Edited by: William C. Ritz
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A Head Start on Science: Encouraging a Sense of Wonder
2008 Winner of the AEP Distinguished Achievement Award
The Distinguished Achievement Award, from the Association of Educational Publishers, recognizes each year’s most outstanding materials in the field of teaching and learning.
|Type of Product:||NSTA Press Book (also see downloadable PDF version of this book)
based on 9 reviews
|Grade Level:||Elementary School
|Read Inside:||Read a sample chapter: Introduction
Our reviewers—top-flight teachers and other outstanding science educators—have determined that this resource is among the best available supplements for science teaching.
[Read the full review]
For the littlest scientists, the whole wide world can be a laboratory for learning. Nurture their natural curiosity with A Head Start on Science, a treasury of 89 hands-on science activities specifically for children ages 3 to 6.
The activities are grouped into seven stimulating topic areas: the five senses, weather, physical science, critters, water and water mixture, seeds, and nature walks.
Because the activities have been field-tested by more than a thousand Head Start teachers over 10 years, you’ll find this collection unusually easy to use in a variety of settings, including elementary schools, pre-K programs, and day care. In addition to clear background and a helpful materials list, you get step-by-step procedures and help preparing for comments and questions children may pose. Each activity ends with a reproducible Family Science Connection—in both English and Spanish—to send home so the whole family can share a learning experience that’s both simple and pleasant.
Thanks to a focus on the fun of exploration and discovery, children probably won’t be the only ones who find these activities irresistible. As Editor Bill Ritz writes in the Introduction, “We hope your own sense of wonder will be heightened as you observe children and as their curiosity leads them to answer their own questions about everything they see, hear, smell, and touch.”
(mouse over for full classification)
Scientific habits of mind
Using scientific equipment
|Intended User Role:||Curriculum Supervisor, Elementary-Level Educator, Informal Educator, Learner, Parent, Teacher
|Educational Issues:||Assessment of students, Classroom management, Cultural awareness, Curriculum, Educational research, Equity, Inclusion, Informal education, Inquiry learning, Instructional materials, Interdisciplinary, Learning disabilities, Parent involvement, Professional development, Science safety, Student populations: Emotionally challenged, Student populations: English as a second language (ESL), Student populations: Latinos, Teacher preparation, Teaching strategies
About the Editor
Section 1: The Senses
Useful Hand Lenses
Looking at Me
Light to See
Sound: Shake, Rattle, and Roll
A Sound Walk
A Touch Collage
Matching by Touch
Section 2: Weather
A Wind Walk
A Windy Day
Air That Moves
Shadows on My Playground
Where Did the Shadows Go?
What Is the Weather Like Today?
Snow Tracks and Traces
Snow on the Go
Keeping Warm: Coats
Section 3: Physical Science
Magnetic Scavenger Hunt
Magnetic Force Through Objects
The Magnet Contest: Which Magnet Is Stronger?
My Favorite Rock
All Kinds of Rocks
Building With Blocks
Will It Roll?
Bubbles Raising Raisins
Section 4: Critters
Critters: Observing Earthworms
Critters: Jumping Crickets
Critters: Swimming Fish
Making a Giant Spiderweb
Looking for Birds
Feeding the Birds
Building Bird Nests
Section 5: Water and Water Mixtures
Looking Through Water
Water Drops as Art
Section 6: Seeds
Seeds in Our Food
Where Do Seeds Come From?
How Are Seeds Alike?
Seeds to Plants
An Ear of Corn
Popping Up Some Change
Seeds as Food
Pondering Pumpkins: The Outsides
Pondering Pumpkins: The Insides
Section 7: Nature Walks
Adopting a Tree
Visit to a Nursery
Leaves: Falling for You!
“Head Start Child Outcomes Framework”
“A Head Start on Science” Project Staff and Other Collaborators
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National Standards Correlation
This resource has 55 correlations with the National Standards.
- Physical Science
- Properties of objects and materials
- Objects have many observable properties, including size, weight, shape, color, and temperature. (K-4)
- The observable properties of objects can be measured using tools, such as rulers, balances, and thermometers. (K-4)
- Objects can be described by the properties of the materials from which they are made. (K-4)
- The properties of objects can be used to separate or sort a group of objects or materials.
- Materials can exist in different states--solid, liquid, and gas. (K-4)
- Properties and changes of properties in matter
- A substance has characteristic properties, such as density, a boiling point, and solubility. (5-8)
- Position and motion of objects
- Sound is produced by vibrating objects. (K-4)
- The pitch of the sound can be varied by changing the rate of vibration. (K-4)
- Light, heat, electricity, and magnetism
- Magnets attract and repel each other and certain kinds of other materials. (K-4)
- Life Science
- The characteristics of organisms
- Organisms have basic needs. For example, animals need air, water, and food; plants require air, water, nutrients, and light. (K-4)
- Organisms can survive only in environments in which their needs can be met. (K-4)
- Each plant or animal has different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction. For example, humans have distinct body structures for walking, holding, seeing, and talking. (K-4)
- Organisms can survive only in environments in which their
needs can be met. (K-4)
- The world has many different environments, and distinct
environments support the life of different types of organisms. (K-4)
- Life cycles of organisms
- Plants and animals have life cycles that include being born, developing into adults, reproducing, and eventually dying. The details of this life cycle are different for different organisms. (K-4)
- Plants and animals closely resemble their parents. (K-4)
- Many characteristics of an organism are inherited from the parents of the organism, but other characteristics result from an individual's interactions with the environment. Inherited characteristics include the color of flowers and the number of limbs of an animal. (K-4)
- Structure and function in living systems
- Living systems at all levels of organization demonstrate the complementary nature of structure and function (5-8)
- Important levels of organization for structure and function include cells, organs, tissues, organ systems, whole organisms, and ecosystems (5-8)
- Regulation and behavior
- All organisms must be able to obtain and use resources, grow, reproduce, and maintain stable internal conditions while living in a constantly changing external environment. (5-8)
- Behavior is one kind of response an organism can make to an internal or environmental stimulus. (5-8)
- Behavioral response is a set of actions determined in part by heredity and in part from experience. (5-8)
- An organism's behavior evolves through adaptation to its environment. (5-8)
- How a species moves, obtains food, reproduces, and responds to danger are based in the species' evolutionary history (5-8)
- Diversity and adaptations of organisms
- Millions of species of animals, plants, and microorganisms are alive today. (5-8)
- Species acquire many of their unique characteristics through biological adaptation, which involves the selection of naturally occurring variations in populations. (5-8)
- Biological adaptations include changes in structures, behaviors, or physiology that enhance survival and reproductive success in a particular environment (5-8)
- Earth Science
- Properties of earth materials
- Earth materials are solid rocks and soils, water, and the gases of the atmosphere.
- Changes in earth and sky
- Weather changes from day to day and over the seasons.
- Weather can be described by measurable quantities, such as temperature, wind direction and speed, and precipitation.
- The sun appears to move across the sky in the same way every day, but its path changes slowly over the seasons.
- Structure of the earth system
- Clouds, formed by the condensation of water vapor, affect weather and climate. (5-8)
- Earth in the solar system
- The sun, an average star, is the central and largest body in the solar system. (5-8)
- The sun is the major source of energy for phenomena on the earth's surface, such as growth of plants, winds, ocean currents, and the water cycle. (5-8)
- Science as Inquiry
- Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
- Ask a question about objects, organisms, and events in the environment. (K-4)
- Employ simple equipment and tools to gather data and extend the senses. (K-4)
- Use data to construct a reasonable explanation.
- Communicate investigations and explanations.
- Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data.
- Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence.
- Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations.
- Use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry.
- Understandings about scientific inquiry
- Types of investigations include describing objects, events, and organisms; classifying them; and doing a fair test (experimenting).
- Simple instruments, such as magnifiers, thermometers, and rulers, provide more information than scientists obtain using only their senses.
- Scientists develop explanations using observations (evidence) and what they already know about the world (scientific knowledge). Good explanations are based on evidence from investigations. (K-4)
- Science and Technology
- Abilities of technological design
- Implement a proposed design.
- Process Standards for Professional Development
- Introduce teachers to scientific literature, media, and technological resources that expand their science knowledge and their ability to access further knowledge. (NSES)
- Uses learning strategies appropriate to the intended goal. (NSDC)
- Content Standards
- Prepares educators to understand and appreciate all students, create safe, orderly and supportive learning environments, and hold high expectations for their academic achievement. (NSDC)
- Family Involvement
- Provides educators with knowledge and skills to involve families and other stakeholders appropriately. (NSDC)
- Teaching Standards
- Teachers of science plan an inquiry-based science program for their students.
- Select teaching and assessment strategies that support the development of student understanding and nurture a community of science learners.
- Teachers of science guide and facilitate learning. In doing this, teachers
- Encourage and model the skills of scientific inquiry, as well as the curiosity, openness to new ideas and data, and skepticism that characterize science.
- Orchestrate discourse among students about scientific ideas.
- Teachers provide students with the time, space, and resources needed to learn science.
- Create a setting for student work that is flexible and supportive of science inquiry.
- Make the available science tools, materials, media, and technological resources accessible to students.
||Encouraging a Sense of Wonder
||Reviewed by: Gilbert Lori (Enola, PA) on June 23, 2009
||I found this book to be a great resource for early childhood education teachers. The introduction was very informative and gave an excellent overview of what to consider when teaching young children science. I especially liked the part of the introduction that explained the role of questioning and how to use questions effectively throughout each activity. The author provides 89 well-organized hands-on, inquiry-based activities within 7 different science contents: senses, weather, physical science, critters, water and water mixtures, seeds, and nature walks. I also liked how each of the activities allowed for children to have science connections not only in the classroom, but also outside of the classroom. Each activity has a family science connection that allows the family to be involved with their children and to understand what their children are learning in science within the classroom. The author uses the assessment outcomes and possible indicators component to guide teachers in assessing student's progress and to relate their progress to the 8 general domains within the "Head Start Child Outcomes Framework". This book allows educators of young children to provide a discovery-focused, inquiry-based learning environment for all children ages 3-7. All the activities are student-centered and teacher guided to provide a fun, multi-sensory approach to learning science.
||A good resource for pre-service teachers
||Reviewed by: Laura Anderson (Cleveland, TN) on July 19, 2008
||I teach pre-service educators on the undergraduate level. This book is a great source as it is developmentally appropriate and well organized. I especially like the way it includess the science indicators and a rubric for assessment for each.
||Small Wonders Is Full of Wonder
||Reviewed by: Harriet Teplitzky (yack, NY) on July 16, 2008
||This book is a gem! With recent research indicating that children are becoming "disconnected" from nature, Small Wonders: Nature Education for Young Children by Linda Garrett and Hannah Thomas is an invaluable resource for anyone who works with young children. Small Wonders is divided into three inter-displinary themes: Growth & Change; Animal Homes; and Connections to Nature. Within each broad topic, there are eight units. A wealth of background information is included for each unit, including comprehensive literature connections. Small Wonders is a breath of fresh air in the current spate of environmental curriculum for children. Rather than focus on the "gloom and doom" aspects of the modern environmental crisis, Small Wonders is a "wonder"-ful guide to fostering a sense of wonder and appreciation for the natural world. As the Senegalese poet Babr Dioum Dioum has written: " We will conserve only what we love." Small Wonders takes large steps toward developing the love of nature in our youngest citizens.
||A Head Start in Tampa.Florida
||Reviewed by: Clara Shoe (Zephyrhills, FL) on July 15, 2008
||I really like the layout of the activities provided, including the indicators/assesments that one can write into their plans, along with the literature connections.
As my school's science resource teacher, I feel my teachers will be confident with implementing these lessons.
I only saw two lessons that were going to be a challenge in the weather section, as we don't often get snow in Tampa (snicker), but we do have a snow cone machine!
||Excellent resources for Early Childhood Teachers
||Reviewed by: Cheryl Stephens (Houston, TX) on July 15, 2008
||I have referred this book to countless Early Childhood Teachers. This resource provides teachers with research based comprehensive instructional strategies,assessments, and appropriate material resources that are used in science for early childhood students.
||Great EC Science Resource
||Reviewed by: Stacy B (New Oxford, PA) on May 7, 2008
A Head Start on Science- Encouraging a Sense of Wonder
This book is an excellent resource for any early childhood classroom. The 89 activities within this text are organized into 7 exciting categories that will spark the interest of all your young scientists. The 7 sections included are: (1) Senses, (2) Weather, (3) Physical Science, (4) Critters, (5) Water and Water Mixtures, (6) Seeds, and (7) Nature Walks. Each section has a general list of internet resources, and a brief introduction to every topic. Activities are appropriate for children ages 3-7, and easily can be adjusted to meet individual students’ needs.
Each activity has a universal lesson plan layout. Within this format the author has provided guided questions, identified process skills, connections linking the topic to other centers, and suggested literature. Individual activities are divided into several parts to assist the activity coordinator with useful information in presenting an inquiry-based experience for young learners.
In addition, the author has provided a valuable introduction to guide teachers in creating the best science experience for students. The introductory section identifies the importance of using adequate questioning and processes, safe practices, and differentiated instruction within science education. Each activity also includes assessment outcomes and indicators (aligned with the 8 domains of the Head Start Child Outcomes Framework), a rubric to assess student proficiency, and a family page. The family page (available in English and Spanish) provides an extension activity that can be reproduced, and sent home with students.
Overall, this text is well-organized, and filled with a variety of inquiry-based activities. The author provides numerous resources for his readers, and has organized a materials list for all activities. Moreover, the book offers teaching aides that are easy to create, and fun to use.
||Science for Young Children
||Reviewed by: Rosalind Charlesworth (Ogden, UT) on November 2, 2007
||This is an excellent resource for Early Childhood Teachers. I found the introduction's presentation of NSTA's guidlelines for early childhood science very helpful. This section clearly explains how science for young children should support their exploration of the world. The lessons are set up with open-ended questions, materials and assessments. Family activities are in English and Spanish. A valuable resource for teachers of children 3-7.
||Encouraging a Sense of Wonder
||Reviewed by: AnnaLee Tully (Belton, TX) on November 1, 2007
|| The Role of Questioning in Science is a powerful piece of this book.Found in the introduction, these comments and questions will encourage young children to take part in conversations and to use higher level thinking skills when sharing their thoughts and ideas. Students will also be encouraged to engage in scientific processes.
||Developmentally Appropriate Approach to SResource
||Reviewed by: Lorraine Kinney-Kitchen (Oriskany, NY) on May 26, 2007
||Finally, a resource that presents science in a developmentally appropriate way! I knew I would love it when I read that children will learn science through play and exploration better than through instruction! This is filled with information that has very practical application in the preschool classroom. The activities are all spelled out and explain to even the rooky preschool teacher what the child in learning and how to evaluate what a child got out of the process.
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