- Chart: What do we know about scientists?
- Book: What Is a Scientist? by Barbara Lehn
- Identify resources and materials in the classroom that may be used for science exploration (technology, measurement tools, sorting objects, magnifying glasses, etc.)
- Familiarize yourself with the book, What Is a Scientist? by Barbara Lehn
- Make chart to record children's ideas
- Discussion about Scientists — Start the discussion by asking questions like What do you know about scientists? Extend the conversation by explaining that the class is going to learn about scientists and also be scientists! Explain that scientists ask questions to learn more about things that they are curious about, and then observe closely and test things out to answer their questions.
- Chart Activity — Invite children to brainstorm how to use their 5 senses. For instance, they can taste something to see if it tastes sweet or sour. Invite them to think how they can use their eyes, ears, hands, and nose. Record children's ideas and responses on the chart. Ask questions to help children frame their thinking about science and scientists. You will need to guide and scaffold the conversation depending on children's experience with science. For example, you could organize a discussion around some of the questions they themselves pose. However, coming up with testable questions may be challenging for young children (and may emerge only after they have seen you, their teacher, model it throughout the program). So you may decide to, instead, organize the discussion around things scientists do: for example, scientists observe closely and document what they notice. Explain that observe means to use your 5 senses to examine something closely and that document means to keep track of what you observe.
- Book Reading: 'What is a Scientist?' — You may begin by saying, Let's learn more about what scientists do! Ready? While reading, pause to return to children's ideas (written on the chart). You may also want to record ideas from the book that children may not have shared previously (for instance, when the book discusses the idea that scientists draw what they see, you can mention that scientists also use technology to document what they see and today you'll be using iPads to record what you see via videos and photos too!). While reading the book and talking about scientists, focus on using science vocabulary that will become central to investigations in the classroom. When the book discusses that scientists notice details, you may introduce the word observation, and when the book mentions the word prediction, you can explain that a prediction is when you say what you think will happen and why. Throughout the book reading, give examples that relate to the children in your classroom. For example, when the book discusses measurement, you may link it to a measurement activity they are doing in the classroom (such as measuring themselves to see how much they grow over time).
Guided Small Group:
(15 min per group)
- Plant or drawing of plant
- Unifix® cubes
Familiarize yourself with the iPad and the ways in which it can be used to collect scientific data (for instance using the camera or video apps or using the Early Science with Nico & Nor journal apps).
- Introduce an iPad to children and ask them if they've ever used one before. You can ask: Do you ever play games? Do you use it to talk to a family member? Do you take pictures or videos using it? Do you view pictures and videos? What else do you do?
- Explain that scientists can use technology, like cameras and iPads, as a tool to document, observe and find out about the world around them. It can also be used as a way to go back and look at things again later and learn more about what they explored. For example, you can take a picture of a tree outside and then come back to the classroom to share it and talk about it with your classmates.
- Introduce the measurement feature of the Plants Journal to show children how they can use the iPad like a scientist to record how tall a plant it is on a given day. Help children use the Unifix® cubes to measure by setting the cubes next to the plant and stacking them up to match its height. If you don't have a plant available in the classrooms feel free to draw one and invite children to measure the plant in the drawing.
(as planned in your classroom)
- Objects to measure, observe and sort/compare (toy cars, wooden blocks, books, shapes)
- Tools to measure (Unifix® cubes, rulers, dowels with measurement units)
- Magnifying glasses
Set up a table in the classroom where children can explore with different types of measurement activities. 1) Measuring with Unifix® cubes: Provide objects of different lengths and heights to be measured and allow children to explore how many Unifix® cubes long or tall each object is, 2) Measuring with rulers: Provide objects of different lengths and heights to be measured and allow children to explore how many inches long or tall each object is and 3) Measuring with a dowel with the measurement units attached: Provide objects of different lengths and heights to be measured and allow children to explore how long or tall each object is. Objects could be anything available in the classroom such as toy cars, large wooden blocks, books, etc.
Set up a table in the classroom where children can use magnifying glasses to make close observations of objects (this may include things like rocks, small toys, shells, etc.) and then draw detailed pictures of what they notice about each of those objects. You may encourage children to use more than one of their senses to pay really close attention to what they are seeing, feeling, etc. as they observe these items. For example, they may use their sense of touch to notice the small ridges on a shell.
Sorting and Comparing/Contrasting Activity
Set up a table where children can explore with different sorting challenges. You may use objects that are in your classroom, such as counting bears or Unifix® cubes to sort by color, or other types of blocks or manipulatives to sort by shape or by size. If children are finding it challenging to sort, you could guide them by providing the criteria by which they should sort the objects. If children are successfully sorting, you can invite them to sort into groups and have them come up with the criteria. Make sure to ask them to identify their criteria for sorting and scaffold the process as necessary. Finally, you could also create groups of things and ask children to identify characteristics that are similar amongst the objects within those groups. For added fun, you can add an object that is different into the mix and ask them to identify something that is different and invite them to explain why.
Circle Time Wrap-Up
- Chart from the introductory circle time
Review the chart of what children shared at the introductory Circle Time. Think about what you might want to add after the small group and learning center explorations.
- Review the chart made during the introductory Circle Time and talk about what the class just did as scientists. You can ask: What questions did we ask? What things did we do to explore as scientists? What did we find out about what other scientists might do? What tools did we use to explore as scientists? What did we find out about what tools other scientists may use? We used technology (iPads) to take pictures and to measure. We used other tools to measure things and find out about their size. We used magnifying glasses to look closely at things to make observations and described what we noticed. We noticed what was the same and different about objects and made groups to show those similarities and differences (color, shape and size).
- Share some pictures that the small groups recorded on the iPad. (You might display photos using the projector.) Review ideas from small groups about how scientists may use technology.
- Talk through how technology (iPads) can be used for many different things (talking to family members, playing games, taking pictures and videos, watching pictures and videos), but that today, they learned about ways it can help them to be scientists.