Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Child-Made Spinners!

The fidget spinner craze might just about be over, but there's still time to get children excited about creating and learning from their own spinner. Depending on the age of children, you can either cut out or have children cut their own shapes that look like the following: 


Children can decorate their spinners in any way that suits them. This is also a good opportunity to practice school-readiness skills and remind children to put their name or initials on their work. Give each child a paperclip to position on the spinner as shown in the photo.

Next have children "launch" their spinners by holding them up high, paperclip down and watching them "twirl" to the ground. Encourage talk about what was observed.


Then have children ask "what if" questions. For example, you might explore what would happen if more paperclips were used on each spinner. You could also launch spinners from various heights. How do spinners travel when you stand on a table? Does it spin differently when you are seated? You could make additional spinners of different types of paper. 

We encourage children to ask questions, make predictions, test their ideas, and then adjust thinking. As you know, this is good science, but it also sets the stage for helpful comprehension strategies when children begin reading. 

ELLs:
Remember that hands-on activities such as this are helpful in encouraging those in the "Silent Period" to begin trying new language skills with peers. This is one of the best ways to move children along the language learning continuum. 

Standards Alignment:
NAEYC - 2.G. & 2.K.03 & 04.
Head Start - I.A. & B.,XI.A. & B.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Act Out the Solar Eclipse

Here it comes!  The solar eclipse will be visible on August 21, 2017!  To help children learn how this works and to prepare for the darkness, explain how our solar system works in a child-friendly way. Involve children by acting out the process. We realize there are several helpful videos, which you can use to supplement this physical activity, but we believe that child participation is best for helping knowledge to grow at this age. 

We suggest creating large signs with images of the sun in yellow, the Earth in blue and green, and the moon in manilla (off-white). You may want to give the "Sun" a flashlight to hold. Of course, as fans of sight word development you can also label the signs. Three children can hold the signs and create the "Solar Eclipse Play." 

Position the child with the sun and flashlight in front of the child with the Earth sign. Discuss how this is normally the way the sun and Earth appear. Talk about the light of the sun that shines on Planet Earth. Then ask the child with the sign, Moon, to spin in between the Earth and Sun. Ask children to discuss what happens to the light from the sun. Encourage a grand conversation about science and astronomy! 

Standards Alignment:
NAEYC - 2.G. & 2.K.03 & 04.
Head Start - I.A. & B.,XI.A. & B.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

More Sun Fun


As we approach the solar eclipse, we thought this is the perfect time to help your children discover more about the sun. Here are a few favorites to allow for inquiry, critical thought, along with receptive and expressive language.

Set up a large pole next to pavement. Ask children to trace the shadow. As the day progresses, have children trace the changing shadow. Ask why this shadow changes. Encourage sharing of thoughts.

Put out a piece of dark construction paper. Children can choose an object to place on the paper. Leave the paper with the object in the sun. Later, remove the objects. Encourage children to describe what has happened. Invite discussion about why the object’s shape can be seen on the paper.

Show children red grapes. Ask what might happen if you leave these grapes in the sun. Make a list of children’s responses. Then leave the grapes outside for about three days (of course, you will need sunny days). Each day have children observe the grapes and ask if anyone wants to change their prediction. We like this part as it shows children that scientists do change their ideas based on data. After three days, the red grapes will look (and be!) raisins. Of course, do not eat them as they have been outside and bugs, etc. will have made them unsafe to consume. 

Standards Alignment:
NAEYC - 2.G. & 2.K.03 & 04.
Head Start - I.A. & B.,XI.A. & B.