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Friday, November 18, 2011

What is Science?

At the beginning of kindergarten, we do a unit on science safety.  The unit includes:
  • What is science?
  • What is a scientist?
  • What do scientist do?
  • plus tons of hands on exploration.
On the very first day, I always begin by charting what the children think science is.  The answers vary greatly and provide me with some valuable information on where we need to head with the unit.

After we brainstorm what science is, the children draw pictures in their journals based on our conversation.  Each picture is outlines in felt tipped pen and colored.  We label the pictures with at least beginning sounds, but hopefully more.

The very next day, we review what science is and I pose another question... What is a scientist?  Again, we chart our responses and the children draw a picture of themselves being their favorite kind of scientist.  I encourage the children to add detail in the picture such as a tool the scientist might use.

The children dictate a sentence about what they are studying and I record it on their journals.

On the days following this introduction, we work on completing a booklet that explains many aspects of being a scientist.

The first page is an overview of what we will learn.  It provides the children with factual information and a repetitive text that they will be able to read over and over again.

We begin by reading through the above text.  The children highlight the sight word can.  We practice the word in a vary of ways... writing with crayon on the table, tapping the letters as we orally spell the word, magnetic letters, etc.

TIP: Tennis balls erase crayon from most school tables.

Then, we reread for meaning.  We discuss what each sentence might mean and make some predictions.  This would be a great time to create a chart with the class predictions.

Finally, we draw a picture of ourselves wearing goggles.  We discuss that science must experiment and learn in a safe environment and wear goggles is one way to do this.

The second page is about asking questions.  We discuss what a question is and what kind of words begin a questions.  We make a list of questions that a scientist might ask.  Finally, we think about one thing we would really like to know about.  I write each child's question at the top of the page and the child draws a picture to match the words.

I usually take this opportunity to go over the fact that when we write our pictures and words will match each other.


The third page is about how scientist explore.  We usually create a bubble map with tools scientist use to explore.  Then, the children choose a tool and something they could notice using the tool.  I record what the noticed while exploring.  The child will draw a picture of the tool and what they noticed.

The fourth page is about how scientist measure.  We discuss what it means to measure and create a list of various tools you can use to measure.  Some of these tools might have been included in the previous chart as well. 

The children draw a picture of three measuring tools and write a label for each.

**I am not sure if you noticed in the pictures, but I have the children create a pattern out of the letters that make the sentence on each page.  This allows me to assess patterning at the same time as getting in science standards.**

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