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Science Teaching Tips and Activities

The Rotten Truth—Discovering Decay!

Bonnie Blagojevic, Victoria Grotton, Suzen Polk-Hoffses, and Karen Thomes
Describes a preschool unit centered on pumpkin decomposition that encourages children to make predictions about and observational drawings of rotting pumpkins as they explore several important science topics including living vs. nonliving, decomposition and decomposers, and nutrient cycles. Teaching Young Children, 10(1).

Preschoolers Play With Bamboo

Condie Ward
The author recounts the different imaginative ways that her children found to play with bamboo. Through a narrative the author shares insights for managing and extended children's interest in the use of bamboo stalks one the playground, and shares ways this natural element helped to promote children's social and personal, physical, cognitive and creative development. Teaching Young Children, 10(1).

Full STEAM Ahead. Integrating Music, Drama, and Dance Helps Children Explore and Learn

Jennifer Cooper
Makes the case for arts-integrated teaching and states that through, "singing, dancing, imagining, and connecting their bodies and minds, children learn more deeply and meaningfully, especially in subjects like reading, math, and science." Provides a, "the monkeys are loose at the zoo" scenario for children to engage in arts and engineering learning. Teaching Young Children, 9(4).

Inspired by Museums—Both Outside and Inside the Classroom

Kimberlee Kiehl
Describes the importance of and ideas for sharing objects, collections, and exhibits with children and provides ideas for forming collections and creating exhibits. The author urges and provides tips for teachers to, Bring in real objects, Use objects as starting places for asking questions, Invite families to contribute, Plan exhibitions, and Think about places to visit and explore as alternatives to museums. Examples for learning about bugs and The Wizard of Oz are provided. Teaching Young Children, 9(4).

The Science of Superheroes

Sarah Erdman and Meredith Downing
Describes the Science of Superheroes unit of study the authors developed for their preschool classroom. This interdisciplinary unit includes a week of children imagining the superpowers that fictional superheroes might possess and exploring the real-life animal that uses each power, such as: Invisibility through camouflage—Butterflies, Super speed—Cheetahs, Breathing under water—Fish, and Flying—Birds. Teaching Young Children, 8(3).

Promoting Children's Science Inquiry and Learning Through Water Investigations

Cindy Hoisington, Ingrid Chalufour, Jeff Winokur, and Nancy Clark-Chiarelli
Describes a professional development program in science for early childhood teachers: Foundations of Science Literacy that centers on water investigations. The article highlights 5 practices that facilitated children's long-term investigations of water, including: creating a physical environment for science inquiry learning, facilitating direct experiences that promote conceptual learning, promoting student use of scientific inquiry practices, etc. Teaching Young Children, 8(1).

Ready, Set, Learn! We're Off to the Moon

Marie Faust Evitt
The author describes her integrated mission to the moon unit in her 4- and 5-year-old preschool class. Inspired by and capitalizing on her children's interest in "playing Star Wars," she created a space travel based, integrated unit that provided opportunities to connect science, math, literacy, language, art, and drama. Exploring craters, jumping and eating like astronauts, and more. Teaching Young Children, 7(3).

From a Science Shelf to a Science Museum

"Pre-K teachers Ann Moore and Gisela Palmer planned an environment that would provoke wonder and invite children to be curious. Knowing that 4-year-olds love animals and dinosaurs, they set up a visually appealing space with animal manipulatives and materials, exploration tools, and a science table where children could work." Teaching Young Children, 6(2).

Making and Taking Virtual Field Trips in Pre-K and the Primary Grades

Dennis J. Kirchen
The author shares strategies and resources for taking your children on "virtual field trips" – defined as: "a technology-based experience that allows children to take an educational journey without leaving the classroom." Teaching Young Children, 6(2).

Pumpkin Fun - Safe, Tasty, and Educational

This one-pager lists creative ways to use pumpkins in your classroom and provides a couple of additional resources, including a recipe for pumpkin seeds – yum! Teaching Young Children, 6(1).

Creatures in the Classroom - Including Insects and Small Animals in Your Preschool Gardening Curriculum

Alyse C. Hachey and Deanna Butler
Authors share tips for exploring, collecting, and caring for creatures that may be found in your school garden. Many resources for exploring insects are provided, including books for teachers, books for children, and websites for all. Teaching Young Children, 5(5).

Planting Smart - Tips for Garden Safety

"Organic gardening is a great way to promote children's learning about and appreciation for the natural world. However, it's important to keep safety in mind when gardening with preschoolers. Here are a few safety tips." Teaching Young Children, 5(5).

Unplanned Explorations and Lively Minds

Kelly Matthews
Recounts a teacher capturing a teachable moment with mirrors. During a face painting activity a student "turned the mirror to? see his cheek but realized there were other things he could see too—the wall and poster, and even the art materials on the shelf behind him!...That was the start of an unplanned exploration that lasted all morning!" Teaching Young Children, 5(3).

Science in the Air

Sherrie Bosse,Gera Jacobs, and Tara Lynn Anderson
Article makes the case for engaging children in science explorations while outlining a general strategy for leading science lessons. Several examples from the life, physical, and earth sciences are presented. Teaching Young Children, 4(5).

Sun Safety

Sue Mackiw
The author presents sun safety tips and policies, along with several activities and children's books related to sun safety. Teaching Young Children, 4(5).

For the Birds – Seeing, Bein,g and Creating the Bird World

Michele Russo with Susan Gallagher Colurciello and Rebecca Kelly
This article provides ideas for helping young children to observe birds and has several connections to other curricular areas including writing and dramatic play. Teaching Young Children, 3(4).

Playdough – What's Standard about it?

Mallary Swartz
Playdough is found in nearly all early childhood classrooms. This article provides ideas for increasing the educational value of playdough across all curricular areas, including science. Teaching Young Children, 3(3).

From Medicine to Microbes A Project Investigation of Health

Joan Youngquist
This articles describes a way for leading your children from dramatic "doctor play" to important science and health learning. Teaching Young Children, 1(4).

Tips for Gardening with Children

Karen Phillips
This short article lists important and practical tips for getting the most out of your school garden. Teaching Young Children, 1(2).