Explore. Design. Create.
Philosophy: Our science enrichment classes are dedicated to fostering children's natural scientific curiosity. We believe it is our job to design and present opportunities that allow them to discover more about the world.
Read Aloud: I love, love, love books and I love sharing them with kids. Each class starts off with
a short read aloud that introduces the day's scientific concept. There are multiple purposes for
starting class with a read aloud. First, it brings us together as a group with a shared experience
of the science concept. For example, when we explored liquids in the Beginning Chemistry class,
we started class by reading Anna Carries Water by Olive Senior. Together, we searched for the
liquid on each page and looked to see the various shapes of the containers that held the liquid.
Secondly, it encourages the young scientists to look for the science concept in their every day
world. More often than not, the read aloud is a fiction, picture book. We look for the science
concept in the picture book and I encourage them to continue to look for that concept in other
books that they read and throughout the day at home. This helps them integrate their learning
with their schema of the world. Finally, it encourages a love of reading and promotes early
Scientific Explorations: Depending upon the class content, we perform a number of different experiments and demonstrations to explore the concept for the day. The experiments are age appropriate and encourage the young scientists to do as much of the experiment as possible. The classes are interactive! Our philosophy is that young children learn best (and have the most fun!) when they are actually performing the experiments themselves.
Scientific Process: We engage in the scientific process together throughout class. After we question a concept, we will discuss and make hypotheses together. The young scientists and I will experiment to explore our questions and then loop back to our hypotheses. Were we right? Why or why not? I continually frame our discussions in scientific vocabulary and encourage the young students to do the same.
Create: Particularly during our engineering classes, the scientists engage in tinkering. During our Things That Fly class, the children perform a few experiments to learn about air resistance and drag. They are then given materials to create an airplane, but no instructions about how to build an airplane with little drag. Instead, they are encouraged to brainstorm, build, test and improve upon their vehicle. I carefully choose materials that are likely to yield successful results and am always
available to help if a child is stuck. But I never underestimate children's creativity and ingenuity!
Art: Whenever possible, we integrate art. For example, during our Things That Fly class, we learned about
gravity, air resistance and parachutes. After our experiments and engineering activities, the kids used eye
droppers to squeeze paint onto their paper. They then held the paper up to observe gravity pull the paint
drops downward. The results were beautiful and the process was educational! In the Beginning Chemistry:
What's the Matter? class, we learned about chemical reactions and how to recognize that a chemical
reaction has occured. We then used invisible ink to create beautiful images for our families to discover at home.
The invisible ink becomes visible when the children paint grape juice on top of it, causing a chemical reaction,
and changing the color of the ink!
(Blowing through a straw to spread paint)
Parachute Gravity Painting
Fun: Anything I can do to make the concepts fun and engaging! A giant elephant's toothbrush? A silly song about
liquids? A drag, thrust, lift, weight game? Creating our own super heroes? If it's going to make the class exciting for
the young scientists, then we do it!