National Science Week (12 - 20 August 2017) is the perfect opportunity to bring a whole school celebration into the early years classroom and undertake some fun hands-on activities. What makes Science so much fun to teach is you can actually see the cogs whirring and your students' eyes light up as they perform experiments on different materials.
To help you through Science Week I'm going to show you some of my favourite activities for early years science, point you in the direction of some great free and paid ideas and, as always, show you how to align these activities to the Australian curriculum (I don't know about you, but I don't have time to wander away from the curriculum too far during my teaching week).
As always, make sure you review the Scientific Method with your students before beginning experiments (you can download a free set of posters on the Scientific Method by clicking here).
1. What is waterproof?
I love explaining the concept of 'waterproof' to young students. It's always fascinating to see what they think will or won't be waterproof. I usually start with a discussion about what materials are made from and work towards undertaking an experiment with paper hats. The challenge I set students is - can you make a hat out of paper that will keep your partner's head dry (i.e.will be waterproof?). This activity ends up being a LOT of fun with students making paper hats and spraying water on them or, if you can take the activity outside on a hot day, using a watering can over their heads to test them!
Instructions for making some great paper hats can be found here.
Connections to the Australian Curriculum: Foundation Year Science - Objects are made of materials that have observable properties.
Useful paid product: Science Story - My Waterproof Coat
2. Measure the weather.
For this activity you will build a weather vane and record your observations in a journal. This is a nice idea to build on a Monday and then record observations each day in a weather journal, leaving Friday to reflect on what you have learned.
Watch the step by step tutorial here or click below.
Connections to the Australian Curriculum: Foundation Year Science - Daily and seasonal changes in our environment affect everyday life.
Useful paid product: Foundation Year Science Pack: Recording sheets
One elaboration within the Australian Foundation Year Science curriculum, seeks to get students to investigate and reflect on how Aboriginal peoples have traditionally identified the changing of the seasons. This also fits in nicely with the new HASS curriculum on exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders perspectives on community and place.
Exploring a story such as Tiddalick the Frog, is a fun and interactive way for students to understand weather and seasonal concepts such as drought and flood. I always enjoy creating some art pieces on Tiddalick to go with this activity as well.
There is a wonderful video of Tiddalick the Frog available here or click below.
Connections to the Australian Curriculum: Foundation Year Science - How Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander concepts of time and weather explain how things happen in the world around them.
Useful paid product: Foundation Year Science Pack: Aboriginal Seasons & QR Video Sheet