Young children have many questions about the world around them. They ask:
• "Where did the puddle go?"
• "What do worms eat?"
• "How can I make my truck go faster?"
• "Do fish go to sleep?"
In our classroom, the Discovery Area is a place where children can explore and investigate to answer their questions. They observe, experiment, measure, solve problems, take things apart, and explore the materials and living things we put out. They guess what will happen as a result.
In the Discovery Area children do what scientists do-ask questions, plan and conduct investigations, gather information, construct an explanation, and communicate findings. They also learn important concepts in science as they study plants, animals, magnets, properties of materials, light, shadows, how things work, rainbows, our body, our senses, how things move and change, and more. In addition to learning science content, they learn how to solve problems together and how to communicate with others.
What You Can Do at Home
Young children are curious and love to investigate. You don't need to be an expert to help your child learn about science. Science is all around us-from making bubbles in the bathtub to boiling water on the stove. Your enthusiasm and positive attitude about science will be contagious. Get in the habit of wondering out loud ("I wonder how that ant can carry that big piece of food." "I wonder why your shadow is sometimes small and sometimes big.").
The kinds of questions you ask and statements you make when your child is exploring will help develop his scientific thinking skills. Here are some examples:
• What do you think will happen if. . . ?
• I wonder why. . .
• How do think we can find out. . . ?
Look for opportunities to develop your child's scientific thinking during everyday activities: while playing with toys, taking a bath, helping to bake cookies, playing in the backyard, or going on an outing. Remember, you don't need to know all the answers! It's a good sign if your child is curious, wants to discover everything, asks lots of questions, and wants more answers. We welcome you to come and visit our Discovery Area with your child.