Early childhood/Life science

In my volunteer work at a nature center, I get to see young children as they explore the natural world. They seem to have an intense interest in the animals and plants around them. This issue has several ideas to capitalize on this interest with relevant activities and investigations.

What do living things do for food? This month’s Teaching Through Trade Books* features books and activities related to food chains. Making Connections Through Conversation* also discusses food chains and habitats, with an emphasis on connections and real-life studies. [SciLinks: Food Chains, Food Chains and Food Webs] In addition to a need for food, living things have a life span. “Life” Science has ideas for guiding students through a study of life cycles in plants. The life cycle of insects is the focus of this month’s Formative Assessment Probes [SciLinks: Life Cycles, How Do Plants Grow?, Metamorphosis]

The authors of Indoor-Outdoor Science* show how an entire school can become a “living lab,” using gardening and composting as a focus for study. Compost: The Rot Thing for Our Earth* includes a 5e lesson on recycling and composting. Continuing with the topic, The Wonder of Worms* looks at misconceptions about these animals through a 5e lesson on life cycles and the roles these animals play in an ecosystem. And this month’s Science 101 column answers the question How Do Earthworms Function? [SciLinks: Decomposer, Earthworms, Composting]

Using similarities and differences in plants as the context, the authors of Plants, Alike and Different* show how to use a preschool learning model (with the components play-explore-discuss). [SciLinks: Living Things]

Does What I Eat and Drink Affect My Teeth?* uses dental health as a focus for  learning about acidity and alkalinity through a 5e lesson. [SciLinks: Teeth]

* Many of these articles have extensive resources to share, so check out the Connections for this issue (February 2013). Even if the article does not quite fit with your lesson agenda, there are ideas for handouts, background information sheets, data sheets, rubrics, and other resources.

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