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Science is a very broad subject for kids in the pre-k age group to grasp. Hands-on projects are the best way to teach science in a pre-K classroom. Children learn best when the material presented is relevant to their lives and their experiences, so a good place to begin teaching science is with weather. There are several easy pre-K winter science projects you can use to get children excited about making observations, drawing conclusions, and the scientific method. Draw on the children's prior knowledge of simple science concepts and expand your pre-K science curriculum.
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Children in any climate can understand melting ice. For children who live where snow is abundant, you can do this experiment with either snow or ice.
- Ice cubes (or snow balls)
- Styrofoam plates
- Paper and crayons for observations
- Poster board and marker
- Choose three to five different places in your classroom to place two ice cubes or snow balls on styrofoam plates. Good places to try are near a window, near a heater, and near the center of the room.
- Use a large piece of poster board to write down the time you placed the ice on the plates.
- Have children use the paper and crayons to draw a picture of their observation of the ice when it was placed on the plate.
- Each hour, observe what has happened to each plate of ice. Has the ice near the window melted slower or faster than the ice near the heater?
- Have children keep track of their observations each hour. Make an observation book, tracking the ice changes each hour.
- Add another dimension to this experiment by adding salt to one of the ice cubes on each plate. How does this change how it melts?
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This simple experiment sharpens the children's observational skills and can be done with very little adult supervision, making it a perfect project for free science center exploration.
- Light objects: feather, drinking straw, paper scraps, cotton ball, yarn
- Heavy objects: unit block, rock, paperweight
- Paper and crayons for observation
- Have children place objects a few inches away from them on a table one at a time.
- Children will blow on objects to simulate the wind.
- Use paper and crayons to draw a picture illustrating their observations of this experiment.
- Change it up by blowing very lightly on the object. How far does the object go versus blowing very hard. What if you blow through a drinking straw?
- Create a class book of the children's wind observations.
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This project may take some prior planning. In the early fall or late summer, take pictures of the schoolyard or the area surrounding the school. Be sure to capture what the trees and grass look like, as well as any animals that may have built their homes near your school. Create a class book about nature in the backyard. Keep this book displayed in your science center for children to explore on their own.
- Warm winter clothing
- Paper and crayons for observations
- Backyard Nature classroom book
- Bundle the children up in warm winter clothing and explain that you are going to take a nature walk. Tell the children you will be visiting the same places you visited earlier in the year when you created your Backyard Nature classroom book.
- Observe the differences in the areas of the schoolyard. How are the trees different from what they were in the fall? Is the grass the same color? Can you find any animal homes?
- Take pictures of the same places you observed in the early fall.
- Have children document their observations.
- Create a new classroom book that highlights your winter nature observations.
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Science Is Fun!
Science with young students does not have to be boring or overly difficult. Get your children excited about beginning science concepts by doing a few easy pre-K winter science projects. Introducing them to science early will open a whole new world of learning for them.
Photo Credit: http://morguefile.com/archive/display/106560
"Science is Simple: Over 250 Activities for Preschoolers" by Peggy Ashbrook; 2003
Author's own classroom experience