Preschool Science Center
The Science Table
The Discovery Center
The Nature Center
--these are all names for this interest learning center!
It is an interest learning center that is all about observing, questioning and problem solving through preschool science activities in a very real and hands-on way! Here's one our preschoolers love every year!
It will depend on what you have at your center! One thing to keep in mind is that this type of interest learning center is interactive and a place where children question and talk about what you have placed here! So, with that in mind, it is best to have this center near other "louder" centers rather than near quieter centers, such as your library.
For more information on how and where to set up interest centers in your classroom, CLICK HERE for my Classroom Design article!
Activities in the Science Center help children:
Observe, question, problem solve, explore, and describe items from their environment.
They will also learn about the Scientific Method!
Scientific inquiry is part of who preschoolers are! They are curious and want to find out why!
Let's take your old box of crayons as an example! What will happen if we put them in the oven?
Try it with your preschoolers!
Hint: Score (slice) the crayon paper with a knife before doing this with the children. They will get very frustrated trying to tear the paper off. However, if you have the paper scored, they will LOVE getting the paper off and you will be helping to develop their fine motor skills!)
Many activities can be introduced at circle time, such as showing them how to use a balance scale and then place the scale in the interest center. You can also tell the children what they will find in the Science center and let them explore on their own.
Other than having the materials already at the interest center before the school day begins, there is no other preparation needed. Many activities here will be in place for a week or more to allow ample time for the children to observe the items over time.
Materials for the Preschool Science Interest Center
The materials to have on-hand are limited only by your imagination! Here are some basic items that are great to have around!
||One resource I simply could not do with out is The Creative Curriculum for Preschool, 4th edition by Diane Trister Dodge. I believe every classroom should have a copy of this book!|
If your program does not have a copy, click the links above to check it out. You might also be able to find it at your local library or bookstore. It is a wealth of information on interest centers and could not be more developmentally appropriate!
Here you go!
Introduce a balance scale to the children.
Demonstrate how to use it.
Introduce the words Heavy, heavier, light and lighter.
Provide different items to weigh using the scale.
Materials Needed: clear cups with different colors of water (using paint or food coloring to color the water); pipettes; a clear cup for each child; a large bin for waste water.
The children use the pipettes to put different colors of water into their own cup to create new colors.
Encourage the children to guess what color they will make by mixing the colors they are choosing!
Will It Stick? Magnets!
List random classroom items (or pictures of them) on a chart.
Ask children if the item will stick to a magnet or not?
Let them try using a magnet wand!