Tag Archives: light and shadow

Early learning experiences build toward understanding concepts that are hard to teach

We all have seen how children begin making sense of the world before they have any formal or informal teaching about a concept or topic…discovering through exploration that the world has textures, some things are for eating and some are not, objects can be moved and some appear to move by themselves, light comes and […]

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Two-year-olds explore transparent, translucent, and opaque materials

Science activities with two-year-olds may not last very long but sometimes the children surprise me. One group of four children spent about 15 minutes exploring a set of cardboard tubes with ends covered with either clear plastic wrap, wax paper, or a double layer of black plastic (black construction paper would also work). We looked […]

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Light and electricity

A few years ago, I found some interesting background data for a professional development project I was working on–when elementary teachers were asked to name a specific science area that they would find difficult to teach, more than 60% mentioned physical science. And yet this is an area in which students can have a high […]

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Exploring light

Young children love using a periscope. Maybe because when you look through one, the view is not what your brain expects, somewhat like using someone else’s glasses. (My sisters and I used to take turns running down a hallway wearing my mother’s glasses. This was probably early in the morning and she’d do anything for […]

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Mixing colors combines art and science in one activity

Colored acetate sheets make new colors as they overlap. Give children just the primary colors–a dark pink, a blue, and a yellow—and they can create orange, green, purple, and deep grays and browns without any instruction. Like scientists they can share their results with others and repeat the process to see if the results are […]

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Must haves—flashlights, mirrors, and sunshine

Sometimes as a teacher leads an activity, a student verbalizes all the observations and new questions that were hoped for, making one think, “Was this child coached to say these things, or am I really eliciting all this learning!?” I like to believe that the other children are also thinking what this one child is […]

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Light and mirrors

Give children tools for exploring a concept and they almost always show me a new way to teach it. In a session of flashlight and mirror exploration, Walter began building by putting a flashlight on top of a single-eyepiece, single-mirror periscope. “Look!” he said, pointing to a beam of light exiting the periscope. He was […]

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Sky Observations by The Book

The S&C astronomy issue article Sky Observations by the Book (NSTA membership required) presents lessons specifically for teaching young children astronomy concepts with picture books. Authors Kathy Cabe Trundle and Mesut Sackes describe ways to prompt children to notice differences in day and night in pictures to foster understanding about objects in the sky. An […]

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