Author Archives: Peggy Ashbrook

An intersection of physical science and art






I love it when a book of art activities recommends finding materials in thrift stores or using recyclables or common classroom materials to create art. It’s even better when the activities can be part of a science exploration or investigation into science concepts such as the properties of matter, or the motion of objects. Action […]

Posted in Early Years | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Setting up the learning space—where should the magnifiers go?






Do you have a “Science” area in your classroom or other space? Which, if any objects should be permanent residents of a science area? I usually keep a few tools there so children can find them when needed—magnifiers, trays, pipettes/droppers, a small holding box for small live animals, such as crickets, and paper towels. This […]

Posted in Early Years | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Where are you reading Science and Children this summer?






A family trip took me to a new and breathtaking location—Glacier National Park. We went before the Reynolds Creek Wildland fire started but evidence of past burns and avalanches was dramatic. The trip also provided the moments I needed away from daily chores to thoroughly read the July issue of Science and Children. Where have […]

Posted in Early Years | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Expanding understanding, resources for discussions about gender






Young children’s imaginative play often includes creating family groups with toy animals or dolls, and role-playing with housekeeping and dress-up materials. They recreate the relationships they experience or know of from books and other media. As a “mother dog,” a child will tell the “puppies” to follow her. Children who behave out of character, such […]

Posted in Early Years | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Response

K-5 and the Next Generation Science Standards – Webinars






The free webinars by National Science Teachers Association experts, Carla Zembal-Saul, Mary Starr, and Kathy Renfrew, will guide us to a deeper understanding of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Read more about them and register to attend here.  July 22Teaching NGSS in K-5: Constructing Explanations from Evidence July 29Teaching NGSS in K-5: Teaching NGSS in K-5: […]

Posted in Early Years, Next Generation Science Standards | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Summer weather events and patterns






If you haven’t been tracking weather events with the children in your summer and year-round programs, they are missing an opportunity to make observations and learn about collecting data. Some regions have more of the same every day, some experience severe weather. Variations in temperature, cloud cover, wind and precipitation can be observed between morning […]

Posted in Early Years | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Exploring the properties of clay






Finding bits of clay pottery made and discarded by people hundreds of years ago reminds me of how this useful material can be a valuable addition to a preschooler’s experience. Of the earth but not commonly found on playgrounds, clay could be regularly provided in a bin for sensory experiences or building material. It can […]

Posted in Early Years | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Garden observations and questions






Gardening with children may turn up questions voiced by the children or suggested by their behavior. As you observe children in the garden or a natural area, take a few notes about what they look at or touch. Model how you wonder about a phenomenon in the garden by saying it aloud, such as, “Is […]

Posted in Early Years | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Responses

Ecosystem experiences away from home

For children who visit the ocean beach or shore this summer, the experience of visiting a very different ecosystem can inspire interest in animals that inhabit it, and wonder about “how did it get this way?” Children who experience the beach and shore ecosystems frequently may have a similar reaction when visiting other ecosystems. How […]

Posted in Early Years | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Systems: “Science Areas” and lining-up for transitions






Organizing systems for materials and people are necessary for a productive day in school. If they are held in common by the school or classroom community they operate smoothly. Sometimes changes made by an individual interrupt the flow. In those moments we can re-consider our systems and decide whether to keep the changes or return […]

Posted in Early Years | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment