Ann Caspari, Early Childhood Education Specialist Lizzie Cammarata Early Childhood Education Program Specialist How do 3-5 year-olds learn best? Children are active, concrete thinkers, and they are curious Children ask questions, use their imaginations, and listen to and tell stories Science in Your Classroom What is inquiry? Engage Focus Observations Clarify Questions Explore Investigate Share, Discuss, and Reflect Draw Conclusions, Formulate Ideas and Theories GUIDING PRINCIPLES All children participate in different ways. 2. Science connects to real life. 3. Expectations are tailored to individuals. 4. Children work together. 5. The teacher is focused. 1. All Children Participate • Activities can be differentiated •Science is for everyone, not just a few groups of students Science from Real Life Draws from children’s experiences. Explored directly by children . Explored deeply over time. Tailored Expectations All children learn at different speeds. Realistic expectations for 3 to 5-year-olds. Made developmentally appropriate for each child. Children Work Together Children learn from each other. Children help explain and teach at times. Children observe each other. Focused Teacher Roles Teachers take on specific roles including: • observing • parallel play • facilitating learning from each other Teachers take active and supportive roles, but help students learn from each other instead of telling kids how to do it. Elements of Inquiry Inquiry-Rich Environment Open Exploration Focused Exploration Documentation Science Talks and Reflection More Exploration and Reflection! The Difference Between Play and Inquiry Play and Inquiry start with exploration, but inquiry follows exploration with documentation and reflection. The Difference Between Play and Inquiry Steps of inquiry: What do children know about the topic? What are they interested in? How can this be used to meet curricular goals? The Difference Between Play and Inquiry Science talks are a crucial part of inquiry science. Students need the lifelong skill of documenting what they have done and reflecting upon their work. Appropriate Inquiry Science Topics for Young Children Light and Shadows Water Air Building Structures Ramps and Motion Nature Exploring Light and Shadows What do we know about shadows? How can we make shadows? Moonbear’s Shadow, by Frank Asch YOUR TURN! Exploring Light and Shadows Think about: How you can change your shadows How can shadows move? What different types of shadows can you make? Create artwork to document your observations. After, share an observation using the artwork a group member created. What did you notice? What questions about light and shadows do you still have? How was the documentation process helpful? The Science of Light and Shadows Three main science goals: 1. Most objects don’t make their own light. The sun, lamps, flashlights and fires are all sources of light. 2. Shadows need a light source and an object. The object can block all or part of the light. 3. Shadows show the shape of an object. Shadows change size based on how close they are to the light source. What is Light? Light is a form of energy and travels as a particle and a wave. Humans see light in 7 different colors: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet (ROY G BIV). Almost all objects reflect or absorb the 7 different colors of light. Objects appear to be different colors based on what colors they reflect. What is a Shadow? A Shadow is light blocked by an object The object can block all or part of the light Shadows change size based on how close they are to the light source Creating Shadows Opaque objects block all the light. Some objects don’t block any light – like windows. These are called transparent objects. When an object blocks part of the light, but lets part of the light through, it is called translucent. Some translucent objects act as filters, and only let certain colors of light through. These objects create colored shadows. The Properties of Shadows The shadow the object creates will be the shape of the object. Most features of an object are lost in the appearance of the object’s shadow. The shadow can only change shape if the object changes shape or position, or if another shadow intersects with it. If the object is close to the light source, it casts a bigger shadow than when the object is far away from the light source. Open Exploration with Light and Shadows What do your students know about shadows? How can they make shadows? What ways might you expand their interests to help students understand the science goals of light and shadows? Getting ready for Open Exploration Week 1: Observing everyday shadows and light. Point out sources of light and shadows around the classroom, playground, and school Read a book about shadows and light and discuss what students already know about shadows and light (i.e., Moonbear’s Shadow, by Frank Asch) Week 2: Intentionally observing shadows Take students outside and document shadows over the course of the day, then discuss as a class Let students explore indoor shadows with flashlights and paper, then discuss as a class Focused Exploration • Children explore/investigate certain questions in depth •Teacher/childcare provider develops environment, materials and science talk to support children in exploring a particular topic or challenge to deepen their understanding. Science Talks Before you begin a science talk, observe students as they explore – what are they discovering? During a science talk, allow students to explain their discoveries Challenge them to investigate their discoveries even further Science Talk Ideas Encourage students to draw pictures of the stories they are telling and of the shadows they are creating. Take digital photographs of shadow puppet theater, shadows outside, or “Shadow Dancing” in the classroom. Use these to reflect during a science talk Use your SMART board or over-head projector to create a “shadow matching” science talk Don’t forget the science goals! Involving Families: Exhibitions Use children’s reflections, documents and art work to create an exhibit for families about Light and Shadow Put children’s documents on display in your “museum”! Focused Exploration: Light and Shadows Two challenges for Focused Exploration: Shadow Puppet Theater Classroom Sundial Make your own Shadow Puppets! Science, Dramatic Play, Narrative, Literacy Some children may be able to make their own shadow puppets; others may have more success exploring the shadow puppets Making Shadow Puppets Give students opportunities to experiment and create their own shadow puppets. Consider providing: Pre-cut shapes to glue together Simple shapes on cardstock for students to cut out and decorate. You can have puppet-making materials out as a center or make puppets as a whole-group activity. Focused Exploration: Shadow Puppet Theatre Shadow Puppet Theatre provides ways to link literacy and science Science Goals: Shadows show the shape or outline of an object. Shadows can change size. A shadow moves when its object moves. Choosing a story Choose a familiar and simple story for students to retell. Consider: Nursery rhymes Fairy tales or folk tales A story used for literacy instruction Share the story as a read-aloud and also as a shadow puppet story. After students have created the puppets, place them in the shadow puppet center. Encourage re-telling the story, but students may want to make up new stories as well. Focused Exploration: Shadow Puppet Theatre Let your students explore different options! Stuffed animals or bought puppets Child-made puppets Body/hand shadows 2D and 3D shadow puppets Focused Exploration: Outdoor Sundial Helps students understand how shadows can change in nature. Science goals: Shadows change in a regular pattern over the day. The sun is a light source. One object can have different sizes of shadows. Classroom Sundial Start with shadow time outside in the morning, at noon, and in the afternoon. Use a camera, chalk, stones, butcher paper, etc., to help students see how shadows are changing. Chart questions, ideas, and observations students have. Set aside 30-45 minutes each day to observe outside, replicate inside, and discuss with a small group science talk each day. YOUR TURN! Hands-on: Using Sundials Key word: a gnomon is the part of the sundial that casts the shadow. Make a gnomon with clay and a marker or pencil. Can you make short and long shadows? Do you think these shadows are similar to or different from the shadows you and your students will explore outside? Shadows can change not only over the day, but over the year as well. How do you think shadows change from summer to winter? Lise the Sundial Gnomon Check out these different shadows Lise casts over the course of one day. With your children, you probably will not do all your observations on the same day! Notice how Lise’s shadow changes in size and position. Also notice the length of her shadow at 11:45am and at 12:15pm. Is it what you expected? What shadows do you expect in the morning, at noon, and in the afternoon? 9:45 a.m. 10:15 a.m. 10:45 a.m. 11:15 a.m. 11:45 a.m. 12:15 p.m. 12:45 p.m. 1:15 p.m. 1:45 p.m. 3:15 p.m. Sundials What did you notice about Lise’s shadow? Did the shadows at 11:45a.m. and 12:15p.m. look the way you thought they would? Why do you think Lise’s shadow looked the way it did in the morning, noon, and afternoon? Sundials and the Seasons The earth’s axis is tilted, so the Southern and Northern hemispheres don’t get the same amount of sunshine at the same time. When the tilt leans us away from the sun, we get fewer hours of sunlight. Shadows are longer because the sun never appears directly overhead (December). When the tilt leans us closer to the sun, we get more sunlight. The sun appears to be directly overhead and shadows are shorter (June). The Earth continues to rotate on its axis as it orbits the sun. Notice how the tilt stays constant as the Earth orbits. Things to keep in mind… The activity requires outdoor space that can keep a semi-permanent record of shadow length and position. Document the shadow position so that the children can see the change. Use a camera if possible to display the images inside the classroom Using the Sundial Take a picture of the sundial’s shadow, or draw one. Be sure to mark where you are taking the picture! This way you can have a reliable record. Get the whole shadow in the picture. Encourage students to observe their own shadows. Compare and contrast their shadows with the sundial shadow. Before Heading Back Outside…. Look at the photographs from previous days and make a prediction about what they will see today. Add the most recent photograph and discuss what patterns they see. Reflecting on the Sundial After coming inside… Discuss what your students observed outside. Let students recreate the shadows with flashlights. Encourage students to draw what they observed. Questions? Ann Caspari – [email protected] Lizzie Cammarata – [email protected] http://www.nasm.si.edu/ Stay tuned for the Science in Pre-K website!