Carolina Biological OSE - August 2023


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Early Childhood

Early Childhood Students and STEM

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Emma Nelson Emma Nelson 615 Points

I have always wondered how one safely includes young children in science labs. Young students especially learn best hands-on instead of lecture-based learning because they can not pay attention for that long. It would be great to engage them in hands-on lessons and keep them safe because they are so young. I know there are lessons for this age, but are they really fun for the students, and do they learn from them? I guess I am asking how to ensure super young students are safe while doing labs and what kind of labs they could do at such a young age. 

Peggy Ashbrook Peggy Ashbrook 10503 Points

Hi Emma,

Yes! Preschool age children, and even toddlers and infants, benefit from having their teachers and care givers support their early experiences and explorations with natural phenomena. They have so much fun learning about the properties of liquid while splashing a small pan of water, or exploring how some objects float and others sink (try putting a pumpkin in a plastic tub of water and see where it sits in the water!). 

The 'labs' are experiences that can be repeated and added to so children explore a topic such as how plants grow from seeds, and a phenomenon such as shadows as they use flashlights and observe changes to their shadows during different times of the day. 

Since you have a membership you can access all of the 'Early Years' columns that have been published every month since 2005 in NSTA's journal, Science and Children, and see the lesson plans describing explorations and discussion about how young children have fun (and their teachers too!) learning core science concepts.

Best wishes,


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