Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Sense of Wonder: Thinking About Female Scientists

It's always important for our children to learn about good role models. We especially like to share examples of careers that children may not readily see. Last week we talked about our oceans and their essential role to life on Planet Earth. Many children do not always have the chance to think about those who study our oceans and help protect them. This is a topic near and dear to my heart as my husband was an early researcher studying the impacts of plastic pollution in our ocean waters.

Share stories of people like Sylvia Earle who was a pioneer in living underwater in a specially constructed "home." This helped scientists live beneath the surface of the ocean for weeks at a time. Imagine what these scientists could see!

This is exactly what you can invite your children to consider. Show photographs of the ocean. Talk about the darkness in the deep parts of an ocean. Imagine what it might be like to try and learn about fish and plants that stay in these deep waters. We suggest beginning sentences with "I wonder..." to have a grand conversation.

Marie Tharp is another female scientist who contributed to what we know about oceans. She used the mathematical information from naval ships to map the floor of the ocean. It was her work that showed the world that the ocean had hills, valleys, and ridges. She found a large ridge we call the "backbone of the earth." Today her maps hang in the offices of many scientists.

After telling the brief story of Marie Tharp, ask your children to wonder what a map of the ocean floor might look like. Ask them to draw their own maps. You can use this activity to discuss perspective. Do children draw their maps so they are looking down at the floor of the ocean?

Katy Payne* listened carefully to the sounds that whales make. She used special tools to record these underwater sounds. She even made pictures showing what whale songs look like. Then she found out that whales can change their songs and other whales learn the new songs!

Ask your children to wonder what whale songs might sound like. Have children sing possible whale songs to each other. Then play actual whale songs so children can check their guesses. You can hear whale songs from Katy Payne here.

Standards Alignment:
NAEYC - 2.G.03.
Head Start - XI.B.1.

*Next week, our activity packet will feature Katy Payne. Be sure you are signed up to receive these. Just add your email in the yellow box above.

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