Young children are naturally curious. They wonder what things are called, how they work, and why things happen. The foundations of scientific learning lie in inquiry and exploration — these are the tools of active learning. Fostering young children’s sense of curiosity about the natural world around them can promote a lifelong interest in it. Scientific learning should not be limited to a particular “science time.”
Early childhood teachers should look for opportunities to develop children’s understanding of scientific concepts in all content areas. To do so, children need to observe things first-hand as much as possible. The younger the children, the simpler and more concrete the activities need to be. It is for this reason that whenever our class is learning about something, I try to make it as three-dimensional as possible. It is one thing for them to see a picture of a concept, it is another thing for them to actually experience it. For this activity, your little one participated in an engineering activity! Using toilet paper rolls, cardboard, and goats, they constructed and then tested a bridge. Students worked in teams that focused on the weight and durability of their bridges. Because this week involved us learning about the Billy Goats Gruff, we gradually placed one goat after another on our bridges until they fell. We then counted the goats to see how many would fall and get gobbled up by the troll. Students enjoyed this component, because it was so unpredictable! As a result, your little ones explored the scientific process, and examined the results of cause and effect!