The first few weeks of preschool are a time when children
adjust to being members of a group, learn daily routines, and gradually become
participants in the ongoing life of the classroom. When we first conceived of ScienceStart! as
an all day, everyday early childhood curriculum, we asked our three lead
teachers to help us integrate science concepts into typical activities of the
first month or so of preschool.
The result was our 8 week Measurement and Mapping Module, divided into the My School and My Friends Month and the Learning to Measure Month.
The My School and My
Friends lesson plans guide
children's exploration of their new school environment, their teachers,
classmates, and physical surroundings.
For example, during this month children participate in creating and representing (listing) the daily
schedule, charting each child’s
birthday, creating a map of the
classroom, and sorting toys according
to where they belong.
activities build on these simple forms of representation in the second month, Learning to Measure. During this month, children learn how to
measure the length and width of their classroom, learn about volume, follow
directions for making playdough and cake using tablespoons, teaspoons, and
cups. Finally they explore the concepts
of small, medium, and large in the context of Goldilocks.
The week long set
of lesson plans Measuring to Cook
provides opportunities for children to make things they can either eat or play
with (e.g., playdough) as they learn the importance of accuracy and the
differences between standard and non-standard measuring tools.
Month and the four sets of weekly lesson plans associated with Autumn Science
also offer multiple opportunities to for children to actively participate in
measuring and representing leaves, trees, apples, pumpkins, and so forth.
"One of the things is that it is hands-on...so often our students need that hands-on experience." Teacher