Young children do not think in two dimensions.
If they are presented with a picture, they are often unable to truly grasp its meaning, because they are not yet capable of symbolic thought.
It is therefore imperative that they are given every opportunity to participate in their learning on three dimensions.
Play dough provides the perfect medium for this. For this activity, we created the planet Earth out of blue and green play dough.
Our older students then used a tape measure to measure the circumference of their planets. The tactile experience of manipulating play dough helps children develop a deeper understanding of how matter changes (physics) and encourages them to use scientific thinking as they observe changes, make predictions, and talk through differences in the materials they are using. The fine motor skills needed for writing and drawing are also refined as children roll, poke, and shape their play dough creations.