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Early Childhood

What is a good beginner friendly EC science experiment?

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Alyssa N Garcia Alyssa N Garcia 1440 Points

I have looked around the internet and have not really seen an answer to what is developmentally appropriate for early childhood students to do as their first-ever science experiment/investigation. Should I look at topics found in 1st and 2nd grade, and try to approach a science experiment or investigation at a level that early childhood students understand? Also, would it be okay to include a read-aloud of the topic if it is something like "seasons" or "planets"? 

Jordan Bott Jordan Bott 130 Points

I don't have experience teaching 1st or 2nd grade, but I did do a lot of science when I taught preschool. I found the easiest way to approach these types of activities and still give the students an investigation was finding experiments that focused heavily on the 5 senses. Like was mentioned previously, the seasons are a great way to incorporate science into your classroom! I find with younger kids that it is great to introduce the topic with a read aloud and then move on to the activity. For seasons, you could find a good picture book that talks about fall (for example), and then take your students on a short walk around the school outside and ask them to find things that prove it is currently fall (hopefully you live in an area that has seasons! I know some states don't have an "autumn". Then you can bring those items into the classroom and talk about how they are related to fall and have the students write down observations about fall (they could write these while walking around too). 

Hope that helps!

Misty Weed Misty Weed 9886 Points

If you are looking for seasons going outdoors anytime of the year is fantastic. Help them notices the characteristics of living things that they see: color, size, structure. This might make them wonder more or it might help you invite them to think deeper, i.e. how does a crickets color help it survive?

You can talk about living and nonliving things as all things fall into either category. Living things grow and reproduce. Often in EC children think that things must move to be alive, this is a great opportunity to dispel this myth. 

You can discuss the needs of the living things you see. The needs of animals and of plants. There are seed experiments that are appropriate for this age.

The life cycles of the plants, insects, and animals you see. You should be able to find books on most of them.

You can talk about the diversity/variation of plant and animal species on earth. In one space you can see spiders, ants, pill bugs, weeds, grass, bushes, flowers, snails, etc. Then in each kind of living thing you see variation. Not all snails are the same.

You can talk about habitat, the environment that living things use to meet it's basic needs. 

Brooke Smith Brooke Smith 1810 Points

Hi there!  

My name is Brooke Smith,  a senior at Wright State University. I can tell you from what I have experienced introducing a topic with a story is great for those younger kiddos. They really enjoy the storelike element of learning about science. A specific idea for an investigation of scientific phenomena could be to simply go outside and have the students explore. Have them explain what they notice when looking at the plants/animals they find. I recently worked in a co-teaching manor to plan and implement a lesson for 2nd-grade students at a district in my state that is underserved in science lessons, and I can honestly say those students thoroughly enjoyed just being outside to explore what is in the world around them.  

Hannah Guseman Hannah Guseman 630 Points

Hello there! Brooke, I think those are some great suggestions! I'm In a second grade placement currently, and we have already done some great hands on science experiements. We tested why soap is important using small clear plastic cups, dish soap, water, an eye dropper, and pepper. It was a great experiment! We also tried a robot arm activity (looking into a robotics and engineering lesson) where students put up construction paper with a small hole lareg enough for students to put their arms through a hole but small enough so they can't see what is on the other side and they had a bowl on the other side full of maccaroni noodles (2 different kinds) and students had to sort the noodles using their partners directions without looking. We've also done lessons on push and pull where stuents get to move around te room testing different listed objects (doors, drawers, ect. ) to determine which forces are being used for that and then they could go on the playground and test what weve tlaked about on different equiptment like the swings. There's some really great options out there!

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