Early-Years science: Intro

Early-Years science: Intro 5 May 2021 Whilst I was on paternity leave, I made up simple science experiments and activities to do at home with K      and E     . I still do now.

What I do is very simple.I usually make up science activities on the spur of the moment, using whatever materials we have around the house. Often ideas for experiments come from questions K      or E      ask me, or things we notice whilst out and about. Very often the experiments don't work first time. Then K     , E      and I discuss together why it didn't work, think about ways to adapt it, and try again.

My intention isn't to "teach them science". Knowing by age 4 that plants needs water and light to grow, or that electricity only flows in circuits, is irrelevant. What I want to introduce them to early is how to look at the world scientifically and how to think like a scientist.

Early-Years Science: Buoyancy and Displacement

Goals

Investigate how buoyancy and displacement are related.
Notice correlations and connections between different phenomena.

You will need

  • 1 large, waterproof container. Transparent if possible, but any container will do. E.g. a bucket, basin, large mixing bowl, or watertight box. A bath or sink will also work fine.
  • Something boat-like: e.g. a toy boat or a small plastic tub. Plasticine or play-dough to shape into a boat will also work fine.
  • Waterproof marker pen. (A normal felt pen will do if you don't have a waterproof marker.)
  • Small weights, E.g. pebbles or marbles.
  • A balloon.

Early-Years Science: Floating and Sinking

Goals

Investigate why things float or sink.
Introduce the idea of formulating and testing hypotheses.

You will need

  • 1 large, waterproof container. E.g. a bucket, basin, or watertight box. A bath or sink will also work fine.
  • A variety of objects of different shapes and sizes, and made out of different materials: stone, metal, plasic, wood. E.g. metal, plastic and wooden spoons of similar sizes; different size spoons; metal and plastic bottle tops; stones; corks; matchsticks.
  • Plasticine or play-dough.
  • A small plastic tub that fits in the big container.

Early-Years Science: Cress-Growing

Goals

Investigate what seeds and plants need to grow.
Introduce the basic idea of a controlled trial.

You will need

  • cress seeds
  • 4 trays (plastic food trays are perfect - remember to wash them throughly first!)
  • 2 cardboard boxes (big enough for the trays to fit in)
  • 4 pieces of kitchen roll, or enough cotton wool to line each tray