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Science in Kindergarten: What Does It Look like, Sounds like?
I know there is lots of good science instruction happening in Kindergarten classes everywhere. I am hoping that some of you will share some of your planned lessons or lessons you want to make more NGSS like. New lessons ideas might be sparked! Ideas might be built upon. What books do you use to begin science investigations? What science investigations lead to writing? Lots of opportunities. :-)
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I am working with third grade students, and we get to do lots of "experiments" during science lessons. We learned about sink or float, and reviewed the different states of matter. I am interested in how younger students become interested in science, and what we can do to encourage exploration.
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With my class I am having them create a hybrid animal and their habitat. They find two of their favorite animals and create one animal. They combine habitats and diet. After develping what they want to do and making a plan, they will use materials and create the animal along with the habitat it will live in. Uses their creative skills!
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Thank you for posting this! Very interesting!!
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I am currently in a 1st grade Dual language and I did an experiment about the changes of temperature of hot and cold. My little ones enjoyed using thermometers and seeing how the temperature changes when seeing the difference of hot and cold.
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I am a student teacher in a kindergarten class. We recently worked on the five senses. It was really amazing and students really learned so much. I have attached my demonstration on a experiment we did using pudding. they were able to eat afterwards for snack time.
Demonstration.docx (0.02 Mb)
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I have found a few great books that my students loved to read when it came to introduce science. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is an obvious choice but The Snowy Day is a great one to talk about states of matter. After reading the book, you could ask students what they think happens to the snowball if they don't know already. They could create stories about what happened to include writing into your lesson.
I hope this helped. Good luck!
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I used to worked as a Kindergarten Aide and I have seen students work with partner to discover which items can stick to the magnet. Then the teacher made a chart under magnetic section and non-magnetic sections. Then we discuss in class on which items falls under which category? Magnetic or Non-magnetic?
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I'm currently student teaching in Kindergarten now and we’re on the weather unit. I've started to come up with many science lessons and experiments for my students using Pinterest. "Raining sponge" and "shaving cream rain clouds" are names of two experiments I found. We're going to create both experiments side by side for the students to see. I choose this so the students can visualize and understand both comparisons to real clouds!
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I recently did a fun lesson with my kindergarten class over what they see in the sky. We all went outside and sat down. While they were sitting I asked them to look up at the sky for a solid minute without talking or playing with anyone near them. After the minute was up, we went back inside and I had them sit in their spot on the floor. Together we discussed things we saw in the sky, and I made an anchor chart with what they've seen in the sky and what they also see at night. After brainstorming some ideas, the students were given some paper and were told to draw something they've seen in the sky.
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I am a first semester student teacher and am getting ready to teach my first science lesson to my kindergarten class. I am teaching an inquiry based lesson on the plant life cycle. I thought a great book to use for this lesson would be The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Another idea I had was to bring in small plants for each student to pull out of the soil to explore and keep them engaged. What are books you have used during science instruction in your classroom?
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Today actually, I taught my first science engineering lesson to 15 third graders over hurricanes/natural disasters! This was connected to NGSS. However, I think that you could modify this to help kindergartners understand natural disasters as well! I have attached my lesson plan for it! The students loved it and they had so many great ideas for building structures to withstand the fan! Let me know if you could modify this for your younger students and what you did, if you do :)
Science_Mini_Lesson_-_3rd.docx (3.28 Mb)
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I'm a student teacher and have seen the lack of science in the lower level classrooms. I'm interested to see some of the responses.
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We are really working diligently in our school this year to ensure students have daily instruction in science. Our PLC focus this year is science (school-wide), so we are hoping to really make great gains this year.
All the best,
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I am also in student teaching and I also do not see too much Science incorporated in the classrooms. The most I have seen in the lower level classrooms is the weather during calendar time. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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I have noticed that the real shift in our school came after our principal decided to make science instruction a priority. Each grade level must dedicate time daily to quality science instruction. It is really working so far for us this year.
All the best,
I found some resources that you might be able to get some ideas from. It includes trade books you can use to introduce the lesson and also some activities to go along with it.
Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children for 2000—Books published in 1999 (Journal Article)
Teaching Through Trade Books: Kite Explorations (Journal Article)
The Early Years: Young Questioners (Journal Article)
Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K—12 (Books Published in 2007: Science and Children) (Journal Article)
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Thank you Jenny for the books, I've been looking for ideas I can use to teach in a kindergarten classroom.
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Thanks for those books! I'll be sure to add them to my resources.
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I have actually never heard of these books. I'll have to look into them. Thanks for sharing!
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Thank you so much for the recommended journals. Could you recommend some resources for me if I am going to teach toddlers physical science ageing from 1 to 4?
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I think mentioning NSTA Outstanding Trade Books as resource is a great idea. I know from my 3 years on the committee that chooses those books, there are many excellent books for young children that would be wonderful components of Kindergarten learning.
Reading a book aloud could be used in multiple ways. It might be used to introduce a science concept or to help student gain additional information about a science concept. Having said that, reading books about science isn't kindergarten students doing science.
Here are some articles about PreK to K teaching.
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I am currently student teaching in a first grade classroom. We are finishing the 4th week of school today and I have yet to see any kind of science instruction going on. The focus has been on math and writing only. I think that all these new demands in the math and reading curriculum are taking teachers away from science and social studies. I realize the others are important, however there should be a good balance between them.
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In my current field placement, I also don't see Science being incorporated that much. The list of NSTA Trade Books that you shared is really helpful! Thanks!
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As a student teacher I am very disappointed in the lack of science in the curriculum. The students enjoy science so much. I hope I see some interesting things here.
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Science is not as incorporated in the early grades as it is in the older grades. In the older grades they have to focus more on exams that they have to pass.
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I am in a first grade classroom. As far as I've seen, we have only reviewed the science lab tools. The students were simply introduced to the tools and were expected to identify each tool. They drew a picture of each tool.
I would like to see science integrated with another subject.
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I would agree with many of the post here. Being in schools I have also not seen science being done in the lower grade levels it's like its none existent. I think that is pretty sad because I think there are many interesting ways to talk about science with young children.
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Science instruction is very minimal in the primary grades whatever the reason. In Vermont, we are thinking one of the reasons is that because testing in ELA and mathematics are the subjects that are part of the accountability teachers are spending more time teaching those two subjects. The result is the curriculum is being narrowed leaving no time for science,never mind, social studies, health, physical education,arts,language.
I was in a 1st grade classroom today where mathematics was being taught and the students were using "talk moves" from science. There was a disagreement about an answer and the teacher modeled ,"I respectfully disagree..." Students followed up by repeating what the teacher said and explained their thinking. They explained why they disagreed. When students gave answers the teacher probed,"How do you know that?" This sounds very much like "What's your evidence?" While students were working and talking they were engaged in the Common Core mathematical practices.
Although she was in fact teaching mathematics,she was teaching and modeling some of NGSS Science & Engineering Practices and skills necessary to meet those practices. Students were speaking and learning to listen carefully to each other. If I am not mistaken ,speaking and listening are part of the Common Core ELA standards.
The point I am trying to make is that there are many commonalities between the 3 sets of standards. As educators we need to take advantage of those commonalities and use them to enhance learning not narrow it.
I am currently in a Kindergarten classroom, and we do about 30-45 minutes of science everyday. Last week we focused on rocks, their properties, and their uses. This week we are working on soil.
Generally there is a fair amount of hands-on learning.
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I felt the same way about science instruction taught in the school I've been place at for student teaching. I noticed that we teach science and social studies for only 20 mins a day, and that's if we actually get to it. Since I'm in a bilingual classroom and science needs to be taught in English, a lot of that time is spent translating between English and Spanish. I did integrate science in the reading block with a book about living things. I'm sure this is a way we can teach more science during the day.
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Take a good long look at this blog for quality early childhood resources that are respectful of what young children can do, and guide educators in facilitating an atmosphere that allows for children to investigate their world. It is much better than a lot of the "science for amusement and showmanship" that serves to entertain rather than nurture budding scientists.
Beth Van Meeteren
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I teach kindergarten. At the risk of being criticized for the lack of real plans, I will share with you how I run a science based curriculum.
It was my dream to integrate science into the literacy based curriculum but in the end, it didn't feel genuine. So I switched my thinking around. Now I start with science and integrate literacy, math, and social studies. This is year 2 of my program and I am now more confident and relaxed. The subject matter is totally engaging and the children are eager to learn more every day. We have special sessions on Skype or have visitors in class. We take science field trips and explore our school grounds. Other materials are spread around the room and change with the seasons.
Questions and observations are at the core of my approach.
The school librarian provides picture books on any subject I ask for and the kids use those during literacy centers.
We write science observation reports with targeted sections for literacy development.
I could go on and on. I am attaching the spreadsheet I created. It is a general look at how I think, what resources and ideas I have, and also where I can locate other resources. It is not an actual plan but a look at options and ideas for how I can proceed.
The second attachment is the "science observation report" that is a regular feature of our week.
What I do not have on the spreadsheet yet are the great things that happened during another unit on Space that the students asked for when we had extra time in the schedule. That is another very rewarding topic.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AtKeQj2p4330dFVuX2lQbnE4eVpJd3JEX2hwTmZlY3c&usp=sharing (External Website)
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cbtf0OR4IEfm96sOnhbQZVXY5r2hBJp-cW7B7D3K4Ng/edit?usp=sharing (External Website)
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This is awesome Gail, I hope to teach science like this one day. I saved the documents for when I start teaching next year. I'm not sure where I'll be but I hope they take science as serious as you do.
I want to give you a great big hug!! we have the same dream. I did this with a multiage grade 5 & 6 for 15 years. Although I am a huge proponent of the Next Generation Science Standards, I love the fact you start with science and integrate all the other disciplines.
I am 5 years out of the classroom but I truly believe that integration with science/maybe social studies as the foundation of all learning. In fact,I do not think it is possible to meet all the expectations of Common Core and NGSS if we continue to teach in silos.
You are doing what young children need in order to meet NGSS standards. You are creating a rich,culture environment where children demonstrate curiosity, ask question, and obtain information from the environment, books,etc. The children in your class are engaged in the science and engineering practices. Thank you for sharing.
I am sharing a link to the collection I put together for kindergarten around the topic of weather. I hope you find it helpful. Weather Resources for Kindergarten
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Thank you, Vanessa.
This is REALLY helpful! Thanks!
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I could use some insight on the topic also. I am a student teacher and I am having trouble coming up with science activities.
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Thanks to everyone for the kind words and encouragement.
I am still in college, but hope to be teaching soon. I hope to teach the lower levels and I found this forum to be very interesting. Gail's way of teaching and her shared documents are so interesting. She has the integration of the other subjects and that's wonderful. She even included a little bit of arts and crafts, which all students enjoy!
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Thanks for sharing! I do not see much science in my Student Teaching class, this was great help!
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I am a student teacher and also a mother. My three daughters have all loved science since kindergarten. Their favorite activities are the hands-on experiments and long-term activities. My second grade daughter has been raising caterpillars. They have made their chrysalis and she is anxiously awaiting them to become butterflies. They participate in science activities daily. When all three of them were in Kindergarten they had to do a daily observation of the weather. They made pictures of what they saw outside from October 1st until December 1. They noted when the leaves changed and when the temperature started to drop. This gave them a direct connection to the changing of the seasons. Kindergartners love activities where they can draw pictures of observations they make. I feel this was a great activity.
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Robin, your children might be interested in participating in a citizen science project. See SciStarter for a list of projects, some that even preschool classes can participate in.
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I think to start science, it is essential to read a book with the class. A lot of students, especially in Kindergarten may think they have never had any science contact before school or know what science is. Depending on your lesson topic, I think a book is always the way to go. It has stories, pictures and you can use it for writing as well. Integration of science and writing with one book!
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I am in a kindergarten classroom and I did a lesson on exploring light! I have attached it to this post so hopefully it will help you out with some ideas!
Light_Lesson_Plan.doc (0.12 Mb)
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I am also in college and during my hours in Kindergarten and 1st grade classes, I have noticed the big lack of science in the curriculm; what I have seen is very basic and simple. This post has a lot of great information, tips, and resources that will definitely come in handy when I become a teacher. I hope to integrate science more and have the students invovled in several hands-on activities. Thanks!
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I am currently in College and will be student teaching in January. I have seen many great science units and lessons in grades 2-5, however the extent of science in k-1 seems to be basic body parts, weather, and overly simplified plants. Most of the science was taught through literacy. I am interested on how teachers have modified science subjects in these grade levels and am hoping that we can bring more hands on science content and activities into the classroom.
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I think that science in kindergarten is about letting students explore and be young scientist. Students should be understand the lesson at their level of knowledge.
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Great ideas being posted on this board. I recently learned ways to incorporate discrepant events into science lessons in order to spark engagement and is an interesting way of inquiry thinking.
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I am currently student teaching in a Kindergarten classroom, and I do not really get to see the students do anything with science. Science is left towards the end of the day and if they do not get to it; they just don't do it. What is something that I could do to try to get the students to explore with science a little more in the classroom?
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I'm currently a pre-service teacher and my area of interest is early childhood. I also have noticed the lack of prioritizing science (basically any subject other than math and writing) in the classroom. I have not yet observed an engaging science class. I truly believe we must find a balance. Every subject is important and serves a crucial purpose.
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Thanks for the great ideas. I look forward to using many of the ideas listed as I will be a first time teacher next year.
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I wish that I saw more science in the early grades. It seems to get skipped over often.
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I’m currently a student teacher in a kindergarten class. During science, the teacher will first read a science book or show a video and then students will work using a lot of hands on. This will help students explore.
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I am a student teacher and have not seen many science experiments conducted in the classroom. The students usually work in partners to complete assignments and watch videos on Sates of Matter. I can't wait to implement some of these ideas into my future classroom!
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I love the fact that this website allows us to draw in the ideals of other students. Just from reading your post I have learned of some many more ways to incorporate science in the classroom. Very informal! Thanks!
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Hi Kathleen and everyone,
Although I do not teach Kindergarten Science, I consult on various Pre-school Science programs in the Metro Atlanta area. We have taken a more Literacy/Multi-Sensory Approach to teaching science and we involve students in the process of discovering the phenomenon themselves. It has been quite a journey as I write the standards and present it to the preschools for them to reinforce.
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Kids love science. A lot of my students in first grade say that science is their favorite subject even though we aren't able to focus on it a lot. I think it is important to keep the activities engaging and something that allows the students to do hands on work, not just a video or worksheet that some classes use. Having an exploration even if its not huge really engages the students and helps them love and take advantage of the time that we get with science because as I said sometimes with younger students the time is limited.
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Good Evening Kathy!
I was also very curious about how science looked in a Kindergarten class when I first started my semester student teaching. I wondered because it wasn't on any of my mentor teachers lesson plans and she did say it was always a very short lesson she would throw in at times but there wasn't much time dedicated to science. I am about to do a lesson on exploring interactions with magnets. I am keeping it simple but also allowing some inquiry. I will introduce the lesson with a book called The Magnetic Dog to introduce the word attraction. Then I will allow the students to use a bar magnets and see if a magnet will attract items around the classroom. We will discuss as a class what items attracted and which did not. Once the anchor chart is created I will ask about some similarities between both categories. Its a simple introductory lesson but I am excited to see how much the children understand!
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I am a education student at Xavier University and I am very curious about how science works in kindergarten. I have not seen many lessons done and usually they seem to be very small and are a part of another lesson. I am looking for a lesson to do in one of the kindergarten classrooms I am observing in this semester. Can you give me some ideas or what has worked for you and what hasn't?
Thanks so much!
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There is a book called "Bartholomew and the Oobleck" it is a great way to start a lesson and the author is Dr. Seuss which every kid seems to know and love. You can do an experiment with them teaching them how somehting can be both a solid and a liquid at the same time. It is fun for the students and they are learning at the same time.
easy science for kids (External Website)
states of matter for kids (External Website)
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