Sunday, January 27, 2008

Science for Preschoolers: Part I

Typically thinking about science may conjure thoughts of glass beakers, periodic tables, and scientific methods. However, science for the preschooler is a bit more simplistic in nature. You can still expect your preschooler to use six crucial thinking steps to utilize science. The following is a list of the six thinking levels. 1. Your preschooler is able to discover! This may be the most exciting step and the most natural because it is a preschoolers' full-time job to discover. As the parent/teacher, you can encourage your child to think about what she is discovering by asking questions about what it is she is discovering. 2. Gathering information is something that a preschooler seems to do just as naturally and goes hand in hand with discovery. Preschoolers love to ask questions and that gives parents the okay to ask questions as well. You can ask "why do you think...?" questions to get a good idea of how your preschooler views the world. 3. Understanding is the next thinking level of science for a preschooler. Again asking questions of your preschooler but these questions are more of the "why did that happen?" or "what did you notice?" questions. 4. Experimenting is a level of trying new things with an activity, some variation. This is a perfect opportunity for asking the child about their observations of the comparison between the two scenarios. 5. Evaluating ideas accessing the different scenarios. You would ask "What would happen if we try this?" to encourage the child to explore different hypothesis in their mind. 6. Adjusting is the last level and this happens when a hypothesis or what they thought would happen, did not turn out quite the way they expected. Now the questions that are relevant are again "why do you think....?" You can observe these levels of thinking in your preschooler as you create situations for them to learn from. I will be posting some age-appropriate science activities next Sunday, as a part of a four part series, to give you some ideas of everyday things that can be used for scientific exploration.

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