Carolina Biological OSE - July 2024


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Early Childhood

Where to Start?

Author Post
Katie Anderson Katie Anderson 165 Points

How would an aspiring teacher know where to start, or go about, teaching extremely younger children (Pre-K to K) whom have never had any experience with science whatsoever?

Hi everyone, I am new to NSTA. I am a university student and I am learning how to incorporate science in the classroom. I am very nervous and worried about teaching science. I would like to teach elementary students. I am not sure how I can keep the students engaged in science? What about if I am doing the wrong thing? Any tips for a new elementary teacher on teaching science?

Rebecca Cabello Rebecca Cabello 1935 Points

Utilizing manipulative and items that they can relate to might help keep your students engaged. 

George Mehler George Mehler 1575 Points

Hi Katie and Maria, teaching science to younger children can be difficult at first but there are many ways to incorporate science that they will find fun and engaging. I have been developing a YouTube channel called FunScienceDemos that is full of hundreds of free video science demonstrations. They are all common core aligned and can be used for many different age groups! I encourage you to check it out and subscribe as we will be releasing more videos soon. Also, in the coming year we will be providing supplemental materials such as readings, poems, worksheets, and practice problems! Here is the link to the FunScienceDemos channel I hope this helps! Dr. George Mehler Ed.D., Temple University

Elizabeth Epstein elizabeth epstein 370 Points

Just checked out the YouTube channel, and I really like it. Quick videos and demonstrations are a great way to get students' attention and get them interested in the upcoming science lessons.

Rebecca Cabello Rebecca Cabello 1935 Points

That is a great resource to utilize in the classroom! 

Christian Baez Christian Baez 1190 Points

Dr. Mehler, I watched a couple of your videos on YouTube and they are fantastic! I would most definitely use these videos in my science lessons for upper elementary and middle school students. Your scientific explanations are easy to understand and are great for briefly introducing topics that my students could further study in depth. Thank you for sharing your resources!

Michelle Alban MIchelle Alban 3095 Points

Hey, my name is Michelle and I a college student working on getting my certification in elementary education. What I have seen so far, is that the students most interested in science are able to have hands-on-activities. Also, you can always spark the students interest with doing a simple demonstration or lab. At the preschool level it could be as simple as having the students make some type of play dough, or mixing food coloring into different objects, like shaving cream, to show how the colors mix and make new colors. ( That is an example on pinterest of shaving creme play-dough and it is easy because you don't have to heat anything up, but there are a lot of other ideas. I know children at the younger ages love this. Another fun, simple activity, would be to make scented or colorful bubbles. You can add food coloring and vanilla extract into the bubble mixture and it would make them smell good and look a different color! Then, for elementary school students you could do an activity like this, then take it to another level. Ask the students to build different things with their play-dough they made and they can become engineers. I know making play-dough isn't always ideal in the classroom setting, but you could have it made ahead of time and then let the students use it to make different things. Also I saw on pinterest a fun way to make some volcanoes, and then have the students figure out what happened and why it happened. If you use a water bottle, put vinegar in the bottle, put baking soda in a balloon, then put the outer rim of the balloon on the water bottle. When you are ready, pick the balloon straight up so the baking soda goes into the water bottle and the balloon will start to blow up. (you might want to do the activity outside) This is an activity students love, and they have to figure out why the balloon blew up. I hope some of these ideas were helpful!

Rebecca Cabello Rebecca Cabello 1935 Points

These are great resources for the classroom!

Selena Garcia Selena 650 Points

When introducing younger students to science you may want to consider relating the lesson to their past experiences. When I taught a light energy lesson, I started by asking them what they think of when they hear the word "light". It also gives you an opportunity to assess where the students are before beginning a lesson.

Peggy Ashbrook Margaret Ashbrook 10993 Points

Katie, When we think of science as being quantum physics, biodiversity, and directional solidification of metals, it does seem that science is not for 3 and 4-year-old children. But scientists who research those topics began as preschoolers who were interested in the way objects moved, tried to figure out what light is, stopped to look at every small creature, planted a seed, and were the first ones to the cooking table. Observe your students and find out what phenomena or topic interests them. Think of ways children can have hands-on experiences that may develop into deeper explorations when you connect activities about the same phenomena or topic. And, of course, listen to children’s ideas about what they experience and ask open-ended questions to support their further thinking. You can ask them, “What do you think [happened…it is…will happen next]? and what is your evidence, why do you think that?” As Barbara Lehn says in What is a Scientist?, “Scientists have fun.” Peggy     Here are some resources that may be helpful: From NSTA: Science and Children, “The Early Years” column in the NSTA’s elementary school journal, with activities and resource suggestions. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) [url=][/url] publishes journals for teachers at all levels, including elementary, with feature articles, book and technology reviews, and many descriptions of lesson plans. Some of the Early Years columns are available online to non-members at no cost in the NSTA Learning Center  [url=][/url] if one follows these steps: create a free account use the "advanced search" option search for "early years" as a keyword and "ashbrook" as author, and "free" as cost.   Position Statement The National Science Teachers Association’s (NSTA) position statement on Early Childhood Science Education—endorsed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). (2014). [url=][/url]   Early childhood science communities open to all. NAEYC Early Childhood Science Interest Forum, [url=][/url] , [url=][/url][url=]/[/url] , [url=][/url][url=]/[/url] , [url=][/url][url=]/[/url] NSTA Learning Center Early Childhood Forum, [url=][/url]   About the nature of science Understanding Science 101, [url=][/url]   About early childhood science education Early Childhood Research and Practice, Collected Papers from the SEED (STEM in Early Education and Development) Conference, 2010. [url=][/url] Lab Out Loud, Karen Worth Episode 108 – Science in Early Childhood Education, February 23, 2014 [url=][/url] Peep and the Big Wide World science curriculum, [url=][/url] Regent’s Center at the University of Northern Iowa, [url=][/url]   Starting with Science by Marcia Talhelm Edson. 2013. Stenhouse Publishers. What Is A Scientist? by Barbara Lehn, with wonderful photos by Carol Krauss. 1998. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press. Worms, Shadows, and Whirlpools by Karen Worth and Sharon Grollman. 2003. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Clearly describes the characteristics of a high-quality early-childhood science program and teacher—what we can strive for. Highlights (through vignettes) the work of classroom teachers that relay core ideas in life, physical, and earth and space sciences. Emphasis on doing in-depth exploration of a topic over time. The Young Scientist Series (Nature, Building, Water) by Ingrid Chalufour and Karen Worth. 2004. Redleaf Press.   Research Published by the National Academy Press and available online From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development  (2000). [url=]

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