a window would provide light for growing seeds for different science activities. A place to put books that will compliment your science/discovery center is a wonderful addition to this center. Consider hanging low shelves on the wall or placing a shelf unit in this area for books or other science items. If you will be performing actual experiments in this center a nearby water source is ideal. 

Equipment:

The equipment you need for this area depends on the kinds of activities you wish to offer.  Some science/discovery areas are more of just an observation type center so you may wish to have a display table, aquarium, and various clear containers for specimens. Other science/discovery areas may have more hands on activities that require a work table or more options for exploration. If you combine the science area with a discovery area you may want to include a sand/water table. Something that can be filled with dirt, sand, and other messy materials.

Supplies:

Stock your science/discovery area with anything you can find that deals with science, exploring the senses, and the natural world. Decide how you will display items, some programs have them out all the time other choose to rotate items relevant to their units of study. You can create specific centers and rotate materials weekly or monthly. Here are some ideas for things you may wish to put in a science/discovery area: 

*Play-dough and other sensory stimulating materials should be available daily! Things like oobleck, sand clay, bubbles, and other hands on materials provide children with loads of opportunities to develop their thinking and language skills.

Centers:

Activities:

You can provide many opportunities for scientific learning in your science/discovery area.  Consider trying some of the following activities in your centers:

  • Grow Grass Seeds:  Let the children help you plant grass seeds in a large container.  Have the children predict what will happen, what do the seeds need to grow? How long will it take? Children can help water the seeds with a spray bottle filled with water. Observe what happens to the seeds. 

  • Plant Marigold Seeds and Sun Flower Seeds:  Ask the children to observe the seeds.  How are they alike/different.  Which will grow first? Observe and document what happens to the seeds.  The children can assist in planting and caring for the seeds. 

  • Observe an Insects Life Cycle: Order some caterpillars or tadpoles and observe their life cycles. Visit http://www.insectlore.com/ - you can order live bugs from them and many other science related items!!!!

  • Observe Insects: Collect some bugs from outdoors in a bug container. Observe their behavior, describe their appearance.

  • Invent Something: Fill the science/discovery center with old electronic equipment (that is safe) and let the children take them apart with child sized tools and create their own inventions!

  • Weather Station: Set up a weather observation station in your room so the children can practice making observations, recording data, and analyzing information. Provide a WEATHER LEARNING CHART - 17in. x 22in. - 1 piece  and dress for the weather bulletin board Carson Dellosa MR. AND MRS. WEATHER BEAR - 1 board.

  • Observe Nature: Collect a variety of nature items for the children to observe?  What do they see?  How are they alike? Different?  What else can be learned about them? How could they be sorted?

  • Provide books, charts and posters when ever possible to extend the learning on specific topics.

  • Try some of the science experiments from some of the many science books that are available.

 

Resources:

 

 

 

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