Bat Caves – A STEM Activity

Children learn through experiences, and the earlier they are exposed to STEM-based hands-on learning experiences, the better.

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Engineering activities, by their nature, are an inquiry-based pedagogical strategy that promotes learning across disciplines.

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Engineering curricula introduces students of all ages to everyday applications of science, mathematics, technology and engineering that match their values and view of the world.

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This, and many of our other activities are designed to engage students in hands-on STEM experiences in order to improve their understanding of fundamental concepts in a way that capitalizes upon their design, visualization, creativity and teamwork skills and yearnings.

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For this activity, students were given sand blocks and toothpicks. They were told to construct a bat cave using the materials. After they finished, they teamed up with their friends to create even bigger structures!

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Tracing Ghosts

The tactile experience (touching a letter with your finger) is important for building a memory trace.

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This enables students to acquaint the name of each letter with a visual representation for the letter sound.

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For a child who is struggling with their letters, the sooner they can integrate the sound of the letter with what it looks like, the sooner their writing contains more meaning for them.

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For this activity, we talked about the letters in the word GHOST, particularly the letter G.

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We discussed words that begin with this letter, and then broke up additional letters into their component parts.

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Using our fingers, we moved to our writing trays, where we traced the letter G, using white paint and glitter.

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Exploding Monsters

Preschoolers are actively engaged in scientific learning, both inside the classroom and out. As they ask questions and seek answers to their “how” and “why” questions, they are beginning to practice scientific investigation. Science is also a way to find out about the world through exploration.

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Children are investigators by nature. When their natural desire to investigate is nurtured,  young children develop scientific minds. In our classroom, we create environments that engage the senses of our young students and allow them to sort and classify, handle, observe, and ask questions, which is how they construct ideas about the physical and natural world.

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For this activity, we used vinegar, baking soda, and play dough to create exploding monsters! Introducing chemistry to young children at the beginning of their academic journeys is very exciting and aids their capacity to grasp more elaborate scientific concepts later on.

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Chemistry also provides an exciting supplement to their learning as they perceive and learn about predictable actions. Lastly, experiments conducted independently make them more meaningful to your little scientist!

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Expanding Monsters

Activities that stimulate curiosity, teach science concepts, and avoid overwhelming or boring children with lessons are developmentally appropriate for the preschool classroom. When done well, preschool science is exciting and intellectually meaningful.

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The right preschool science activities can nurture your child’s natural sense of adventure and curiosity, help your child develop his own understanding of the natural world, encourage your child to be a persistent problem solver, and introduce your child to basic elements of scientific reasoning (seeking evidence; testing predictions). Because we are learning about monsters this week, we decided to combine vinegar and baking soda to create monster faces!

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We first poured 1/2 cup of vinegar into an empty water bottle. Then, we drew a face on the balloons while they were deflated. After that, we placed the funnel into the open end of the deflated balloon and poured in the baking soda. Following, we secured the open end of the balloon onto the top of the bottle being careful not to dump the contents of the balloon into the bottle quite yet.

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Finally, we held the balloon upright, allowing the baking soda to fall into the bottle and mix with the vinegar! So, why does this work? Your little one learned that the product of the vinegar and baking soda is carbon dioxide, a gas present when we breathe out. The carbon dioxide inflates the balloon. It’s that simple!

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Spider Web – Visual Discrimination Activity

Although most children develop the ability to focus visually and to make fine discriminations in visual images as they grow, some children will take longer to develop these skills and may need some additional help, or additional practice.

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Good visual perception is an important skill, especially for school success.

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Children need good visual perception to discriminate, copy text accurately, develop visual memory of things observed, develop good eye-hand coordination and integrate visual information while using other senses in order to perform tasks like recognizing the source of a sound, etc.

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This activity accessed these pertinent skills.

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Using a variety of different colanders, your little ones weaved spiders into a web of string, which targeted their ability to perceive spatial relations.

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Spider Web Collaborative

Using yarn and clothespins (with pictures of spiders on them), we created our very own spider web!

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This was a collaborative group project, and your little one enjoyed making our back yard a little more festive by attaching clothespins onto white yarn that represented the silk of a spider’s web!

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This activity incorporated the developmental domain of fine motor movement.  When attaching the clothespins to the yarn, your little one was practicing fine motor control and hand eye coordination.

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The importance of hand eye coordination lies in your child’s ability to manipulate their environment.  Simple hand-eye coordination techniques, such as weaving, beading, and manipulating small objects, are a great way to help your little one learn how to control their mind and their hands. 

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These skills are transferable to literacy, and when your little student is then exposed to holding a pencil, crayon or pair of scissors, the coordination will be in place.

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Name Books

During our first two months of school, we are learning how to write our name in new and creative ways!

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To help with this, I have created Name Books, which enable your little one to recognize and spell their name.

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Although we are still working on them, here is a glimpse into some of what we are doing!

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