The Concept: The children will learn about the role of a paleontologist, a scientist who studies fossils—the ancient remains of animals and plants. They will act as pretend paleontologists as they explore fossils with different plastic animals. The children will also sort by attributes and learn about characteristics of different types of dinosaurs. The follow-up activity provides opportunities to practice counting and learn the term in half.

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View a video of this activity here.


The Concept: The children will learn that suspensions have qualities of both liquids and solids and appear to be in a state between the two. Suspensions are thick; pour slowly; are similar to solids that appear to ooze; and can be compared to substances such as oobleck, GAK, or Silly Putty. Students will compare and contrast, mix, and measure as they explore a suspension.

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Check out the video for the Suspension activity here.


The Concept: Students will learn that some liquids are denser (heavier) than others. They will combine liquids and observe which float on top of the others. Students will examine the words sinking, floating, heavier, and lighter. Children will predict; pour; analyze; use the positional words top, middle, and bottom; and discuss colors.

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View the video for this activity here.


The Concept: Children love to sort just about anything! In this activity, they will learn how to classify and group items by size, color, shape, and other characteristics. Sorting can be done for free exploration or as part of a structured activity. It is easy to collect materials for sorting. Simply let parents know what you are collecting, and provide an area for them to drop off donated items.

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View the video for this activity here.


The Concept:  Estimating and making predictions are valuable skills that foster critical thinking in young children. As children develop number sense, they will also develop their ability to estimate. The more children have opportunities to practice estimating, the better their estimating skills will become. Even young children can make predictions—the fun is in the guessing!

This activity provides ideas for making estimation part of your daily routine. Along with estimation, the children will sort items by size and will count the items in each category.

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The Concept: In this activity the children will revisit the life cycle of the tadpole and mealworm and learn that plants also go through a life cycle as they develop. Children will use a hand lens to compare a wet seed to a soaked seed and describe the physical properties. They will compare the size and shape and will remove the seed coat to reveal the new plant. Finally, seeds will be planted to begin their study of plants and gardening.

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Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 5.11.06 PMThe Concept: Space and space travel are exciting topics for children. Most will know that rockets go up into outer space and that space is a faraway place. This activity involves recycling paper-towel tubes to make rockets. The children will be amazed when the rockets launch high in the air. Concepts presented include following directions, counting, making predictions, and understanding the concept of chemical changes in matter.

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Check out our Rocket videos here, and here.


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The Concepts: Children will use their sense of smell to sniff cross sections of evergreen trees. You can use donated Christmas trees, with trunks cut into 1- to 2-inch sections, or you can buy the tree blocks online. Students will put things in order from smallest to largest, use a hand lens to get a closer look at the rings of the trees, and use a tape measure to determine the distance across tree blocks and the height of their structures. The concept of recycling can also be introduced in this lesson.

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Check out the video for this activity here.




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The Concepts: Students will learn how things grow and change. After discussing life cycles, children will examine how tadpoles grow and change into frogs and how mealworms grow into black beetles. Children will learn how to use a hand lens as they get up close by holding tadpoles found in containers of water at their table. They will also have a chance to see tadpoles with legs as they transition into frogs. In weeks to come, the mature frogs will be seen by the students.

tadpole2Find tadpoles in local ponds and put them in the pond water in plastic shoe boxes. Have test tubes or small water bottles on hand for children who do not want to touch the tadpoles. You will also need hand lenses.

Frogs start out as tiny tadpoles. As they grow, they change. First they start out as a tiny egg, then they look like a little fish with a tail. As they grow, they develop two front legs. When the tail gets long and falls off, they will grow two more legs in the back. Soon, they will grow and turn into a frog. (Show photos of the stages of development).

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The Concept: Students will sort, count, graph, and make comparisons with a variety of lids. My nickname for this lesson is “Making Something out of Nothing at All.” Accumulating huge lid collections is easy. Simply put a box somewhere in the school, and ask families to recycle by bringing in used lids. You will find that the children tend to play with these items more than commercial toys.

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View the video for this activity here.


fire1The Concepts: Students will learn about the dangers of fire and what to do if they see a fire; call 911 and stop, drop and roll. They will discuss the concept that air is all around them and that air is needed to breathe. They will also discuss that when there is a fire, the fire will burn the air out of an area which makes it hard to breathe, which is why a fireman must wear a mask to help them breathe during a fire. The children will be shown 3 jars; small, medium, and large and will be told that there is air in each inverted jar. They will find that the bigger the jar, the more air inside. Next a candle will be placed under each jar and the children will count how long it takes for the air to burn out of each jar, thus extinguishing the candle. At the end of the lesson each child will have a chance to blow out a candle using the air in their lungs. Students will count and compare sizes small, medium, and large.

 

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Check out the video for this activity here.