Early Childhood

Introducing Science to Pre-k

What would be the most accurate and effective way to introduce Science to Pre-kinder students?

Corina Morales
Corina Morales
70 Activity Points

Hi Corina, 

  An effective way to introduce science to pre-kindergarteners would be to see what interests them, and go off of that when planning your activities. Pre-kindergarteners tend to like more hands on activities since they are so young, so it would be best to only incorporate hands on activities only with your students. 

 

Ariana Munoz
Ariana Munoz
240 Activity Points

The most effective way to teach Pre-K students about science is to see where their interests are. With this being said the first few lessons might be hard to do because you don’t know what levels of learning each student is at but after working through some lessons it would get better.
            Another thing to think about how you can make an effective lesson is to see where students' background knowledge is at. From there you can see how you can activate their prior knowledge. This will help you with making lessons more effective because students are making connections on the new information they are learning.

Abby Lynn
Abby Lynn
80 Activity Points

Hi Corina-

I just learned last week that many pre-kinder and early childhood grades are going away from science and strictly keeping instruction around literacy. Therefore, it is awesome you are incorporating it into your pre-kinder classroom. From what I have been learning, I think it is always important to first find out what your students already know. That way, when introducing a topic, they will be more engaged and curious as to what they will be learning about. Another thing to keep in mind with pre-kinder students is to make sure the activity is active, and that students are not just being lectured at or sitting at a desk (especially for pre-k)! Therefore, I would encourage you to use hands on activities in order for your lesson to be effective and engaging for the students. I have attached an article on the introduction of science to kids. Have fun- hope this helps! 

https://wtop.com/news/2013/05/introducing-science-to-kids-fun-activities-and-developmental-milestones/

Katie Costigan
Katie Costigan
2075 Activity Points

Hi Corina! I am currently a student at the University of Northern Iowa. I agree with having a center for science, this would be a great idea for Pre-K. This could give students the opportunity to explore their knowledge with science and have a hands on opportunity. We have a center here at UNI called the Regents Center, this is a great place to allow students to explore their thinking. I think when students are exploring their thinking they are learning more. I think creating centers for your students could allow them to expand their thinking and work with others. Students could get ideas from each other and help give ideas to students. Hands on activties are a great way to explore kids thinking! I hope this helps you get an idea for introducing science to pre-K.  

Rebecca Murray
Rebecca Murray
2215 Activity Points

Hi Corina, I'm a student at the University of Northern Iowa majoring in Early Childhood Education. From the courses I have taken, I've learned that it is important to figure out what the students are interested in and build lessons and activities off of that. I think the Project Approach would be great for science in early childhood. It allows children to have natural curiosity and encourages children to communicate, problem solve, and reflect. The teaching and learning processes are constantly changing based on each individual child’s interest and needs. The Project Approach has three phases. The first phase initiates the project by having children share what they already know about a particular topic and finding out what they want to learn more about. During the first phase, questions are created by the children. The second phase is the investigation aspect where children observe, experiment, explore, and ask experts to help them answer their questions. The third and final phase is the culmination of the project where children and teachers decide how to complete the study and how the learning will be documented. The culmination can be a book, a movie, or an image gallery and in many cases family and community members are invited to learn about the project. Pictures and documentation allows children to be exposed to personal and social development, language and literacy, mathematical and scientific thinking, social studies, arts, and physical development. I have personally implemented the Project Approach in a preschool classroom and the topic was bikes. Throughout the semester, the students started to have an interest towards the tires and we changed our topic to tires. I was able to implement a literacy and art lesson that involved bikes and tires. I scheduled an expert who was an employee at a bike shop to come in and talk to the students. He brought in a bike with a tire that was flat and the students were able to help put air in the tire with a pump. Some UNI employees brought in some bikes they have on campus and talked about the different parts of bikes while they made observations and drew pictures of the bikes. I think it was a great way to get the students a lot of hands-on experiences to investigate something they were interested in. I hope this information in useful for you!

Emily Flockhart
Emily Flockhart
3390 Activity Points

I think the most effective way to introduce science to pre-kinder students would be to engage them in hands on activities! When students are that little, it can be very easy for them to be distracted. Standing in front of a classroom and reading from a book will simply not suffice! Many teachers may think that students at this age cannot do inquiry lessons but i completely disagree! I think students, especially at this age, can excel at inquiry lessons. Of course it would have to be somethign that is familiar to them and relatable so that they may know what they are doing but students are natural explorers and you'd be surprised at what they can do!

Keimys Cardenas
Keimys Cardenas
2155 Activity Points

Hi Corina!

Pre-kinder students will be very excited that they are going to be learning science. One effective way to introduce science is to allow the students to just explore for a little bit. They will most likey not have much background knowledge with science, therefore they will have many questions. Allowing them to explore with different materials will result in them being engaged as they will want to learn more about what these materials are. Inquiry based learning allows for these students to explore on their own and trigger their curiosity. I have attached below a blog on introducing science into a preschool classroom that has many helpful tips on what to do including going outdoors!

https://teachpreschool.org/2014/06/22/science-in-the-preschool-classroom/

Hope this helps! 

Katie Costigan
Katie Costigan
2075 Activity Points

Hi Corina! My name is Payton Meyer and I am a Pre-Service teacher at the University of Northern Iowa. Your question really caught my attention because this week we had a speaker come into our Methods of Science teaching class and she talked about implementing science at a young age. One thing that she really focused on was making sure that there is something for everyone. I think it is really important to take the students' interests into account and that it is very important for students to have the opportunity to play. This is something that we talked a lot about with this speaker. Play is very important for children and it doesn't have to be a bad thing. Students can learn while they play. One example of this is using wooden blocks. Students can play with wooden blocks and create bridges, towers, or anything else that they can think of. This will teach students a lot about architecture and engineering. Students could also experiment with lights and shadows by using different lights on a sheet and placing objects behind it to see what kind of shadow it makes and what happens when they move this object around. No matter what you do, I think it is very important to think about the students' interests and allow them to play. Especially at that young age, the activities that they do will really have a lasting effect on their fine motor skills and their understanding of concepts. I hope this helps!

Payton Meyer
Payton Meyer
5160 Activity Points

Corina,

My name is Ashley Edaburn and I am a pre-service teacher at the Univeristy of Northern Iowa. I am majoring in elementary education and I am currently in a science methods class. We had a guest speaker come talk to our class this past week and she talked about the importance of play and how to implement science into a classroom where there are younger students. When thinking of a science topic you should keep your students interests in mind and include some type of hands on activity so it gives students an opportunity to play. An example of this that the guest speaker talked a lot about was having students play with blocks. When students play with blocks they can build all sorts of different things which will help teach them a lot about engineering and architecture. Other activities for students could include lights, shadows, tops, ramps, etc. I hope this helps give you some ideas of how to introduce science to younger students!

Ashley Edaburn
Ashley Edaburn
1080 Activity Points

An effective way to introduce science to young students is to let them engage in activity with phenomena or other scientific materials to build interest and questioning. When students "play" with and manipulate items such as tops, blocks, lights, pipes, vacuums, etc. they are being introduced to science in a fun and engaging way for such young kids. This kind of science seems fun to them!

Abbi Staack
Abbi Staack
1985 Activity Points

I try to use scientific vocabulary throughout the day, for example, I see with my sense of sight that it started raining outside. I can hear it too, with my ears and sense of hearing.

Haley Haavik
Haley Haavik
485 Activity Points

Using vocabulary into the lesson throughout the day and making connections is essential to the students, especially if science is a new concept. We have to get to know our students and introduce the concepts in a fun effective way that they are going to be able to relate to while having fun and learning a new concept. There are many interactive activities. Encourage our students to be creative and use what they know. We also should encourage them to find meaning in what they are learning. Concrete activities will be beneficial rather than abstract. Using all of the senses will also encourage them and its something simple they can be incorporated in. 

Maria Rodriguez
Maria Rodriguez
1078 Activity Points

The most effective way to teach Pre-K students about scienceis by first, setting up a science center. A center that is inviting and offers children opportunities to explore! The most effective way to teach Pre-K students about science is having hands-on contact with materials. Provide a choice of books for them to read and include scientists tools in the science center.

Wendy Miranda
Wendy Miranda
450 Activity Points

I definitely agree with Wendy on setting up a science center. Setting up an area that is devoted to science activities every day. This can encourage students to use science daily not just now and then. In the center I interned at, we had an area called "The swamp" one month which was devoted to wetlands and the animals found there. It was so engaging, the students loved it. It was a plastic container filled with black colored water with alligators and other swamp animals. Placed around the container was plant life that would be found around the swamp. The children loved to play in this black water with the animals. They also learned where the plants should be located due to their type. This area also changed with theme and can be easily adapted to many different topics. I think the important pieces are hands-on activities, making them fun, and having it available daily.

Valerie Green
Valerie Green
480 Activity Points

Having a science center I agree would be a good idea. I'm a student getting my bachelors in early childhood. This past week I got to experience STEM activities for early childhood through my science class. This really lets the students work hands-on and figuring things out and trying to problem solve at the same time. I think this would be something to consider. 

Natalie Witt
Natalie Witt
2735 Activity Points

I also agree that having a center for science is very effective. I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa and we have a room called the Regents Center. This room is set up as and ECE classroom that enhances the students inquiry and exploration of the content in schools. In this room there were many activities such as a center with PVC pipes, a vaccuum/air blower and different sizes and weights of objects. Within this center the children can put together paths for a ball to follow. This introduces the concept of air movement. Then there is a block center with ramps, marbles and building blocks. This introduces engineering concepts of defining a problem and problem solving. Then there was a light center that had objects you could put on a light board and see what changes. These activities are sometimes already in Pre-K classrooms which shows that the children are gaining knowledge without the teacher specifically telling students exactly what is occuring. These centers can build the students' knowledge of content, practices and concepts. 

Katlyn Alexander
Katlyn Alexander
3080 Activity Points

I am also a University of Northern Iowa student and am actually in the same science class as Katlyn Alexander. I completely agree with my peers' suggestions on developing science centers for your students. After reading about the work of Dr. Beth Van Meeteren, one of the lead individuals in research of Early Childhood STEM Development in the nation and fortunately a professor here at UNI, and experiencing first hand her model of an Early Childhood classroom, I can see the benefits science centers can provide our youth.


It builds confidence in individuals, particularly those who may not excel in literacy or math, the subjects we are emphasizing the most in our classrooms today, and are potentially emphasizing too much if it means cutting out quality science and social studies instruction. Coming up with solutions for activities, such as determining the incline and decline of ramps to see how many ramps a marble can go up and down with only a single push, can excite these students’ learning, knowing they are quite intelligent to critically think in this manner. As Dr. Van Meeteren mentioned in our class's visit to her model room, if we are not fully introducing science into our classroom until 4th grade, the students who may have succeeded in this area if they were introduced to it earlier, will already have deemed themselves not smart at any subject, thereby having little motivation that they could succeed in STEM. Therefore I applaud you, Corina, for your desire to bring the sciences into your Pre-K classroom. You are doing wonders for your students in the long run.


Science centers also promote problem-solving skills through inquiry-based learning. Giving students materials like PVC pipes, vacuum cleaners, and balls, blocks, ramps, and marbles, or plastic tiles and shapes, and allowing them to explore, gives them the enriching opportunity to determine the types of problems they want to solve and experiment with different ways to find those solutions, challenge each other to make the most optimal design for an object, or learn about an object’s functioning characteristics. This makes using science centers a great engineering lesson as well. The beauty of science centers though, is that students find participating in them such fun, and you will too!


Katlyn’s suggestions for various centers are a great place to start building your STEM enriched classroom with an air movement area, ramp building area, and light exploration area. You could also make centers such as a water movement area, exploration with spinning tops and gyroscopes, or having them build a craft, such as a harmonica out of two popsicle sticks, three rubber bands, and a straw! Here is a link to the website for UNI’s Regents center if you want to learn more about science centers, and if you want to contact Dr. Van Meeteren personally. She would be more than happy to assist you! I hope this helps, and best of luck in your Pre-K classroom.


https://regentsctr.uni.edu/

Natalie LoBianco
Natalie LoBianco
3248 Activity Points

I am also a University of Northern Iowa student and am actually in the same science class as Katlyn Alexander. I completely agree with my peers' suggestions on developing science centers for your students. After reading about the work of Dr. Beth Van Meeteren, one of the lead individuals in research of Early Childhood STEM Development in the nation and fortunately a professor here at UNI, and experiencing first hand her model of an Early Childhood classroom, I can see the benefits science centers can provide our youth.


It builds confidence in individuals, particularly those who may not excel in literacy or math, the subjects we are emphasizing the most in our classrooms today, and are potentially emphasizing too much if it means cutting out quality science and social studies instruction. Coming up with solutions for activities, such as determining the incline and decline of ramps to see how many ramps a marble can go up and down with only a single push, can excite these students’ learning, knowing they are quite intelligent to critically think in this manner. As Dr. Van Meeteren mentioned in our class's visit to her model room, if we are not fully introducing science into our classroom until 4th grade, the students who may have succeeded in this area if they were introduced to it earlier, will already have deemed themselves not smart at any subject, thereby having little motivation that they could succeed in STEM. Therefore I applaud you, Corina, for your desire to bring the sciences into your Pre-K classroom. You are doing wonders for your students in the long run.


Science centers also promote problem-solving skills through inquiry-based learning. Giving students materials like PVC pipes, vacuum cleaners, and balls, blocks, ramps, and marbles, or plastic tiles and shapes, and allowing them to explore, gives them the enriching opportunity to determine the types of problems they want to solve and experiment with different ways to find those solutions, challenge each other to make the most optimal design for an object, or learn about an object’s functioning characteristics. This makes using science centers a great engineering lesson as well. The beauty of science centers though, is that students find participating in them such fun, and you will too!


Katlyn’s suggestions for various centers are a great place to start building your STEM enriched classroom with an air movement area, ramp building area, and light exploration area. You could also make centers such as a water movement area, exploration with spinning tops and gyroscopes, or having them build a craft, such as a harmonica out of two popsicle sticks, three rubber bands, and a straw! Here is a link to the website for UNI’s Regents center if you want to learn more about science centers, and if you want to contact Dr. Van Meeteren personally. She would be more than happy to assist you! I hope this helps, and best of luck in your Pre-K classroom.


https://regentsctr.uni.edu/

Natalie LoBianco
Natalie LoBianco
3248 Activity Points

I agree, you can set up new science centers weekly or biweekly. One example would be having a sink or float center where students get to test different objects to see if they would sink or float. It would also be a good idea to take your students on nature walks and have them record their observations by either writing or drawing pictures to represent what they saw and observed. 

Keyerra Stapleton
Keyerra Stapleton
285 Activity Points

Hi Corina, I am currently a UNI student majoring in early childhood. In my teaching elementary science class, we talked about STEM for preschool. Having a science center is a great idea, things like ramps. Letting them explore in the centers and learning hands on. 

Natalie Witt
Natalie Witt
2735 Activity Points

Hi Ms. Morales,

I am a preservice teacher who is working on my graduate degree in early childhood education.  In my opinion, there are multiple ways to effectively introduce science, which depends on the students, their interests, and their capabilities. 

When teaching any lesson, it is effective to first find out what your students already know.   Despite PreK children being young, they still bring knowledge that they acquire from home.  Due to the fact that children at this age often enjoy expressing their ideas, I would have a whole class discussion in order to determine what they already know.  This will help teachers modify and adapt lessons to ensure that they are using their instruction time wisely.  Another way that I would introduce science is by conducting a lesson on what a scientist is.  This is a great way to help children understand how information is collected and used for the betterment of society. 

Children at this age also love to be physically involved in their learning.  I have seen many teachers set-up centers around the room that focuses on different science concepts.  For example, teachers can supply water tables where students can learn about the properties of water, engineering stations where children can build structures, and discovery centers where nature items, such as sticks, shells, and stuffed animals can be included.  This is a great way for children to be introduced to science as well as a way for them to develop independence as they engage in discovery learning.

Another way that I would introduce children to science is through reading stories.  From personal experiences, children love to be read books.  Furthermore, even though Pre-K children may not be able to read on their own, they can interact with picture books.  Not only will you be able to teach students about science concepts, but you are also helping them develop and enhance their literacy skills.  Furthermore, because children love engaging in imaginative play, it would be effective to introduce science in this way.   You could have prop boxes that include clothes and items where students can dress up and pretend that they are scientists, meteorologists, and archeologists.  Lastly, one could introduce science to students by inviting people into the classroom who engage in scientific activities, such as astronauts.  Children enjoy and can appreciate seeing how what they learn in the classroom actually applies to the outside world.   

Michelle Biddinger
Michelle Biddinger
395 Activity Points

The major thing is to go off of students' inquiries: if they seem to be really interested in animals, then do a lesson on that. In preschool it is important to not push them and all their curiousities to lead and explore. An easy way to incorporate science in preschool is with ramps and water tables. These can be centers in your classroom that students can choose to go to. Students are introduced to energy and physics with this. The website posted below has more ideas with ways to incorporate STEM into the classroom. This is from the Regents' Center at the University of Iowa which researches early childhood devlopment.

 

https://regentsctr.uni.edu/regents-center/places-teachers-start 

Madeline Chilton
Madeline Chilton
2870 Activity Points

The major thing is to go off of students' inquiries: if they seem to be really interested in animals, then do a lesson on that. In preschool it is important to not push them and all their curiousities to lead and explore. An easy way to incorporate science in preschool is with ramps and water tables. These can be centers in your classroom that students can choose to go to. Students are introduced to energy and physics with this. The website posted below has more ideas with ways to incorporate STEM into the classroom. This is from the Regents' Center at the University of Iowa which researches early childhood devlopment.

 

https://regentsctr.uni.edu/regents-center/places-teachers-start 

Madeline Chilton
Madeline Chilton
2870 Activity Points

The major thing is to go off of students' inquiries: if they seem to be really interested in animals, then do a lesson on that. In preschool it is important to not push them and all their curiousities to lead and explore. An easy way to incorporate science in preschool is with ramps and water tables. These can be centers in your classroom that students can choose to go to. Students are introduced to energy and physics with this. The website posted below has more ideas with ways to incorporate STEM into the classroom. This is from the Regents' Center at the University of Iowa which researches early childhood devlopment.

 

https://regentsctr.uni.edu/regents-center/places-teachers-start 

Madeline Chilton
Madeline Chilton
2870 Activity Points

I think one of the best ways to introduce science to pre-k is to have centers set up to let students explore. Let them feel and see what is happening in that particular center. Then as a teacher you can observe what the children are doing, what questions are they asking, are they asking questions? This will then help you to create a unit or lesson on science and what you want your students to get out of this lesson.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Morgan Siems

Morgan Siems
Morgan Siems
2160 Activity Points

Hello,

I asked the same question as a daycare provider.  However, since reading the require text for our science class, Science Experiences for the Early Childhood Years: An Integrated Affective Approach by Jean D. Harlan & Mary S. Rivkin, I have found that the simple everyday things that we do on a regular basis is related to science.  Some of those concepts are found in plants, animals, the human body, water, weather, rocks and minerals, the effects of gravity, and so much more.  

Also, you may find it easier to teach by what captures the attention, curosity, emotions, and the negative and positive effects of science learning.  You may be surprised how simple it really is. I know I was! 

 

I hope this helps!

Teresha Sutton
Teresha Sutton
325 Activity Points

I feel like the best way to introduce science in the pre-k is to observe your class during centers time.  Especially if you have centers that are somehow connected to science, then play close attention to what they do in those centers. After that build around their interests and create some activity/unit related to science that would be interactive or introduce a new centers that is associated with science.  For example, if you see a lot of the children are interested in building things in the blocks center you could start a project on buildings, have them learn about it, how it's engineered, etc. Then steer them along using the project approach steps till you get them to do a culminating project that might deal with engineering.

Shenay Damirgi
Shenay Damirgi
3310 Activity Points

I feel like the best way to introduce science conepts in pre-k is questioning your students on what they know and what they are interested in. By asking questions to students then you are able to convey meaningful information to these students and help them to grasp these concepts. Another way to introduce science concepts would be through experimentations. For example, you can ask students of what do you think is inside a pumpkin? After students answer and give their ideas then you can perform the experimentations. Through this you can build students vocabulary and help them with the real world and to understanding science concepts. I have found this to be one successful way to introduce and get students excited about science concepts. 

Richard Werling
Richard Werling
425 Activity Points

I feel like the best way to introduce science conepts in pre-k is questioning your students on what they know and what they are interested in. By asking questions to students then you are able to convey meaningful information to these students and help them to grasp these concepts. Another way to introduce science concepts would be through experimentations. For example, you can ask students of what do you think is inside a pumpkin? After students answer and give their ideas then you can perform the experimentations. Through this you can build students vocabulary and help them with the real world and to understanding science concepts. I have found this to be one successful way to introduce and get students excited about science concepts. 

Richard Werling
Richard Werling
425 Activity Points

I feel like the best way to introduce science to pre-k is by showing them videos and doing hands on acctivities with them. For example to teach them about plants and the earth you can plant seeds in plastic cups and watch them grow. The children will have to water their own plants on the daily and will watch as they grow. 

Mariela Galvan
Mariela Galvan
115 Activity Points

My favorite way to incorporate science into pre-k settings is to do so much investigating! Using sensory tables, and going on nature walks are some of my favorites. Whenever we go on a nature walk at my daycare, the kids always come back with leaves and rocks and we take time to talk about them! THis is building their baseline knowledge for their future. Another favorite "game" to play with my kids has to do with the water table. Every week, we fill the water table with different sets of animals (jungle, arctic, etc.) The students love to guess whether those animals actually belong in water or not! 

Ashley Vinson
Ashley Vinson
1465 Activity Points

Hello fellow science teacher,
 
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The FunScienceDemos Team

George Mehler
George Mehler
1335 Activity Points

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