Blogger Jonathan Dolce

STEM Teaching Begins with Preschoolers!

toddler interacting with science exhibit in Belgharia

STEM Teaching and Learning Begins with Preschoolers!

So, I was explaining STEM to my dad, a retired physicist.  He’s skeptical by nature as any good scientist should be.  When I got to the part about teaching it to preschoolers, well, let’s just say I was bombarded by particles.

But hear me out – it really DOES start with preschoolers!  And I can prove it!

Penny Bauder, environmental scientist, teacher and mom of two, points out that “It is never too early to start STEM education, and an ideal way to teach STEM is to go out into nature!”

Boston Children’s Museum, too, points out that children have a natural curiosity.  STEM is a great way to help 3-5 year-olds to focus and refine their naturally inquisitive behaviors.

Linking it up to Summer Reading 2019!

Even a pre-schooler can be a NASA citizen scientist!  Download and install the GLOBE Observer app and start measuring tree heights everywhere!  What does this have to do with anything, Jonathan, you might ask.  Well!  It helps show how carbon moves through ecosystems, and adds to NASA’s databanks all about earth’s cloud and land cover – even mosquito habitats!  Watch the video for more details!

globe trees app

 

Big kids and librarians alike will get the satisfaction of knowing that the data they send in could also help scientists working on other missions, including the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2), which uses a laser to measure the height of Earth’s surface below.

For out littlest, we can utilize this information to help them understand that more trees = more shade = less global warming.

Cross-Contextual Learning

Cross-contextual learning is a fancy way of saying, use multimedia and different learning experiences (inside and outside the library) to enrich your children’s STEM programming.  Penny Bauder points out that children’s programming like Wild Kratts or SciGirls reinforce the love of investigation with positive examples from media.  I gotta be honest here, I knew all about Wild Kratts, but SciGirls was new to me – can’t wait to introduce the show to my little one!

SciGirls Connect has a whole resources section dedicated to Earth and Space!  You can adapt just about any of the activities listed there for any age group.

Focus on what?

When going through the scientific process with our smallest library patrons, we need to encourage their interest.  To do this we have to do what?  That’s right!  Asking what? based questions as opposed to why, how, etc.  All of the research points to this.  And here’s a handy how-to what:

Hold My Chalk

So, we can link this to summer reading by keeping it simple or making it complex.  Here’s an example of a super simple, just hold my chalk, activity:

Resources

As always, here’s some great resources for you to pillage!

Boston Children’s Museum has:

STEM Guidebook PDF
English | Spanish

Parent Tip Sheets
Engineering PDF English | Spanish
Hearing PDF English | Spanish
Math PDF English | Spanish
Science PDF English | Spanish
Seeing PDF English | Spanish
Smelling PDF English | Spanish
Technology PDF English | Spanish
Touching PDF English | Spanish

STEM Activities
Science: Air Wind
Science: Shadow Play
Science: Bubbles
Technology: Magnets
Technology: Magnifying Magic
Technology: Shape Up
Engineering: Paper Bridge
Engineering: Towers
Engineering: Recycle Art
Math: Color Shape
Math: Fishbowl
Math: Picnic

STEM Family Workbook
Family Activities Workbook

STEM Scientist Workbook
I am a Scientist Workbook

Science Process Skills Worksheet

 

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