Author Archives: Jennifer Thompson

Introducing the NSTA Elementary Science Position Statement

Jennifer Thompson, early elementary teacher and former chair of the NSTA Preschool and Elementary Committee, is the ideal person to introduce the updated NSTA Elementary Science Position Statement. Welcome Jennifer! The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) has recently revised and adopted a position statement in support of science for the elementary years, The Elementary Science […]

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Evidence, claims, and Media Literacy Week

As the author of the NSTA Press book Exemplary Evidence: Scientists and Their Data, elementary science educator and guest blogger Jessica Fries-Gaither has an excellent understanding of how scientists identify ideas that are supported by evidence. Exemplary Evidence describes the wide variety of what counts as data–from observations to measurements to lab results–and the many different ways […]

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Acorns for fun in science

This fall there are an abundance of acorns falling from the oak trees in my area. Scientists study oak trees to understand possible reasons why some years larger amounts of acorns are produced than others.  Acorns are free material for early childhood science explorations, with permission from the landowners. A nature walk among trees exposes […]

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Spiders and other small creatures—do we want children to be afraid?

Huge anatomically incorrect ‘spiders’ with legs as long as a Daddy Longlegs’ took over the neighborhood these past weeks, crawling up webs ‘spun’ on the sides of houses. Dropping out of trees are others with more fuzzy hair than a troll doll. Halloween is a time to delight in shivers from confronting fantastical images when […]

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Pumpkins inspire investigations

Although astronomical fall for the northern hemisphere begins when the autumnal equinox occurs on or around September 22,   meteorological seasons vary geographically. October may be when your area “really feels like fall.” Does your school or program mark the season by harvesting from your own garden or by visiting a “pumpkin patch”? Pumpkins are an excuse […]

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Reggio Emilia inspiration in Science and Children

The October 2018 issue of Science and Children has a concentration of articles on early childhood science learning inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach. (This emergent curriculum approach is described on page 37 and further explained in each article.) Children’s work described in this issue includes explorations of magnetism, solids and liquids, using heat to make […]

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Local nature experiences help children relate to other environments

My side of the street is shaded for hours longer than the opposite side which gets full sun for more than 6 hours a day, even in winter. The differences in sunlight affect the plant growth in these “microclimates.”  On the “sunny side of the street the flowering bulbs that are planted in the fall […]

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Reflections of the sunlight

Connecting with other educators who share my interests and help me expand them is one of the benefits of writing for NSTA’s journal and blog. Guest blogger Tom Lough is a contributor to Science and Children and has taught science and science education classes at many levels. He is now a science education consultant in […]

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Isopods—your favorite animal? Children are fascinated

What you call these small animals probably depends on where you grew up. Pillbug, sowbug, roly-poly, woodlice, potato bug, cochinilla, slater, and Armadillidium vulgare are some of the names I’ve heard for my favorite animal, the isopod. What kind of animal is it? To answer this question begin by making close observations, taking comfort in […]

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Ephemeral art exploring properties of matter, natural materials

I had fun this summer spending 4 days over 2 weeks “enriching” preschool teachers and children in their program by collaboratively exploring ephemeral art projects. Good discussion about when children’s making becomes art was part of our work together. Does mixing up a colorful mud-grass-flower-water “stew” or chopping (sculpting?) a rotting log with plastic trowels […]

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