This week we brought Science Lab into the classroom!
The children had a fun time being scientists with Ms. Moylan, who led this activity, observing reactions between liquids and solids. The children worked in pairs to mix water, baking soda, popcorn kernels and vinegar. The children were all excited to watch the results as gas was formed around the popcorn causing it to rise to the top of the jar and then fall to bottom again. We could hear children making observations such as: Look at all the bubbles on the popcorn!; My popcorn keeps going up and down!; and, Why did mine go to the top so fast?
For children in the Early Years setting, science is an extension of their everyday world. We don’t have to teach children to wonder, discover and explore because they do it naturally. They engage in scientific thinking and actions long before they enter a classroom.
One of the primary goals of the early childhood science curriculum is the development of scientific thinking in young children. Scientific thinking differs from the learning of scientific facts in that scientific thinking involves children in the process of finding out. Instead of learning what other people have discovered, scientific thinking leads children to make their own discoveries. To foster scientific thinking, we need to give children varied opportunities to explore and experiment. We need to give young children the time, space, and materials to exercise their curiosity. It also gives them the freedom to engage in child-centered explorations, experimentations, and explanations.