Science

A toddler explores a large icicle with his mouth while an adult holds him.
A toddler explores a large icicle with his mouth while an adult holds him.

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

Learning Liftoff website 2021 

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
      environment

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?

Essential Element
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