Science Resources to make it easy to include science in your curriculum
Before you begin looking for science resources, there are three stages to consider when adding science to your curriculum: why? and how? followed by where to find an easy list of science resources to make it happen.
Many early childhood providers struggle with bringing science into their curriculum. Perhaps it is the images of high school science classes that forever put us off from even trying to include these experiences in our early childhood environments. Perhaps it is a fear of inadequacy in being able to teach a subject area in which we struggle ourselves to understand. Regardless the reason, we do need to offer some form of science learning for he children in our care.
Science is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study o9f the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experimentation.
Maybe it would help if we first take a step back and consider science from a child's perspective. science is learning anything about the natural world around us. From a child's perspective, the physical world is a magical pl;ace and science is like opening up the magician's treasure chest!
Why do some things float and others sink when I put them in the water table? Why do a column of ants follow each other in a straight line? Why do things fall down when I let them go? Why can I pick up and hold the toy duck while the water flows out through my fingers? What makes the biscuits puff up when we cook them and what changes the round drop of gooey cookie dough into a flat, hard cookie? Why are there sometimes holes in the bread? All of these questions are answered by science, and while you do not have to have the exact answers to the questions, just by noticing and talking about them is teaching the children to be observant and learn to ask the questions.
Teaching science in early childhood is all about observation and discovery. It is taking time to notice the geese flying overhead. It is watching a bug crawl along in the grass or an ice cube melt on the sidewalk. It is looking at the differences in the rocks that we find on our walks. It is talking about the changes in the weather, the appearance of buds on the trees, the sprouting of a seedling.
Even NOT knowing the answers to the questions encourages scientific learning, providing an opportunity to show the children how to find the answers through observation, comparison, hypotheses, experimentation and conclusion. Remember all those horrible definitions we had to learn? Early childhood is not about the definition, but about discovery! Children don't care what hypothesis means, but they will give you many suggestions of how the holes got in the bread. As you discuss the idea with them, some ideas they will dismiss as far-fetched an unlikely, while others are highly practical, and lo and behold, you are teaching science!
Providing science resources and materials becomes easier as you take advantage of the things you see in everyday life. A tub filled with leaves, twigs, rocks, seed pods and shells is a collage box for an art activity. On the other hand, if you separate those same items into individual boxes or baskets and bowls, then include a magnifying glass, a growing plant and a book or two about leaves, plants and rocks, it becomes a science activity center.
There are many science resources available for you to get more ideas that you can easily incorporate into your schedule for scientific learning. Try some of these resources and take a leap into science. Watch the children in your care blossom with inquisitive observation and experimentation, and maybe even see some of your own fear of science melt away with the ice cube on the sidewalk.
National Geographic science activities for kids
PBS Kids science activities
Kid's Science at ACS
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