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GETTING STARTED WITH SCIENCE... According to the dictionary, the root of the word science is knowledge. Science is a way of knowing, a way of understanding and organizing information for the purposes of appreciating interactions and the basis of relationships between organisms, materials and objects (OMOs). Many of these relationships, however, are not necessarily intuitive and as educators we can assist students by illuminating these connections, defining relationships and facilitating their explorations.

For a variety of reasons, science can be intimidating to many teachers, parents and students. Science content is both vast and diverse, but key concepts, big ideas, provide the necessary context that makes content more manageable, meaningful and relevant. It is important to remember that science is more than just an accumulation of isolated facts and ideas or a series of self-directed experiments presented without context or explanation. The goal of education, of teaching and learning, of how and what students learn, of how and what we teach, and how and what we assess should never be rote memorization or regurgitation of the facts. Rather, our goal should be to provide students with: 1) a solid foundation for further and future learning; and, 2) the necessary skill sets and opportunities to apply what they have learned.

Critical to this process is creating science experiences that engage both the hands and mind. In the classroom, and beyond, we can provide children with opportunities where they can experience the world around them, and through these experiences gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of how things work. As educators and parents we can help children develop the skill sets necessary for problem-solving and critical thinking and reasoning--skills that can be applied in a variety of real-world situations, including science.

Similarly, helping children develop and apply process skills doesn’t require an advanced degree. Observing a squirrel gathering nuts or lying on the ground and tracking the movements of clouds across the skies requires only time and patience. Comparing the types of clouds in the sky or comparing how long it takes for different types of seeds to germinate doesn't require fancy equipment or a lot of money. Measuring and mixing ingredients for a healthy, nutritious recipe can be done at home or at school. Comparing the wide of variety apples or other types of fruits at the local market or counting and comparing the number and organization of seeds is an afternoon of discovery well spent. Sometimes all science requires is our ability to recognize a teachable moment, a learning opportunity or that there is even a question to be asked.

The Science Experience || Exploring Six Key Concepts || Process and Reasoning Skills || Think Big! || Who Knew...

Creative Science & Math Expressions: 4 and 5 Year Olds Take On Snowflake Design, Symmetry and the Hexagon

After a discussion of snowflakes and hexagons, the children were presented with a variety of snowflake-related activities. In this activity, the children are provided with a tray of tessels (geometric shapes) and a printed six-branched template on which to build their snowflakes. To help guide the activity, the children were first asked to find six pieces which were all the same shape and color, and position these as the first layer to their snowflake. The only constraint placed on the subsequent design process is that the pattern for each of the branches should be the same. The designs ran the gamut from simple and elegant to elaborate and multi-layered. In addition, children were also asked to create hexagons using various combinations of tessels. Note: if tessels are not available, nearly any collection of objects with varying shapes and colors can be used as long as a minimum of 6 units for each shape and/or color combination are available. (see also: how2SNOWFLAKES)

how2INQUIRY. Put Your Science Inquiry Skills to the Test with these Super Minds-On and Hands-On Activities!

What's Your Hypothesis: Are Polar Bears Left-Handed (Left-Pawed)?

Try Ella's Experiment! For the elementary science fair Ella, age 6, designed an experiment to answer the following question: which will evaporate first...water, apple juice or oil?

Form your own hypothesis. Which do you think will evaporate first? How did you arrive at your choice? Ask yourself, what do you know about water, apple juice and oil that might affect your decision? What do you know about evaporation?

In deriving your hypothesis and designing the experiment, ask yourself what you know about liquids and evaporation, then begin filling in the gaps. Write down at least three questions that will help you expand your knowledge and understanding of liquids and evaporation.

Stay tuned for more from Ella's Experiment!

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See What's Growing in the Knowledge Garden!
Increase your Environmental Literacy with Engaging Activities and Projects Designed to Challenge Young Minds

Follow That Sunflower!
Buy it Now - BONUS: Scamper This!

When two young friends suddenly find themselves lost in a field of towering sunflowers they embark on an exciting phototropic adventure. Can you uncover the mystery behind the sun following sunflowers and help them navigate their way home?

Get ready to explore, experience and engage your senses with ten, fun-filled activities developed for intrepid young explorers like you!

Inspector Kibbutz MysteryInspector Kibbitz is hot on the trail of the Sunflower Bandit! Are you ready to join the adventure? Let's go!

Parent/Teacher READING

One Tree, Many Forests
Nurturing Multicultural Awareness
Through Environmental Education

Minds-on and Hands-on Experiments to add to your summer activities!

Earth Buddy 365
Sunflower Activity Guide includes Make Every Day Earth Day activities

Grab your set of Action Cards and start adding up your Earth Buddy points!

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Workshop Resources
Click on the conference logo for workshop handouts, resources and SCAMPER bookmark.

Who Knew... Commentary

Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children
2008 || 2009

NSTA-Colorado Regional Conference
Workshop Session Handouts


READ IT ONLINE! (December 2009)
"Snowflake Patterning: Exploring Hexagons Using Multiple Real-World Contexts"


Observe. Classify. Measure.
Infer. Predict. Communicate.


Expanded Insect-Related Activities
for Spring and Summer

SCAMPER Your Way to Creativity!

Science Essentials
Science Essentials: The Building Blocks

Discover how three skills, four questions, five senses and six thematic threads can guide all your science explorations!


Getting ready for NAEYC Accreditation? Need to update your center? Learn how-to create a dynamic center and center-based activities.

Designing Enrichment Programs

how2 Maximize Benefits
for Teachers and Students

how2SCIENCE-A Practical Guide For Teachers

A Practical Guide to Developing Enriched Science Content
(ECE and Elementary)

Inquiry-based Methodology
Hands-on/Minds-on Learning Approach
Critical/Scientific Reasoning Skills
Life, Physical & Earth/Space Content
Over 50 Explore Activities

To read an excerpt, click here.

Great Reads! how2FIVE SENSES

by Tami Ellison, M.S.

Discover the science behind the
five senses with 35+ engaging
discovery activities.
Download it!

Developing Your Science Stories... Think about how you choose a book to read with your class. Does the book contain only pictures or only words, or both words and illustrations? Are the characters interesting or compelling? Is the plotline, the story, engaging? Is there a moral to the story, a take-home message? Think about the setting you use to read with your class. The circle time, a large group activity is conducive to an interactive discussion. Your class not only has an opportunity to listen to you, but to hear from their classmates. It is a time to process information and to reflect.

Some components of your science explorations are best suited to such a large group setting, while other activities or experiments are best conducted in small groups.

Read more about Creating Dynamic Science Experiences every time!

Click here for
EPIC Science Introduction
Hands-on and Minds-on Science for Inclusive Classrooms

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