Category Archives: Early Years

Tips and classroom resources for early childhood school science educators. Click on a headline to read the entire post.

Rolling from Inquiry into Engineering Design

Guest blogger Jill Jensen began her 24th year as a science educator this fall. For the past twelve years she has been an Inquiry, Design, Engineering, Art & Science (IDEAS) Coach at Glacier Hills Elementary School of Arts and Science in Eagan, MN. Her current role allows her to partner with classroom teachers to extend […]

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Supportive communities for teaching science in the early childhood years

There are times when educators miss opportunities to support young children’s interest in exploring and  learning about natural phenomena. We might be otherwise engaged, too focused on the next activity, or uncomfortable with what is happening. We might be talking with one child while another eagerly tries to tell us about a bird flying by, […]

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First week back resources

When you have a moment to plan for teaching in January, reach for the 2018 November/December issue of Science and Children for inspiration. With a focus on visual literacy the activities discussed in the columns and articles promote helping children learn from and use images and models to understand science concepts.  In The Early Years […]

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Light, shadow, and literacy: Stories inspired by shadow play

Materials thoughtfully provided or set up by teachers often inspires children’s open exploration of a phenomenon. Much learning happens during this period of using their senses and tools to make observations of what intrigues them as they try things out, following up on their ideas and trying new things rather than making observations based on […]

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Engineering in early childhood

In early childhood settings both educators and young children solve problems using available materials and an engineering design process. The process is not step-by-step because it looks different depending on the age of the children, the time available, and their engagement with adults helping them reflect on their work and process. A quick internet search […]

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Early childhood science education at conferences 

  When a conference has plenty of sessions about science and engineering learning in early childhood—so many that each time slot has 2 or more such sessions—it shows that preschool, kindergarten, and first and second grade teachers are interested in teaching science. Some might not understand much about science yet, or have taken few science […]

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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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