Using 5 Senses For Observation
Day 1 of each MGT theme always includes new name tags with related background graphics. Last month almost every child requested help by asking me to write their names in highlighter first and then they traced over it. This month EVERYBODY, including a new, not-quite-3-year-old, wrote their names virtually unassisted. Proud teacher moment! I always hang up the name tags so students can refer to them, or just see their own writing progress.
This day was about using the 5 senses to explore science-y things. One of the activities was to make observations about different spices, and use fine motor skills by tracing names (double the practice)
with glue and then sprinkling said spices on to make "spicy names". I rounded up 5 different spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, taco seasoning, oregano, and black pepper. I scooped each spice into an empty ice tray and allowed students smell and then talk about their observations. My newest little had trouble with concept of inhaling, so every time I invited him to smell a spice, he would exhale through his nose and send spices flying all over the table. :) They don't all have equal vocabulary for talking about aromas, so it very quickly got narrowed down to what was a "yummy" smell, or a "yucky" smell. The general consensus was that cinnamon was the yummiest, and oregano and taco seasoning tied for the yuckiest. I did the same activity the following day with 2 students who were absent, and they both had the opposite reaction. They LOVED the taco seasoning spice as well as the black pepper, and were not such big fans of the cinnamon.
States of Matter
Day 2 was all about the states of matter, illustrated with water. The kids were really excited to play the solid-liquid-gas bead game with the foam dice. We used the measuring cups included in the curriculum materials to observe water as liquid, solid (ice), and gas (steam from hot water, which I was very careful not to allow them to touch directy). We observed what happened to the hot water when the mirror was placed over the container, and also what happened to the outside of the container with the ice. We listened to the Science Lab CD, and the instrumental track entitled Freeze and Melt organically morphed into a dance/game illustrating the concept in real life. They had so much fun, we ended up continuing the activity for a solid 20-25 minutes!
Mixing It Up
On Day 3, we talked about what kinds of things can be mixed up and then separated again...or not. For one small group, I gave them 3 different colors of sand in a sensory bin and allowed them to stir, mix, and write with their fingers to see what happened. The art project was all about mixing colors to make new colors. Even though most of them already could verbally tell me what color could be made by mixing 2 other colors, they were amazed to actually watch it happen on their own papers!
The verdict is in: science is cool! We are just getting started, and we're excited to dig a little deeper and learn more about how the world around us works.