This is the sixth best practice brief, a concise but in depth article detailing research based, authentic, and age appropriate experiences for young children. Dr. Whaley says, "Science is a way of looking at the world rather than a collection of facts and knowledge." She should know since she spends her days watching people of all ages experience the world of science at COSI (Columbus) where she is the Vice President for Education and Guest Operations.
In addition to some theory and background information, Kim shares wonderful practical snippets of how children and their teacher(s) might explore a winter's snow by observing, inferring, questioning, hypothesizing, planning, predicting, investigating, interpreting, communicating, relating, and applying. (author/nmb)
Earth and Space Sciences for Early Childhood
Processes that Shape the Earth
Observe and use language or drawings to describe changes in the weather (e.g., sunny to cloudy day).
Scientific Inquiry for Early Childhood
Doing Scientific Inquiry
Ask questions about objects, organisms and events in their environment during shared stories, conversations and play (e.g., ask about how worms eat).
Show interest in investigating unfamiliar objects, organisms and phenomena during shared stories, conversations and play (e.g., "Where does hail come from?").
Predict what will happen next based on previous experiences (e.g., when a glass falls off the table and hits the tile floor, it most likely will break).
Investigate natural laws acting upon objects, events and organisms (e.g., repeatedly dropping objects to observe the laws of gravity, observing the life cycle of insects).
Use one or more of the senses to observe and learn about objects, organisms and phenomena for a purpose (e.g., to record, classify, compare, talk about).
Explore objects, organisms and events using simple equipment (e.g., magnets and magnifiers, standard and non-standard measuring tools).
Begin to make comparisons between objects or organisms based on their characteristics (e.g., animals with four legs, smooth and rough rocks).
Record or represent and communicate observations and findings through a variety of methods (e.g., pictures, words, graphs, dramatizations) with assistance.
Scientific Ways of Knowing for Early Childhood
Nature of Science
Offer ideas and explanations (through drawings, emergent writing, conversation, movement) of objects, organisms and phenomena, which may be correct or incorrect.