The Importance of Science
Young children are curious and fascinated by the world around them. Many of the science and nature topics that children enjoy the most are about animals, insects, plants, the weather, rocks, etc. The discovery area offers many opportunities to promote children’s learning:
Life science (plants and animals)– children learn how plants and animals live, how they grow, and how they move.
Physical science – by including balls, ramps and magnets, children learn how things move, and by mixing different combinations of thighs (water, flour, salt, sugar, baking soda) children learn about the physical properties of objects.
Earth and the environment – by including rocks, shells and other items from the earth’s surface, children learn about earth and the environment
Science projects should be fun and interesting. They do not need to be time-consuming or complicated. The goal is to get children to ask questions and see if they can find ways of answering questions. Science projects at this level should be relatively brief, preferably accomplished within one session.
Here are some science activities that are fun, interesting and educational:
First make the 'cone' of the baking soda volcano. Mix 6 cups flour, 2 cups salt, 4 tablespoons cooking oil, and 2 cups of water. The resulting mixture should be smooth and firm (more water may be added if needed). Stand the soda bottle in the baking pan and mold the dough around it into a volcano shape. Don't cover the hole or drop dough into it. Fill the bottle most of the way full with warm water and a bit of red food color (can be done before sculpting if you don't take so long that the water gets cold). Add 6 drops of detergent to the bottle contents. The detergent helps trap the bubbles produced by the reaction so you get better lava. Add 2 tablespoons baking soda to the liquid. Slowly pour vinegar into the bottle. Watch out - eruption time!
You will need 3 empty water bottles, food coloring, vegetable oil, and alka seltzer. Fill each bottle a little more than half with oil: Then fill the rest of the way with water. Leave about an inch at the top: Now add 10 drops of food coloring: Break your Alka Seltzer into 4 pieces: and drop them in one piece at a time. Wait until the first piece stops bubbling before you drop in the next and watch the magic happen If too many go in, you solution gets all cloudy.
What Melts Ice the Fastest?
You will need hot water, salt, sugar, vinegar, baking soda
Freeze cups of water - 1 for each substance used. Remove ice from cups and put on a dish or tray (be sure it's deep enough to retain the melting ice water).
Have substances to be used readily available along with spoons and droppers for pouring. First discuss what you were to do and let children make predictions over which items they think would melt the ice the fastest. Have child(ren) add substances to each ice block, wait for 5 minutes and note the reactions, and discuss what has happened to the ice. Which one is melting the fastest, slowest, and discuss any noticeable changes - cracks, holes, etc in the ice. Record the results. Be sure to discuss if the predictions made were correct and what was learned.
If you spill water and clean it up with paper towel you can see the water disappearing into the paper. This is called absorption – the paper is absorbing the water. fill 2 cups with water, add blue dye to one cup and yellow dye to the other. Put an empty cup in between them. Roll 2 paper towels. Place the end of one towel into the blue dye and one end of the other towel in the yellow dye. Bend both the towels and put the loose ends into the empty cup and watch the magic happen. As the colored water is absorbed in the towel it makes its way up and then into the empty cup. The blue and yellow food dyes combine making green water.
“What Dissolves in Water?”
Find things in your pantry that dissolve, along with a few that you know wouldn’t dissolve: for example, flour, sugar, brown sugar, orzo noodles, cornmeal, colored sprinkles. Fill water into clear cups (one for each substance), then let children make predictions over which substance they think will dissolve and which will not dissolve). Have children add substances into each cup and see the results. Record children’s predictions and results on the chart.
Clouds in cups
First read about clouds and rainbows in simple terms. Discuss with children how the cloud fills up with moisture and the moisture then turns into rain and falls to the ground…
The process: Give each child a clear cup filled 2/3’s with water. In addition, each child will share four cups of colored water, using food coloring, with a partner. Every child will have a dropper to work with… add shaving cream on top of the water in each child’s cup. Let children how add drops of color on top of the shaving cream then watch carefully as the color made its way through the “cloud” and then dropped into the clear water down below…
Magical Monster Slime
1 teaspoon Borax powder, 1 1/2 c. water, divided, 4 oz. (or 1 cup) clear or white Elmer's glue,
food coloring (some people had trouble when using blue food coloring). You can use a different color, glitter (the secret ingredient that makes it magical!)
Fill a small bowl (or measuring cup it you have two) with 1 cup of water and add 1 teaspoon of Borax powder. Mix until the Borax is dissolved and set aside. Pour glue into a bowl and add 1/2 cup of water, then add about four drops of food coloring to the glue mixture. Stir it up a bit and add a bunch of glitter. Now add the Borax mixture gradually to the glue mixture and watch it begin to solidify-- start mixing it all up with hands.
Magic Milk Paint
This project is the perfect mix of art, science, and fun. You need milk, food coloring, dish soap, and a toothpick. Start off by pouring your milk (whole milk works the best) into a small dish with a lip (Tupperware lids work really well). After the milk is poured, add a few drops of various colors of food coloring all around your dish. Now comes the “magic” toothpick. Dip a toothpick in a little dish soap and put it in the food coloring. The reaction of the soap disrupting the surface tension of the milk causes the colors to radiate away from the toothpick.
Have an "I spy"-like collection of pom poms, dominoes, blocks, paper clips, and a bunch of other wooden, rubber, and metallic objects from your classroom or home. The children get to use the magnet wand to found out which object is magnetic and which is not. Children can sort them in the appropriate jars.
Put some objects that sink and some that float next to the water table or the in the dishpan filled with water. Let the children experiment to find out what each object does in the water. First let them predict (“what do you think the wooden block will do? Will it sink or float?”) then let them see the result (“Yes, it floats!”). You can record their predictions and results on the chart.
Have a soil, pots, and seeds or small plants of basil, chives, oregano, mint, and other easy-to-grow herbs. Let the children pour a soil into the pots using small shovels or big spoons and then place the seeds in, and water them. Have the children help care for the plants. When the plants are big, children can taste the leaves and talk about how these plants smell and how they are used in cooking (“That’s oregano. We use oregano in pizza and spaghetti sauce.”)