Science has led to the discovery of everything from gravity to medicine. Science is based on curiosity—and when children aim to learn more about the world around them, it is science that often holds the clues they need for a better understanding.
How to Teach Kids Science and Why Is It Important
As we shared in Program Planning – Can Active Learning Be Used for General Education Instruction? almost any science content can be adapted for children at the earliest developmental levels through Active Learning. Science is after all about exploration and experimentation, discovery, and problem-solving.Here are some of the skills that can be found in a Standard Curriculum for Science:
- Measure and compare weights
- Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties
- Demonstrate that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down
- Provide evidence that plants need air and water to grow
- Represent and interpret data on a picture, line, or bar graph to show seasonal patterns in the length of daylight hours
- Use information to describe how people can help protect the Earth’s resources and how that affects the
Ideas for Teaching Science Concepts
So how might these be worked on in a developmentally appropriate fashion for children who are under the age of 4 years using an Active Learning Approach?
Initial Linkage Level Skills
Active Learning Activity
|Measure and compare weights of substances before and after heating, cooling, or mixing substances to show that weight of matter is conserved.
|Recognize the change in state from liquid to solid or from solid to liquid of the same material.
Play with ice in a bin of warm water or a baggie placed on a light box and observe how it melts while positioned on various Active Learning equipment
Make cupcakes from a mix tasting the liquid batter and the dry cupcake
Play outside in the snow and experience it melting on your skin
|Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties
|Match materials with similar physical properties (e.g., shape, texture, weight).
Play with a variety of materials sorted by shape, size, texture, weight in bins or containers while in a HOPSA dress on a track
Play with various objects (hats, shoes, gloves, bowls, paper bags, etc.) on head, hands, feet to explore size
Fill and pour water, rice, beans, or sand into containers of different sizes and shapes
|Demonstrate that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down
|Recognize the direction an object will go when dropped (recognition should be after the action).
Use a Position Board to play throwing games
Drop blocks into buckets
Throw rocks into tubs of water
|Provide evidence that plants need air and water to grow
|Distinguish things that grow from things that don’t grow (but some things grow slower than others).
Play with a mixture of raw vegetables and nonliving objects such as paper, spoons, balls
Dig up potatoes that have grown in a flower pot
Take repeated outings to explore trees and plants growing in the spring and summer in a familiar location and contrast with other parts of the landscape that aren’t growing
|Represent and interpret data on a picture, line, or bar graph to show seasonal patterns in the length of daylight hours
|Order events in a daily routine, including sunrise and sunset.
Offer objects for the child to explore that represent major events in the day to anticipate what event will happen next such as a meal, bathing, brushing teeth, sleeping, etc.
|Use information to describe how people can help protect the Earth’s resources and how that affects the environment
|Identify one way to protect a resource of Earth (e.g., put paper in the recycling bin to save trees, recycle cans to save metal, turn off appliances to save energy).
Play with various materials that are recyclable such as paper, plastic bottles, cans
Practice throwing various materials into bins
Tear paper or shred paper
Play with toys or devices attached to switches that can allow them to be turned on and off