How Low Can You Go?

18 October 2006

I'm staying late tonight as I have a presentation on pre-school science to make. Yes, pre-school science. Did you know that Washington state has benchmarks for children from birth to kindergarten entry? (See more here.) Until recently, I hadn't even realized there were such things for science. Mind you, they're not terribly complicated (e.g. "Observes sun and clouds.") but until kids acquire the ability to communicate, there's not a whole lot to measure, either.

Anyway, I'm starting off by creating a sense of wonder in the adults by doing a bit of "milk-cow-motion" as an engagement activity. If you haven't done this one before, you can play along at home. You'll need a small dish of milk, food coloring, a toothpick, and a drop of detergent. Go ahead and collect the items. I'll wait.

...

Add a drop of food coloring (your choice of color or colors) at the N, S, E, W points of the milk. What do you see happening? Not much?

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Okay, now put a drop of detergent on the end of the toothpick and dip the toothpick in the middle of the dish.

Ooooo. Ahhhhh. Pretty colors.

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We'll talk about that for a few minutes before thinking about the inquiry cycle, sample ideas for 3 - 5 year olds, and how it all relates to the benchmarks. Presto! Pre-school science in 20 minutes or less.

I'm told that this is a fun group of people to work with. They're interested in whatever information can be shared and receptive to new ideas. It should be a nice way to end the day, even with the surprise of looking at benchmarks for toddlers. Whatever happened to just being a kid?

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