Friday, September 12, 2008


As I have alluded to in several posts, I had the amazing opportunity this summer to attend Steve Spangler's Science in the Rockies, a three day conference that focused on how to get kids excited about science. It was an amazing experience, and I came home armed with the knowledge and supplies to start teaching science to my preschoolers.

So, I had the knowledge, I had the supplies, but how to actually go about doing it? I was stumped. I tried having a formal science time. That was a miserable failure. (Ok, kids everyone join me over here for an experiment. Yeah right - like they were going to leave the playdough table for an exper-what is that is she said?). My colleague hit upon the perfect formula. Just set up a center. Do a couple of demonstrations, and then let the kids learn how how to do it. Explain what is happening, and even if it goes over their head, you have planted the seed. My current strategy is to pose a have the kids give me answers, and then we see what happens.

Living in Arizona, this time of year is incredibly hot and the sun is amazingly strong. What better time to do experiments that involve the sun? We talked a lot about how the UV beads (see my post about my first week) change color in the sun. Then we used sunprint paper to make prints.

Question: What will happen if we set objects on this paper and then put the paper in the sun?


  • It will change colors (good thinking - that is what happened with the beads)
  • Nothing - it's paper
  • The wind will blow it away

Result - Really cool sun prints, and the kids loved making them on their own...

Next we melted crayons...

Question: What will happen when we put these crayons in the sun?


  • They will disappear
  • They will change colors
  • They will go to my house

Result - they did change colors and disappear! They did not, however, go to that little girl's house. The kids loved this, too. We melted lots of crayons in star shaped tins, now we have lots of star shaped multi-colored crayons. The best part of this experiment - the pure joy of peeling the paper from the crayons and then breaking them. Fun!

Then there were three days in a row where it was cloudy (clouds and rain always catch us by surprise in AZ) - I had to break away from sun and try something else... I opted for Clear Spheres. These are little tiny beads that when you place them in water overnight they become marble sized gooey feeling balls. The sensory feeling is really cool. I set out the beads and asked the kids....

Question: Hmmm....what do you think would happen if I put these beads in water?


  • They will change color (still in UV bead mode)
  • They will melt
  • They will disappear
  • They will be bigger (awesome guess!)
  • They will turn into ice
  • Nothing
  • How should I know?

Results: The kids LOVED the big spheres. They tossed them around, they squeezed them until they burst, used them in play (these are dinosaur eggs!). Two children asked what made get so big, and I talked about how the spheres were made from the same stuff that is in diapers - and just like a diaper, get bigger when they get wet. The kids were suitably grossed out and amazed. I will bring these out again when we do colors.

Next up? Using packing peanuts to build with.

Question: Sooooo...what do you think will happen if we dip these packing peanuts in water?


  • They will get bigger (remember the Clear Spheres?)
  • They will disappear
  • Nothing
  • They will change color

Results: They made awesome sculptures. They loved how they could stick these starch based peanuts on top of each other. They also loved how they turned into goop when completely soaked. Some kids even had the great idea to paint them.

So, so far science has been awesome! Stay tuned, I will continue to document how this whole science thing goes...

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