Chemistry

Chemistry in Early Childhood Education

Hello All,

 

 I am aspiring to become an Elementary Education Teacher. Growing up, I always have had an interest in Chemistry and loved the class and my teacher in high school. As I come closer to graduating and having a classroom of my own. I was wondering how I could incorporate Chemistry into my early elementary classes and what some good resources are to use. Lastly, I was wondering how teachers who have used Chemistry related activities in their classrooms, how the students responded to that activity and if there is anything you would change. Thanks so much in advance for all of your help and input!

 

- Payton B.

Grace Restrepo
Annmarie Vincenzo
525 Activity Points

There are many simple chemistry demonstrations/experiments you can do with young children. Check out Steve Spangler’s website. It has great videos and resources for chemistry.=

Jill Bailer
Jill Bailer
420 Activity Points

Hi Payton,

The American Chemical Society also has some activities created for young students.  Their site for elementary students is called Adventures in Science and their site for middle school students, which may have some activities you could adapt, is called Middle School Chemistry.  They also have put their publication, Inquiry in Action, online.

Rebecca F

Rebecca Falin
Rebecca Falin
71430 Activity Points

With my Transitional Kindergarten students the way I incorporate science experiments into our lesson is by an initial introduction to our concept followed by observations, predictions and lastly we conduct our experiments. For example, for one of our experiment we used backing soda, and vinegar. We began by having two bottles and seeing if either the baking soda or the vinegar reacted when it was by itself. Through our observation we were able to observe that when both were alone in the bottle the balloon did not inflate. After discussing if both baking soda and vinegar were to be combine is when we might began to see a reaction occur. Simple experiments like these is how I expand on and introduce science into my class with a younger group and my students seem to enjoy this method. 

Lizzet Alvarez
Lizzet Alvarez
185 Activity Points

Chemistry activities for young children are some of the coolest and most engaging for students. Putting on goggles, using measuring utensils and mixing substances fits in to what most students think of when you use the word, “scientist.”

You don’t have to have an elaborate set up to teach chemistry.  Stick with easy, inexpensive “bucket” or “kitchen” chemistry activities.  Before you try any hands-on activity, you have to practice it and make sure you follow all safety precautions.  Insist on students wearing goggles – just like you will model.

Demonstrations like elephant toothpaste are always a hit with students in all grades, but make sure that you incorporate a lesson in the chemistry of what is happening.  Ask students to observe carefully, attempt to explain what they see and ask questions. 

While demos are very exciting nothing beats hands-on activities.  Making slime or crystals is great – and you can find many recipes that your students can experiment with.  Remember, there has to be some chemistry education happening.  There are inquiry activities like, “What dissolves and what doesn’t?” in which you can really give students a chance to follow their own paths – making observations all the way. 

Search NSTA’s Learning Center https://learningcenter.nsta.org; and Freebies for Science Teachers:  https://www.nsta.org/publications/freebies.aspx  for ideas, lessons and activities. 

And I particularly like the Janice VanCleave books for the multitudes of experiments! I found an interesting site called https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com that has quite a few freebies.  I received some sample pages from an author of a slime recipe book and I have attached the collection.

Hope this helps!

 


Slime Sampler from Molly Conway's book: "Slime Sorcery" Collection
(8 items)
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     -User Uploaded Resource
Confetti_Birthday_Cake_3.jpg
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Crunchy_Slime_vertical.jpg
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Gabe Kraljevic
Gabe Kraljevic
3143 Activity Points

I searched through the NSTA Learning Center and found some activities/lesson plans that may interest you:

I hope you find these helpful! 

Emily Faulconer
Emily Faulconer
3050 Activity Points

Hi Payton,

I'm also an aspiring elemetary education teacher and I recently had a speaker come to my class and we did activities for young children that are fun but also science related. Something that I did that involved chemistry was making my own playdough! I had to measure out the flour mixture, water, and oil to make it and then cook it on a griddle however long I thought I needed to. Baking is a fun way to incorporate chemistry and most of the time you can either eat or play with what you made!

Lauren Caldwell
Lauren Caldwell
1685 Activity Points

Hello Annmarie!

I am also going to become an elementary education teacher! I think that there are many different ways to think about chemistry and incorporate them into your classroom. I think of experiments such as baking, crystals, why bread rises, food colors and dish soap, and even working with slime. All of these different activities involve some sort of chemistry. Including chemistry into your own classroom will be difficult, but there are so many different ways to incorporate chemistry!

 

Good luck!

 

Marissa

Marissa Strickler
Marissa Strickler
1960 Activity Points

Hey Payton! As many have said, and from my experience, chemistry in a younger classroom can be one of the most engaging activities you can do. Obviously young students cannot follow elaborate plans or tackle difficult tasks in a normal Chemistry classroom, so dial it down by making something easy or simple, like a gel or playdough. You can also use colors, such as food coloring, to explain some more complex concepts!

Ryan Veencamp
Ryan Veencamp
1760 Activity Points

Hi Annemarie,

I found an article about incorporating the science of baking into a classroom and including a trade book to engage learners. This could be a fun way to think about the chemistry involved in everyday life!

https://common.nsta.org/resource/default.aspx?id=10.2505%2f4%2fsc10_048_02_18

Let me know what you think!

-Megan

Megan Doty
Megan Doty
10752 Activity Points

Hi Annemarie,

I used elephant toothpaste for my preschoolers they loved it. We mixed yeast, dish soap, food coloring, warm water and hydrogen peroxide in plastic bottles to see the reaction of all the ingredients. The student had fun being scientists, they got to wear goggles and help mix the ingredients. It was a good experience for them since they got to see how different amounts of the same ingredients created different reactions. I only had three different hydrogen peroxide percentages so that they could see the different reactions based on slightly changing some ingredients. I also used three different sized bottles in the experiment based on the percentage of hydrogen peroxide.

Julia Uribe
Julia Uribe
615 Activity Points

Hello Annmarie,

I am going to be an elementary education/middle school teacher. I think that chemistry is something that is very important to do in the standard classroom and can be done in a classroom, no matter how small. Even something as small as candy crystals and baking is simple Chemistry. As a teacher that will be endorsed in chemistry, I will tell you, that these basic foundations are absolutely necessary in order to allow for a foundational block in order to grow further as a person. It is very difficult to include it without something like an oven, but I can tell you, that most elementaries have simple hot plates, which you can easily cook on. Best of luck. 

Jacob Hayes
Jacob Hayes
2220 Activity Points

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