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Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

The Benefits of Cooking with Children

Inviting your preschooler to help you cook provides numerous learning opportunities. You can spend quality time with her while increasing her skills in the kitchen.

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Cooking involves careful planning and time management. Learning how to plan and manage her time will benefit your child as she grows.

While your child learns how to prepare food safely, teach her about the dangers in the kitchen. Point out these dangers, and talk to her about how to avoid accidents.

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Helping out in the kitchen can increase your child’s creativity and help her develop math and reading skills. When you follow the instructions on a recipe together, she can practice reading. Measuring ingredients is a great way to introduce her to the importance of learning math. Letting your child choose ingredients will enhance her creativity and encourage her to voice her opinions.

Density Experiment!

Young children benefit from active, hands-on activities that foster scientific learning. You can inspire your little scientist’s interests by conducting this easy and fun density experiment at home! Encourage your children to ask questions, learn from their mistakes, try again, explore new activities and come up with solutions.

density-experiment

Click here to watch the video or check out the complete instructions below!

Materials

  • Clear jar or container
  • Lightly colored water (blue or green works best)
  • Wooden block
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Marble
  • Bottle cap
  • Corn syrup
  • Plastic figurine
  • Coin
  • Flower petal
  • LEGO bricks (or other small items)
  • Eraser

Procedure

  1. Pour the water into the jar. Pour corn syrup into the jar. Pour the oil into jar.
    1. What happened to the liquids in the jar?
    2. Why do you think this happened?
  2. Make predictions about what will happen to the different objects before dropping them into the jar. Take turns dropping the objects into the jar.
    1. Were all of your predictions correct?
    2. If any predictions were not correct, why do you think the results were different from the predictions?

 

Chemistry Experiment: Milk Fireworks!

Science is more than test tubes, microscopes and formulas. And children have a natural curiosity in STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics).

Scientific thinking involves asking questions, learning from mistakes, trying again, exploring new activities and coming up with solutions. Children are natural scientific thinkers, and they want to learn and solve problems.

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You can encourage your little scientist’s interests by conducting this easy and fun chemistry experiment at home. Click here to watch the video or check out the complete instructions below!

 

Materials

  • Liquid dish soap
  • Whole milk
  • Cotton swabs
  • Red, yellow, blue and green food coloring
  • Shallow tray

Procedure

  • Pour enough milk in the tray to completely cover the bottom of the tray and allow the milk to settle. Add one drop each of the red, yellow, blue and green food coloring to the milk. Keep the drops close together, but not touching, in the center of the tray of milk.
    • What does this look like?
  • Before completing the next step, explain to the group what you will do next and have them make a prediction about what will happen. Then, touch the tip of a cotton swab to the milk in the center of the tray. Do not stir the mix, but gently touch it with the tip of the cotton swab.
    • What happened?
  • Have the group make a prediction about what will happen next. Place a drop of liquid dish soap on the tip of the cotton swab. Place the soapy end of the cotton swab in the middle of the tray and hold it there for 5 to 10 seconds.
    • What happened?
    • What do you see?
    • Why do you think that this happened?
  • Add another drop of soap to the tip to the cotton swab and try it again. Try placing the cotton swab at different places in the milk.
    • Did anything change?
    • What do you think will happen if we keep doing this?

Apple Printing Activity!

You can use apples as stamps to create fun pictures, design wrapping paper or decorate clothing like t-shirts and jeans.

Materials

  • ApplesApple Printing
  • Paint (Use washable poster paint for paper prints and fabric paints for clothes.)
  • Paper plates
  • A printable surface
  • Newspaper to protect the work surface
  • Art smocks or old t-shirts
  • A knife to cut the apples (for adults only)*

Instructions

  1. Cover your work surface with newspaper and make sure everyone is wearing old clothes or a smock.
  2. Pour paint on the paper plates. Use one color per plate.
  3. Ask your child to guess what shape of half an apple will look like.
  4. Cut the apple in half from top to bottom to create an apple silhouette, or create a circle with a star by cutting the apple horizontally. You and your child can also brainstorm ways to create different shapes with the apple.
  5. Encourage your child to dip the flat side of the apple in the paint, thoroughly covering the flat surface, and then place the apple with the paint side down on the printing surface.
  6. Enjoy creating fun designs and pictures with your homemade stamps!

 

*An adult should oversee all the activities. The activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

Gardening with Your Children

Even as an adult, I am awed by watching seeds germinate. I check my pots every morning in case a squash plant has grown an inch overnight.

As you begin your spring planting this year, plan ways to include your children. They will also be amazed by how seeds Boy Gardeninggrow into plants. You can talk about life cycles, nutrition and the environment. This helps them learn concepts in science, but you can also help them learn about math, language and other subjects.  Some specific examples of these lessons include the following:

Let them get dirty.

Let your children play in the dirt, especially if they are under three years old. It is important for children to explore the texture of the soil and the plants. They will learn how to mold soil, to change its shape and volume and to contain a mess within a safe space for free exploration. These types of hands-on experiences help children make concrete connections to words and experiences.  Sensory based play and exploration will cultivate your children’s physical development, especially the important small muscles in their hands and the tendons in their fingers.

Teach them how to nurture.

Your children will love taking care of plants and watching them grow. Preschool age children enjoy jobs that create a sense of responsibility.  Working in a garden helps them see the fruits of their efforts, leading to a sense of pride and accomplishment. Talk to your children about the needs of the plants including food, water and sunlight. For children who are three years old and older, you can begin a conversation that compares what plants and people need to live. Your children can learn fundamental social and emotional skills like empathy, communication, cooperation and learn to identify and express feelings while gardening.

Incorporate math.

While gardening, your children can learn fundamental math skills like patterns, sequences and numeracy. Consider the following activities.

  • Patterns
    You can plan the garden with your children by grouping similar seeds together. You can plant the vegetables in rows or you can plant the flowers by color. Once the garden is growing, you can help your children to notice patterns by asking questions like these: “Which plants have thick stems? Which have thin stems?” and “How are these two plants the same?”
  • Sequences
    Track the growth of plants with your children over time. Ask them questions about the order in which parts of the plants grow. You can ask, “Which leaves grow first?” or “What grows before the flower blooms?”
  • Numeracy
    While observing your garden, ask your children to count the different parts of a plant as it grows. For example, you might ask, “How many leaves are there now?” Model and use comparison words like bigger, more than and faster.  Measure the plants with your children and talk about how much they are growing.  You can graph the height of plants over time together. Clear flowerpots can let you observe and measure the growth of roots, too.

Develop literacy.

Always engage in conversations with your children. Read books about gardens and teach them new words about plants. Teach them the language necessary to speak about how plants grow. Ask open-ended questions like “What do you see happening?” or “What do you think the garden will look like next week?” to encourage them to think and communicate about their surroundings. Use a photo album or a three-ring binder with page protectors to create a book about your gardening experiences.  You can review past experiences and encourage verbal and written language skills by reading it together. Your children can also use their creative skills to draw illustrations and decorate the cover.

At the end of the summer, we hope that you will have a beautiful garden and an enthusiastic, blooming gardener.

Technology

As we know, technology is changing at an unbelievable rate. When we were little, modern devices were just a dream.Smart Table Now, technology makes more inventions possible, and it is constantly changing. Technology is very exciting, but have you ever asked what it is?

According to Merriam-Webster, technology is the “practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area.” (“Technology,” 2015) Technology makes things so much easier and more convenient. Think of the items that have been created in science to make life easier and better. Devices, such as pacemakers and bionic legs, have been invented to improve our quality of life. Devices can also help make car rides with children more pleasurable or calmer, and other devices can make cooking easier. As technology improves, schools will include more technology at every level of education. These may include interactive boards, computers, digital cameras and tablets just to name a few.

However, remember that even though technology makes things easier, real hands-on experiences cannot be replaced. Technology cannot replace the feel of hugs, dirty hands, paint, and the wind in your hair; the sights of the brightness of the sun or a child’s smile; or the smell of hot dogs cooking on the grill. Therefore, remember to use technology to enhance learning at home, not to replace real-life experiences.

Technology [Def. 1a]. (2015).  In Merriam-Webster., Retrieved November 5, 2015, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/technology.

Three Easy Science Experiments Your Child is Sure to Love

IMG_2672_philly_00429Children have a natural curiosity in STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics). You can encourage your little scientist’s interests by conducting the following easy experiments at home.

Milk Fireworks: Pour whole milk into a baking pan. Add drops of red and blue food coloring. Add a “squirt” or two of dishwashing liquid, and watch the colors burst and swirl! When the “fireworks” slow down, add another couple of drops of dishwashing liquid to get them going again. Explanation: The soap separates the fat from the other liquids in the milk, causing patterns to appear.

Dancing Raisins: Put raisins (or dried corn or macaroni) in a clear cup. Fill the cup with lemon-lime soda. Watch how the raisins bob and sink in the cup. Ask your child what makes the raisins do this. Explanation: The gas bubbles in the soda lift each raisin up, and when the bubbles reach the surface and pop, the raisins sink.

Salt & Vinegar Pennies: Put ¼ cup of white vinegar into a clear plastic or glass bowl. Add one teaspoon of table salt and stir until the salt dissolves. Dip a dull, dirty penny halfway into the liquid, holding it there for 10 to 20 seconds. Remove the penny from the liquid. What does your child see? Explanation: Salt and vinegar create a weak acid that dissolves copper oxide, which is the tarnish on a dull penny.

*An adult should oversee all activities. Activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

Five Ways to Prevent “Summer Slide”

Summer is an awesome time of year. It’s full of family get-togethers, trips to the pool and vacations. With all that awesomeness, though, sometimes learning falls by the wayside. Research has shown that some children experience summer learning loss, also known as “summer slide” because their minds aren’t as engaged as they are during the school year. You can help to keep your child’s brain active and prevent summer slide with these five fun learning activities:

  1. Read, read, read. Read to your child or encourage him to read for twenty minutes every day. Taking a trip to the library on hot, humid or rainy days can be fun, too. Also, listening to audio books is great during car trips.
  2. Learn a new word every week. Make this a game by seeing who can use the new word the most times throughout the week. You can even make a scoreboard and stick it on the fridge. Encourage your child to look through a picture dictionary to pick out new words.
  3. Get cooking. Cooking with your child is a fun way to teach your child math and reading skills as well as how to follow instructions. Look through a cookbook with your little one, and ask him what he would like to make.
  4. Hit the road. Take a field trip to a museum, a zoo or an aquarium. Before you go, read a book with your child about the sights at your destination. When you return, you and your child can write a journal entry about your adventures.
  5. Go outside. Embrace the nice weather and go on a hike, nature walk or bike ride. Pack a magnifying glass and/or binoculars, and take breaks along the way to take a closer look at things. You and your little one can even take notes on interesting objects or animals and look up more information about them online or in an encyclopedia when you get home.

Thinking about Science

The Goddard SchoolScience is more than test tubes, microscopes and formulas. Scientific thinking involves asking questions, learning from mistakes, trying again, exploring new activities and solving problems. Children are natural scientific thinkers, and they want to learn and solve problems.

Young children benefit from the active, hands-on activities that foster scientific learning in every Goddard School classroom. Encouraging your young scientists at home is easy and fun. As you try the following activities with your children, talk about what is happening, ask questions and encourage them to describe what they see.

  • Bake with your children. Watch yeast rising, or see what happens if you don’t follow the recipe carefully;
  • Grow flowers or a vegetable garden. Chart your plants’ growth and note any changes. Enjoy harvesting your garden together, and let your children help make a healthy salad for your family;
  • Visit a farmers’ market or a farm to learn about animals, the effects of weather on plants and more;
  • Take apart an old clock or phone and reassemble it;
  • Make steam or watch ice melt;
  • Look for patterns in the natural world, such as the lines in bark or the symmetry of flower petals. Describe the sights, smells and sounds you experience on a walk;
  • Offer your children magnifying glasses;
  • Visit a children’s museum or natural history museum;
  • Go outside at night and look at the stars;
  • Ask your children what will happen when you roll a ball, walk a Slinky down stairs, manipulate clay and use other items, and then test their hypotheses. This can be a lot of fun.

*An adult should oversee all activities. Activities may not be appropriate for all ages.