The Early Years: Inquiry at Playby: Peggy Ashbrook

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Play and science inquiry are essential parts of early childhood programs. Imaginative play, unscripted yet guided by children’s own rules, allows students to use their imagination and develop self-regulation, symbolic thinking, memory, language, and social skills, as well as construct their knowledge and understanding of the world. Play can reflect what children learn while engaged in science inquiry. Like play, science inquiry helps children make sense of their world and appreciate the work of scientists.

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Reviews (5)
  • on Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:06 PM

We have just had the book character parades that usually accompany Halloween. I wish I had read this article by Peggy Ashbrook before the parade. Ashbrook does a beautiful job of tying the importance of play in science to the role playing of scientists. She includes ideas like having photos of scientists and the equipment that the scientist would use for the students to see. She suggested a visit from a real scientist. Additionally, she included ways to become the scientist for a question and answer session by the students. I could see students really becoming engaged in this scientific visit. Ashbrook further stated that students could draw, write, and tell about the experience as it related to the class scientific inquiry. That way, when the administrators thought the children were having too much fun to be learning, the evidence would be in the book. I could see myself becoming a science character. Furthermore, I could see assigning older students a science character to research and present dressed in accurate attire with the proper instruments as props. This article was well-written and easy to adopt to any grade level.

Cara Cook
Cara Cook

  • on Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:30 AM

This article describe a lesson in which a scientist visits the classroom. It can be a real scientist or the teacher dressed up as a scientist. This helps young students avoid sterotyping scientists as existing only in labs. Giving students props and clothes to pretend to be scientists is recommended in this article.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:48 AM

This article outlines practical and engaging ideas to introduce inquiry-based science into an elementary classroom. The article also includes a lesson plan to introduce a real scientist into the classroom. This is and excellent article that is a must read for any teacher looking for new ways to introduce inquiry into the classroom.

Maureen Stover  (Seaside, CA)
Maureen Stover (Seaside, CA)

  • on Tue May 10, 2011 2:28 PM

This article equates science inquiry with play as the author connects how children use their imaginations and natural inquisitiveness to construct their knowledge and understanding of the world. The highlighted activity in this article is the “Scientist Visit”. If an actual scientist is not available, the author suggests dressing up like a particular scientist with the appropriate costume. Child’s play really is a budding scientist at work!

Carolyn Mohr  (Buffalo Grove, IL)
Carolyn Mohr (Buffalo Grove, IL)

  • on Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:37 PM

In this play activity students learn about what scientists do by using stories of living scientists (classroom visitors) and biographies of scientists from the past. If none are available having students dress like a scientist can also work. While students should be introduced to what scientists are at an early age this activity might be too young a group (PreK) to comprehend their importance to society today and in the past.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

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