Dr. Rebecca Palacios: Science for the Summer! Part Three: Explorations

13/09/2012 9:09
If you’ve missed Dr Palacios ‘ previous two articles you can find them here and here.
In this article she deals with concepts of physics and nature.  
If your looking at additional ways to get into gardening or for interesting nature experiences you and the children in your care, or your children, can share get a free .pdf copy of
The full article can be read from the link above   

In my most recent blog, you found information regarding summer explorations based on science activities. Those included insects, shadows and light and sound and vibration.

This blog will offer suggestions on wheels, balls and motion and also on seeds and plants.

Wheels, Balls and Motion
Motion is fascinating for young children. They love to throw, roll, catch and watch things move. You can either create an indoor space for this exploration or an outdoor space.

Gather all of the wheeled toys you can find around the house and place them in a basket or plastic tub. Then set up ramps so that your child has an opportunity to roll the small cars down the ramps, changing the angle of the ramp as an exploration. Once your child has had a week or two to experiment with the cars, you can place balls, like golf balls or ping pong balls, in the bin to roll. Try including small square blocks for comparison.

You and your child can also gather various things that will roll: a curler, a rolling pin, or different kinds of balls or hoops. You can also create an outdoor exploration area where your child can try rolling, throwing, kicking and moving things in different ways.

• Where can you find wheels in the house or outside?
• How can you make something move faster?
• How much faster can you make something go?
• How can you slow something down?
• What things roll the best?

Seeds and Plants
Seeds and plants are a favorite exploration of mine because they are everywhere and are easy to obtain. Young children can learn that plants come from seeds, that seeds come in various sizes, shapes and colors, and that plants need water, soil, air and light to live.

Create an exploration area in your kitchen where you and your child can look at dry seeds such as pinto beans, lima beans or navy beans. Your child can sort them by color or size. When you are cooking, save the seeds inside vegetables or fruits for your child to observe with a hand lens. Compare the size of a strawberry seed (which is one of the few seeds that grows on the OUTSIDE of a fruit) to the size of a watermelon seed.
Help your child plant the seeds in small cups, planters or other containers that have a small hole in the bottom.

One of my favorite school activities is to place a moistened paper towel in a plastic lunch bag and place four bean seeds in it. Place the baggie in a sunny area and the seeds should germinate in 2-3 days! Experiment with other dry seeds or with those that you found in the fruits and vegetables. Talk about what is happening with the seeds. If you have space outside, your child can plant seeds in a small area or planter to create an outdoor garden. Explain why it’s important to water the plants and the need that plants have for air and light.

• What is a seed?
• How are seeds similar to and different from each other?
• What seeds do you want to plant? Why?
• What are some parts of a plant?
• What do plants need to live?
• What do leaves do?
• What do roots do?
• What do stems do?

Tess Michaels