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Funding provided by the Government of Ontario.

Science/Discovery Centre

dinosaur-table

The children have shown an interest in learning about dinosaurs so my ECE partner and I decided to enhance the idea by making an attractive centre.  We used table cloths for water and land, we added wood pieces for children to do as they wish, and dinosaurs.  Children brought over the books that illustrated where they lived, some wrote the dinosaur names referenced in the books and I displayed their writing next to the table, and words that describe some new knowledge about dinosaurs are also posted.  The display is on our sandbox table which we decided to switch over for the week.  Simple, easy, and has sparked some new learning on the topic! 

Next we will change the sandbox into a Paleontologist work site.  We have bones from a left over turkey, some brushes, name tags and some fun dinosaur hats they can wear to begin their research in the sand!

painting-snow

A fun way to teach children how primary colours mix to create other colours is by painting snow.

I went to the dollar store and bought 6 spray bottles.  I took them to our class and we mixed small amounts of tempera paint, dish or laundry soap and water in them.  This allows the mixture to be washable, should any of it get on the children’s clothing.  We used only the primary colours (red, yellow and blue).  I took small groups of children (6 at a time), had them dress in their winter clothing and then we ventured out to our school yard to paint the snow. 

At first, I got them to take turns spraying only the colours I said, and where I said.  This gave them a demonstration of how to mix the colours and see what happens in a more controlled setting.  For example, first I asked the children with blue to spray a circle of blue on small spot of the white now.  Then, I asked the children with yellow to spray directly on the blue spots.  It only took moments for the snow to turn from blue to green.  The children’s eyes grew large in wonder!  I then allowed them to create their own colours, and asked them to tell me what they saw happening.

The children had a ton of fun creating colours and playing in the snow!

found-materials

I came a cross a great idea using found materials.  You can collect and gather a variety of recycled objects from around your home or ask your students to bring in materials, but I just focused on collecting lids.  I have collected various sizes, colours, and shapes.  From the dollar store I purchased a large, shallow tray to gather all the objects and some circular cork boards for children to arrange their materials on.  Choose a space in your room to house the materials or display them on a table–tray in the middle and cork boards around to create an inviting space.  Allow children to create designs based on colour, shapes or other attributes and see where the discussion may go….

Picture to follow shortly….

leaf-art

A fun fall activity that I did with my students late in the month of September was a leaf activity. The ideas ties in with our community and observing the world around them in nature. Children were responsible to collect leaves of any size, shape, and colour from around their neighbourhoods.  We displayed them on our light table and placed paper and crayons for the children to create leaf rubbings.  It really sparked some discussions around why leave change colours, what kind of trees they came from etc.  So I added some books to the centre about leave, and their colours.  It was a great conversation and it allowed me to work with children and show them how answers can be found by reading in a book.

Later, I read the book:  The Leaf Man by Lois Elhert.  This book was selected to spark/inspire a creation of a leaf person.  Children collected other outdoor materials like-rocks, sticks, flowers, pine cones to add.  On Dollar Store cookie sheets students placed their materials and created a person.  I took a picture of them and their design.  After I asked them questions and I recorded the children’s thought about their leaf person.  Some told me about what they used, some gave them names and told me be about family.  I typed up the information and posted the picture along with the write-up on construction paper and hung it around our classroom.  The children loved seeing themselves in the classroom and loved talking about what they created.  It was so cute and this simple activity sparked so much discussion building on their oral language skills!

egg-hatch

Recently, we took our kindergarten class to a local wildlife marsh.  The children got to see and explore so many different things in nature.  We had quick lessons on turtles, frogs, insects, plants, etc…it was a great connection to what our students have been so interested in learning about these past few weeks.  It was also a great way to do some inquiry-based learning while the children are so captivated by it all.

Today, I introduced them to a game called “Egg Hatch”.  I read a non-fiction book about things that came from eggs before we began the game.  Next, we all stood on the edge of our large carpet.  I explained that one person would crouch down and be an egg.  That person would think of something that came from an egg and would then pretend to grow into that animal.  I went first.  I was an egg that grew into a duck.  As soon as a child thought they knew what hatched, they had to put their hand in the air and I would then pick the person who could try to guess.  The person who guessed it first got to go next.  The children pretended to be frogs, turtles, birds, chickens and one child pretended to be a crocodile. 

Not everyone got a turn today due to our large class size, but we can play again tomorrow!

more-additions-to-our-butterfly-center

Our kindergarten children have continued to enjoy observing our butterfly eggs and caterpillars.  Every morning they have continued to check on how they have grown, if at all.

Today, we added blank paper, pencils and magnifying glasses to the center.  The children were given the opportunity to take a closer look at the eggs and caterpillars and then record their findings.  Some of the children drew pictures, and some of the children wrote descriptions.  Some of the children did both.  A few of the children took their pictures to the art center where they decorated the butterfly with various materials.  Some added glitter, some coloured them, and some glued construction paper pieces to them.  They were very creative!

adding-literacy-to-science

Each morning this week the children have checked our butterfly eggs as soon as they walk into the classroom.

This morning, before the morning bell rang, we added a few non-fiction books about butterflies to the center.  During play time, we took note that almost half of class went to the centre during play time and looked through the books.  At one time, 4 children looked through one of the books together and discussed how the pictures of the eggs and caterpillars looked like the ones in our container.  Several children made predictions about what they thought our butterflies would look like compared to the books.

It has been wonderful to see how the children are enjoying this real-life science center.

observing-a-butterfly-life-cycle

Over the weekend, my teaching partner found Monarch butterfly eggs.  She picked the leaves they were on and put them in a clear plastic container adding holes in the top for air.  She brought them in for our class to see.  The children were mesmorized!

This morning, we checked the eggs and 3 of them hatched into tiny caterpillars.  Some of the children drew pictures of the container with leaves, eggs and the new caterpillars and asked if we could hang the pictures on the wall above the container.

This will be a great opportunity for our kindergarten children to see a real butterfly life cycle happen, instead of just reading or listening about one.  I am looking forward to watching the transformation myself!