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Coming up with helpful early childhood science lessons can be difficult. This lesson plan will help you explain to children how to “think like a scientist," and will give them a love for science that will carry over into any future science activities.
To start these early childhood science lessons, follow these steps:
- Fill a large basin with water and have children gather around it.
- Give each child one of the following objects: an ice cube (in a baggie), a rock, a plastic cup, a sugar cube, and a cotton ball.
- Have each child predict what will happen if she puts the object she is holding into the water. Write down their predictions.
- Then have the children take turns dropping their objects into the water and comparing what happens to what they predicted would happen. For example, a child might think that the sugar cube will float, and will be surprised when it disintegrates.
- Talk about what might have happened with each object.
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Thinking Like a Scientist
Teach your students that science explains what happens in the world around us, and that scientists are people who try to understand how the world around us works. Tell students that in the opening activity, they were working like scientists. First, they tried to predict what would happen. Then, they did an experiment to see if their prediction was right. Then they discussed what happened and why it might have happened.
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Building the Tallest Tower
Tell students that they will all be scientists today. They will use what they have learned to figure out how to build the tallest tower with a pile of blocks.
- First, have them discuss what they think will help them build the biggest tower–putting larger bIocks on top or on the bottom, using several blocks in a layer, avoiding blocks that are a certain shape, etc.
- Then let them “experiment" to find out whether their predictions were right.
- If children have a hard time comparing the size of their towers, you may want to measure it by having one child stand up next to the tower and seeing exactly where the tower reaches on his body (e.g., “It just reaches your elbow.")
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Lesson Wrap Up
Finish up these early childhood science lessons with a read aloud of a book about scientists, such as “What is a Scientist" by Barbara Lehn. Ask children to discuss whether they learned anything new from the book, as well as how the book connected to what they did in the rest of the lesson.
Early Childhood Lesson Plans: Two Scientific Experiments
This series includes several lesson plans for early childhood teachers, including introductory lessons on science and math.