Tag Archives: activity ideas

Experiencing nature–educators make it happen for children and other teachers

Nature play and exploration varies in early childhood (broadly: infant to grade 3) programs and are subject to the local and state licensing regulations, a program’s choice of curriculum, the local environment and weather, and the support of the administration. A conference is an effective way to get a lot of science content knowledge about […]

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Building with blocks, building skills and memories

I still have the wooden unit blocks that were central to many of my childhood play scenarios. The wooden blocks did not stick or snap together so we had to consider balance and how to make a sturdy base to support our structures. They were the materials we used to make models—building beds and shelter […]

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Learning to Read the Earth and Sky

Learning to Read the Earth and Sky: Explorations Supporting the NGSS by Russ Colson and Mary Colson is a new book from NSTA Press that helps teachers of grades 6-12 create lessons and activities aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The objective of the book is to be practical, easy-to-use, and applicable to […]

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Big learning from short observations of birds: February 17-20, 2017

Walk outside with your children, watch and count birds for 15 minutes while recording the names of those you know, and report your bird count to be part of a world-wide citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds, creating an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds. On any or all of these four […]

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Science education “trifecta”

I’m looking for creative ways for students to share what they know, other than traditional written reports or essays.  —K., Michigan The creative process in science involves novel ways of thinking, problem solving, and communicating. When students are given the opportunity, encouragement, and support, their creativity can be astounding. I found reworking information and/or experiences […]

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Big Data, Small Devices: Investigating the Natural World Using Real-Time Data

Many students nowadays are dependent on electronic devices. In fact, it’s sometimes hard to separate them from their smartphones and tablets. As Donna Governor, Michael Bowen, and Eric Brunsell—the authors of Big Data, Small Devices—point out, “Today’s students see technology as an integral part of their world and find technology solutions for almost every need.” […]

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Lab debriefing options

My ninth grade students enjoy doing labs. But afterward, most do not participate in the debriefing. How can I improve this? —A., Washington You could try an alternative to teacher-led discussions. Here’s one that worked with my students. Instead of you asking questions, assign one team of students to present their results to the class […]

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Citizen science + Photos of signs in public spaces = literacy and spatial awareness

If you and the children need to be active to stay warm outdoors in cold temperatures, consider walking fast on a walking field trip to locate and document signs around your community. In the September 2011 issue of Science and Children I wrote about helping children understand what models are by taking a walking field trip to […]

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Seeing the Real Me: Using Loose Parts from Nature to Create Self Portraits

  Guest bloggers Stacey Francois MS, and Hannah Goble presented a poster session at the national conference of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. I was delighted to be able to talk with them about their work and am pleased to share it here. Welcome Stacey and Hannah! Stacey Francois MS, and […]

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Noticing natural phenomena

This week friends who live on opposite sides of the country messaged me to go look at the Moon and a bright “star” in the southern skies, the planet Venus. The Geminid meteor shower is also happening but the urban light pollution in my area plus the full Moon makes seeing a meteor unlikely. Still I […]

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