Science

*Note: The times listed in the perenthesis next to the activities are approximate. Each activity could take more or less time. This module is designed to be completed over a period of time rather than in a single sitting.

Introduction

  1. View the TK Introductory Presentation Science for Young Learners for an overview of this module and key ideas related to teaching science to young children (15 min).

NGSS Kindergarten Standards

  1. Reflect on your science methods course and text materials related to the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools, K-12. You should know the three dimensions of the Framework and understand how the standards are organized. This module assumes you have this background. Peruse the links above, as needed (30 min)
     
  2. Read the NGSS Kindergarten Standards for California and the Preschool Learning Foundations in Science, Vol. 3. Identify specific kindergarten standards and determine whether and how they align with the preschool foundations in science.
     
  3. Read your classmates' postings and thoughtfully comment on two. (In other words, do not simply echo the posting; rather, extend the thoughts in the posting by elaborating on the content or making connections with other learning (30 min).

    As a future TK teacher, you will analyze both the NGSS Kindergarten Standards and the Preschool Learning Foundations to determine what to teach in TK and to help you determine where your young students are on the learning continuum between preschool and kindergarten (30 min).
     
  4. Think about whether the above NGSS Kindergarten Standards for California and the Preschool Learning Foundations in Science reflect the ideas presented in the PowerPoint Presentation that opened this module.

Instruction

  1. Do one of the following (1 hour):
  • Visit your campus library (in person or virtually) and skim several recent issues of Science and Children, a journal of the National Science Teachers Association. Each issue has a column entitled "Early Years" that focuses on science activities for young children. Read several of these columns and any other articles in the journal that share ideas for teaching science to young children. Record the titles and issue information (e.g., April 2011) of at least three that you have read on the Science for Young Learners Guide.

    --or--
     
  • Search for kindergarten science lessons on the Science NetLinks, a project of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Read several lessons. Record on the Science for Young Learners Guide (see above) the title of at least three lessons you have read.
  1. Select one lesson (from either sources: Science and Children OR Science NetLinks) that interests you and complete the (above) Science for Young Learners Guide to support your thinking about the learning experience described (20 min).
     
  2. Optional Extension: Do one of the following (1 hour):
  • Implement the learning experience in a TK classroom. Discuss your experience with classmates.

    -- or --
     
  • Implement the learning experience with classmates in your university course. Lead a discussion about the experience and include attention the questions in the (above) Science for Young Learners Guide.


Learning From Experienced Teachers

  1. Visit a TK classroom. Ideally, select a time when you can observe children engaged in science (45 min).
  • Interview the teacher about science instruction in his or her classroom. See Sample Interview Questions for ideas.
     
  • Be prepared to share what you learned with classmates.
     
  • Take photographs of science centers and materials. Post the photographs, with brief descriptions, on the course discussion board.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not take photographs of the children unless you have written permission from the families and school to do so. Do not post photographs of children on the course discussion board unless you have written permission from the families and school to do so.

Families and Communities

  1. Families and communities are important partners in children's learning. Do one of the following (30 min):
  • Search the Internet to identify ways to include families in an early childhood science program. Prepare a list of ideas to share with classmates on the discussion forum or in class.

    --or--
     
  • Identify community resources, such as museums, arboretums, science and nature centers or other informal science institutes. Determine whether they offer special programs or experiences for young children. Develop an annotated list of five resources to share with your classmates on the discussion forum or in class.

Final Thoughts

  1. Return to the Anticipation Guide you completed in the PowerPoint Presentation at the beginning of this module. How would you respond to each item now? Think about whether your responses have changed and the reasons for your new responses (10 min).

Approximate Total Time: 3 - 4 hours