By Allison Bruce, Pre-Kindergarten Grade Level Leader
In Pre-K, students use their Science skills on a daily basis as they learn about their world. “What is this?” “Look!” “Why is it like that?” and “How does this work?” are frequently heard as children learn from exploring their environment. Science skills are developed through observing each and every day as students discover about the IB key concepts of Change, Causation and Function. Students delight when they find the shell of a cicada in the garden or a wiggling worm after a rainy day! Magnifying glasses allow students to see each detail of their discoveries and thinking through conceptual lenses helps to focus their thinking. In the classroom, students frequently explore science principles as they use the water table, build with the blocks, and other exploration with their senses. It is truly amazing to see these young learners knowledge grow each day!
Recently, students learned about Science and Technology through the Unit of Inquiry, “How The World Works.” Students inquired into the Central Idea “Materials behave and interact depending on how people use them”. Students utilized their science skills of asking questions, making predictions, observing, recording data, using scientific vocabulary and safely using materials. Pre-K students explored the properties of materials through solving a variety of challenging problems, which required students to apply their knowledge of materials. It was an exciting time when students used paper, marshmallows, sticks, straw, and bricks to make houses for ‘The Three Little Pigs’. They took turns to be ‘The Wolf’ and to “huff and puff” to blow the houses down with a hairdryer. Students then reflected on their designs and tried to make even stronger structures.
Some students went on a trip to the South Pole and made boats to help the little boy and the penguin from the book ‘Lost and Found’ to make this journey. These students used their knowledge of floating/sinking and the properties of materials to select the best material for a boat and even tested their boats in the WISS canal!
Another exciting provocation for learning during this Unit of Inquiry was a trip to the Secondary science lab where Ms. Terri showed students some of the many things that can be done with science. Observing experiments and making a bouncy ball showed these young scientists about the possibilities that await them through Science.
A highlight of the learning in this unit was when students showed their knowledge by making chairs and shoes and repairing umbrellas. Students took action to bring in more materials for their creations and were Thinkers and Inquirers as they applied their knowledge to construct, test, discover, and persist with their designs. It was a special moment to see these young inquirers help each other to improve the strength of their chairs with additional support or adding additional materials. Students were amazed to find out that some materials such as paper did not stand up to a rainy day on an umbrella while other students carefully worked with the tape and paper to prevent their hair from sticking to the umbrella! True Thinkers!
After all, as Einstein said “The important thing is to never stop questioning”.