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Chemistry in the Kindergarten Class
What topics in Chemistry do Kindergarten teacher's teach and what methods do they use to get the students involved in the learning process?
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Hi Kimberly -
I'm not a kindergarten teacher, but I would suggest working with measurements (metric system) and observations. I would also look at the NSTA journal for elementary teachers.
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I have taught elementary science methods for some time. Have you tried a lesson on acids and bases? Red Cabbage juice is a great indicator. Colorful and fun.
You would need to be a bit cautious in your selection of acids and bases to insure safety.
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There are several NSTA collections relating to elementary level chemistry
Here is a link to one on matter and atoms
and here is another on chemical reactions
This collection of resources is intended to provide professional development resources for teachers who are planning on introducing chemistry concepts to elementary school students. Included are 4 sci objects to help the teacher become more comfortable with the content as well as an article about safety. There is also an article about how teachers can teach chemistry using just material from the kitchen.
Thanks for the ideas it really helps to get others input!
This chemistry collection for preschool is very interesting:
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I am not a kindergarten teacher but I think doing a experiment on temperature might be fun. They can make ice cream in a ziploc bag. Its easy and fast.
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If you have heating/cooking facilities in the school/classroom, perhaps you can try "cooking" or "baking" activities to teach phases of water (or butter)..solid, liquid, gas. Students can describe their observations, draw what they see, make some grade-level appropriate conclusions (maybe...liquid takes up shape of container, solid retains its own shape, etc?)
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Sharon this is a very good idea. The only cooking facility we have is the school cafeteria and there is also a small kitchen in the teacher's lounge.
I think measuring and cooking lessons would be best. Anything that promotes wonderment of experimentation and observing, would be great
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I will look into a cooking lesson sounds very fun and it will have the student's excited and motivated to learn!
In reading through this post, I was surprised that no one had yet posted about the outstanding resources available through the American Chemical Society.
Inquiry in action teaches students chemistry-related physical science and the process of scientific inquiry with this guided resource. The guide includes activity sheets, student readings, assessments, molecular model animations (online only), and background information for teachers. You can download it for free here
Science for Kids offers supplement your K-6 science curriculum with 150 hands-on activities, puzzles, and games. Activities cover everything from chemical and physical change to motion and energy.
The Best of WonderScience is two-volume book containing more than 600 activities that teach science concepts through hands-on activities. Intended for students in grades 3-6, all activities have been reviewed for safety and use inexpensive, easy-to-find materials. Colorful illustrations and step-by-step directions make the activities easy and fun to do. WonderScience also includes student activity sheets, science background information for teachers, and explanations of how activities support the National Science Education Standards.
Pam, Thanks for sharing the resources. I teach high school but many of the kids have had little hands-on inquiry science so these websites will be very helpful in supplementing my teaching.
I really love these discussion forums. I am a high school teacher but I have 2 young children and my 4 year old son is like a sponge when it comes to science. He is always checking science books out of the library. I want to thank Pam for the links. The NSTA journal articles look interesting and the ACS inquiry in action and science for kids look great. I couldn't really access Zoodles. Thanks to everyone for the ideas on cooking and phase changes. He is psyched playing with ice as it melts. It seems like he could learn a bunch of math too in the kitchen. If only high school kids were as excited about learning... Thanks again.
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we used to do magnetism, static electricity and kaleidoscopes
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Here are some resources I shared with the Kinder teachers at our school
Kindergarten Science Activities
Baking Powder and Vinegar experiment
Early childhood science activities
Teaching Chemistry with Toys: Activities for Grades K-9 by Jerry Sarquis, Micky Sarquis and John Williams
This original Toys chemistry book provides exciting projects that use ordinary toys and play materials to demonstrate principles of chemistry. These activities capitalize on children's natural curiosity about the world around them to teach physical science. Students will get excited about the many fun ways to explore chemistry with over 30 hands-on activities, while teachers will enjoy the time savings and peace of mind that come from using materials that have been developed and tested by classroom teachers from across the country. Appropriate for grades K -- 9. -Adapted from Amazon.com
Here is an example from our state science standards (Physical Science).
Strand Physical, Earth, and Space Sciences
Standard 6: Physical, Earth, and Space Sciences: NATURE OF MATTER AND ENERGY: Understand the nature of matter and energy, forms of energy (including waves) and energy transformations, and their significance in understanding the structure of the universe
Topic Nature of Matter
Classify objects by their attributes (e.g., physical properties, materials of which they are made)
Sample Performance Assessment (SPA) The student: Sorts objects by the materials of which they are made (e.g., wood, cloth, metal, plastic, paper) and their physical properties (e.g., size, color, shape, weight).
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Have you looked at the TED-ed video collection?
I showed 2 of the TEDed videos in my marine science class already - students like that they're detailed and up-to-date. Pam, thanks again for sharing these fantastic resources.
I'm not an elementary teacher (I teach high school freshmen), but I also have young children (5 and almost 7) that are totally excited over science experiments. I've done demonstrations and activities with both of my children's classes when they were in preschool, and several are perennial favorites:
1) Making Slime - there are lots of different recipes out there (google search for recipes that will fit your budget) but the kids like the texture of the white-glue/borax best (and it can be kept seemingly indefinitely in a ziploc baggie stored in the refrigerator - I have a baggie from two or three years ago that's still good!) This is a great activity for teaching about how matter can change.
2) "Magic" candles: teaches the not-so-simple-to-explain concept air pressure, and can even help emphasize that air is matter.
Put a new birthday candle in a lump of playdough or modeling clay in the center of a pie-pan. Fill the pan with water so that the water is about halfway up the height of the candle. Light the candle. Invert an empty wide-mouthed glass bottle (the Starbucks Mocha drink bottles work great) over the top and into the water, leaving space between the jar and the bottom of the pan. The burning ends up lowering the air pressure in the bottle, and the water "sucks up" into the glass bottle and puts out the candle. This is great because they can "see" the change to the amount of "air" in the bottle.
3) "Lava lamps" - a great visual for density changes.
Fill a single-serving size water bottle halfway with colored water, then fill the 2nd half with cooking oil (leave about an inch of space at the top). Drop in a half-tablet of Alka-Seltzer. As the tablet effervesces, it takes some of the water with it - as the bubble reaches the top of the oil, the gas escapes and leaves the colored water behind. You get colorful bubbles rising and falling through the oil layer.
You can do a lot with "kitchen-sink-chemistry" - basically chemical demonstrations and experiments that deal with common, generally safe, and readily available kitchen "chemicals" (things like vinegar, baking soda, cooking oil, various spices - turmeric can be used as an acid/base indicator, etc.). In addition to red cabbage juice, if you can get bright purple sweet potatoes (here in Hawaii, they're often referred to as the "Okinawan Sweet Potato"), slices of the cooked potato will work as an acid/base indicator (since the purple pigment is the same as the pigment in the red cabbage).
With any of these (or any other kitchen-sink-chemistry experiments), I think the focus could be on teaching how to make good observations and describing what those observations are in detail, and then looking for evidence to reinforce some explanation for what they are observing. This is something that ALL kids can benefit from (not just kindergartners)!
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This is an interesting forum. First let me thank Dawn for the cool sites kindergarten science activities and early childhood science activities. They are both great. And I appreciate Mary's kid-tested fun activities. My kids are younger than hers and I know they would love to make slime. The lava lamp looks cool too. Also, I love TED talks and I was wondering why I hadn't heard of Ted-ed. I come to find out that it only started up this past March. Pam and Sharon, you both are really on the cutting edge. I will check it out when I get home. I'm at school now and you tube is blocked here by the state. At least we do get NSTA. Thanks for the ideas.
Wow! What a great response you've gotten for resources and ideas of teaching chemistry lessons to kinder students. I've taught in an elementary science lab and found several resources that work great with elementary level students. I've attached several in a Chemistry-Elementary collection. Another outstanding book that I use frequently is Teaching Chemistry with Toys available in the NSTA Science Store. GEMS also publishes a book called Secret Formulas, ISBN: 978-1-931542-14-2, that has great chemistry activities. Most of the activities in all of these resources are written for grades 1-3, but they can be adapted for kindergarten use.
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You have all given so many resource ideas to tap into, thank you!!! So many times I start a lesson and have a bad habit of going back to the same resources, usually in books. But having such a huge plethora of on-line resources to use makes teaching science lessons even more exciting!! Almost like unwrapping a gift every time I open a different resource!!
Have a happy science filled day!!!
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I just checked out the preschool collection of physic games on zoodles.com website and it will definately keep the attention of my students. I spent quite a bit of time on the different games and I had a tough time stopping. I can't wait to see how my students react to them.
I love checking out these forums; I always find a topic I am interested in.
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