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Science Essentials

The Building Blocks

SMArt-Integrating

Science, Math & Art

Encouraging

Young Explorers

Developing A

Science Story

Building Process And

Problem-Solving Skills

Developing Context-

Based Content

Creating Embedded

Opportunities For

Further Learning

 

Go to:  how2CLOUDS

Go to:  how2TOPICS

The Science Story: Content, Process & Discovery

Set realistic goals. Some concepts and principles are too involved, complicated or far removed from the child’s world to be meaningful for young children. For young children, the information is not the end game. Realistically, some of the information will stick; much of it won't. We're not going to stuff a lifetime of learning into a child's head and we shouldn't even try.

The goal of teaching science to young children should never be rote memorization, regurgitation of the facts, or an emphasis on content at the expense of concepts. Rather, as we engage children in science through stories, experiences and discussions we impart scientific foundations, source information that expands a child's understanding of the world around them. Most importantly, through the inquiry process we help children develop the skills and tools necessary for future learning.

This is the challenge of developing meaningful content that provides context to scientific principles and concepts for children. We fulfill our roles as facilitators by developing engaging science stories with appropriate visuals, and companion experiments and activities.

What science isn't. Science is not just about the “wow me” visual experiments and demonstrations. Stand-alone experiments provide little in the way of context.  Experiments need to be complemented with content that provides a contextual framework. One form of context is derived from the real world, the child's world, with materials that are familiar, and examples and references that can be easily observed, understood and assimilated. The second form of context relates to the subject matter itself. 

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Science Connections:  how2CLOUDS

One approach to a study of clouds is to take the class on a field trip outdoors (assuming you don’t live in the desert) and have a look at the clouds overhead.  You can conduct this study over a period of time, recording, drawing, describing and characterizing the types of clouds your class observes.

Knowledge and Content Progressions.   We can describe, compare and contrast the clouds in the sky on a given day or days, but what is a cloud? cloud formation is defined within the water cycle through the processes of evaporation and condensation.  Condensation is part of the process by which water/moisture in the air returns to the Earth in one of several forms of precipitation.  The source of water vapor in this ongoing cycle is from evaporation of water from the oceans, river, lakes and puddles, but also from plants (transpiration).  Condensation happens everyday, and not just up in the sky.  The water cycle describes the amazing transformation of water through its various states of matter:  solid, liquid and gas.

With how2CLOUDS, the content is directly linked, connected, to the water cycle.  The subject of clouds has greater meaning and value when set against the big picture backdrop of the water cycle.  Cloud formation and the role of clouds in the dynamics of climate change, weather and the world is defined through the water cycle and gives meaning to the question, “Why are clouds important?”

Is the water cycle a separate lesson?  Probably more than one.  There is more than enough to say and do with the subjects of condensation, evaporation and precipitation to fill several weeks of science exploration.  Think of your science story about clouds as just one chapter in a book, a very big book, where nearly every science topic can connected and related to another with very few degrees of separation. 

For feedback, comments or questions, contact how2team.

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