Online Science Class for Preschoolers: Float or Sink?

WEEK 4: Oceans

Day 2: Float or Sink?
Overview: This lesson lets your child experiment with the concept of floating and sinking.  Children predict and experiment.  The lesson appeals to the Verbal-Linguistic, Logical, Visual-Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Naturalist, and Intrapersonal intelligences.

  • a sponge or two
  • balloon (water balloon if you can blow it up; normal balloon if you can't blow up a water balloon)
  • bucket or pan that will hold about a gallon of water
  • outdoor area to collect things to test
  • toys that can get wet
  • egg
  • cup
  • salt
  • paper towels
  • Science Journals.  

  • Gather supplies.  
  • Blow up balloon.
  • Pour about a gallon of water into the bucket.  Water should be several inches deep.

Science Time!
  • Today we're going to experiment with floating and sinking.  Remember the sponges from yesterday?  Do you think sponges will float on top of the water or sink to the bottom? Let your child find out.  
  • What about a balloon?  Again let your child test this.  Older children may enjoy repeating the experiment with  a balloon filled with water.  Would a half-full balloon have the same result?  Fish have an organ inside them like a balloon.  When they want to move up in the water they fill it with air.  When they want to sink they empty the air. 
  • What toys do we have in the house that will float?  What toys do we have that will sink?  (Alternatively you could present a pile of toys and ask your child to sort them into two piles:  a pile she thinks will sink and a pile she thinks will float.)  Let your child test the toys and find out if they really sink or float.
  • Do you think a stick will sink or float?  Let's find some other objects outside to test.  Go outside.  Pick some objects to test.  Let your child predict first, then test.
  • What about an egg?  Carefully let your child test an egg in a 6-8 ounce cup of water.  (The egg should sink...unless it is rotten.)  Remove the egg and stir in 3-4 heaping spoonfuls of salt.  Let your child try again.  If it sinks again, add more salt and repeat.  The ocean is full of salt.  Many things float in salt water that will not float in fresh water.
  • Science Notebooks:  Draw or write about what we did today.

Online Science Class for Preschoolers: Sponges

This is the first lesson in Week 4 (the last week) of my Online Science Class for Preschoolers.  I hope you've enjoyed some of the experiments and activities!  Even more, I hope that I've helped make science for preschoolers more accessible, easy, and fun!   

This week has been very busy for me--we returned yesterday from a trip to Utah and are still in a bit of an unpacking frenzy.  I'm a bit behind on my blogging (okay, a lot!), but I will still post all four ocean lessons and catch up on my blog visiting soon--you know, between unpacking, snacks, naps, and playing Cinderella! 

WEEK 4: Oceans

Day 1: Sponges
Overview: This lesson lets your child experiment with sponges.  Children sort, experiment, change, and create.  The lesson appeals to the Verbal-Linguistic, Logical, Visual-Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Naturalist, and Intrapersonal intelligences.

  • an assortment of sponges--real and synthetic (Look for real sponges in the beauty isle at a supermarket or drugstore.  Synthetic sponges are easy to find in the cleaning isle.)
  • paints (red, yellow, and blue)
  • pie tin
  • paper or other material (like a flower pot) to paint
  • paper cup(s)
  • Science Journals.  

  • Gather supplies.  
  • If desired, cut 1-2 synthetic sponges into shapes like triangles, circles, and squares

Science Time!
  • Today we're going to experiment with sponges.  What do you know about sponges?  
  • Look at all these sponges!  Feel them.  Do they feel the same?  How do they smell?  Do they have the same colors?  Do they have the same shapes?  You can sort each sponge into a pile with other sponges that are the same as it.  (Note: It's fun to watch what similarities children will choose to focus on when they sort...try to let your child decide what's important--color, shape, etc.)  
  • Real sponges (like these) grow in the ocean.  Look at this picture of sponges growing in the ocean.  (Make sure you notice the pink AND yellow sponges.  Talk about other things growing and living around the sponges.  What kind of neighbors would a sponge have?  Isn't that an awesome picture?!
  • Sponges can hold water.  Give your child a cup half full of water, an empty cup, and a sponge or two.  Ask her what she thinks will happen when the sponge gets wet.  Let her experiment with how much water the sponge can hold and what she can do with the sponge when it is wet.  
  • Sponges can also hold paint!  Put the three primary colors in a pie tin and give your child a pile of sponges to paint with.  I cut a synthetic sponge down into shapes about 2 inches wide for this.  Your child can paint on a paper or she can decorate a flower pot (or many other things, depending on what type of paint you use!).  Remember to talk about mixing colors and what new colors your child makes as she paints.
  • Science Notebooks:  Draw or write about what we did today.

Online Science Classs for Preschoolers: Week 3...Museum Trip

For Week 3 of my Online Science Class for Preschoolers, I encourage everyone to take your preschooler to a science museum!  Even very young children will find things to learn at a science museum.  Here's a few pointers for your visit:

* Preview the museum online, if possible.  Find 2-3 things your child will enjoy, talk about them before you go, let your child take pictures while you are there, and then talk about it after you return home.  You may even want to let your child draw pictures of your visit and highlight those items.  

* Don't worry if you can't see the entire museum.  In Houston, just visiting all the permanent exhibits would take too long for a preschooler.  And there are often visiting exhibits that are exciting and worth your time.

* Bring snacks, if allowed.  Kids get hungry and then cranky.  Save time and tantrums by having something to feed your child.  Many museums have fast food available inside (for ridiculously high prices).  

* Plan to get involved!  Many science museums have hands-on activities, stations, tunnels, and more that are fun for kids and parents.

* Bring your camera.  And make sure the batteries are charged.  

Have loads of fun!  

To all you Daddies out there...

Happy Father's Day!!

From all of us, to you!!

We love our Daddy!

Online Science Class for Preschoolers: More Color

Today is our last class for Week 2!  Week 3 will be reserved for a Museum Visit and making up any classes you would like to.  Week 4 will conclude my Online Science Class for Preschoolers with an Oceans theme.

Overview:  Day 8 lets your preschooler experiment with colors.  Children learn by repetition and experience.  Children predict, experiment, and create. The lesson appeals to the Verbal-Linguistic, Visual-Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, and Intrapersonal intelligences.

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  • red, yellow, and blue paints
  • paper to paint on
  • paintbrush (optional)
  • jar for rinsing paintbrush (optional)
  • water-based markers
  • water
  • coffee filter or paper towel
  • eye-dropper or spoon
  • pie tin 
  • Science Journals.  

  • Gather supplies

Science Time!
  • Today we're going to experiment more with colors!  Let's start by looking at what colors are inside markers.  Let your child use a black or purple marker to draw a big, quarter-sized dot in the middle of the coffee filter or paper towel.  Then pour a spoonful or dropperful of water into the middle of the dot.  Watch the colors move and separate on the paper towel.  If it is taking too long for your child, move on to the next activity and return to look at the results later.  If your child is enjoying the activity, let her repeat it with different colors.  What happens if she uses more than one color to make her dot?
  • Our last activity with color uses paints.  Let's put red, yellow, and blue paint on the pie tin for you to use.  Give your child a paper to paint on.  Older children may prefer to use a paintbrush.  Explain that after she creates her painting, you will help her fold it in half to finish mixing the colors.  Let her paint.  After she is done, help her fold the paper in half.  Older children can talk about symmetry.  See if she can point out the parts of the painting where colors mixed.  Let her make as many paintings as she likes.  
  • Younger children (and older!) may enjoy "painting" in the pie tin with their fingers.  When your child is done, place the paper on top of the painting and press down to make a print of her work.  
  • Science Notebooks:  Draw or write about what we did today.

Online Science Class for Preschoolers: Color Intro

Another note:  Week 2 has two lessons on color: one will go up now and another will go up tomorrow.  I had a fantastic set of pictures for this week, but have lost them all.  I have another copy of them, but I cannot get to the copy until the end of the month.  (insert very sad face!)  I considered waiting to post the lessons until I had made a new set, but decided to just continue posting anyways.  I hope you enjoy these, even without the awesome pictures!

Overview:  Day 7 lets your preschooler experiment with colors.  Children predict, experiment, and create. The lesson appeals to the Verbal-Linguistic, Visual-Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, and Intrapersonal intelligences.

  • food coloring
  • 5-8 cups
  • milk
  • dishsoap
  • toothpicks
  • eye-dropper or spoons
  • pie tin or bowl
  • Science Journals.  

  • Gather supplies

Science Time!
  • Colors change when you mix them together.  Let's make three cups of colored water and see what happens when you mix them.  Let your child pour 1-2 drops of blue, red, and yellow food coloring into three different cups.  Then let her use an eye-dropper or spoon to transfer some of the water into a new cup.  Talk about the colors she creates and how she changes them.  When she is ready, pour the water she has mixed out and let her experiment again.
  • There's lots of ways to mix colors.  Pour about an inch of milk into a bowl or pie tin.  Let your child choose two colors to experiment with.  Place 2 drops of each color in different spots in the bowl.  You should have four drops of color in the milk.  Make a magic toothpick by dipping it in the dishsoap.  Let your child stick the magic toothpick into the middle of one of the colors (prepare for ooohs! and ahhhhs!).  Repeat it as many times as you like, talking about how the colors change.  Your child will probably want to end by stirring all the colors together with the toothpick.  
  • Let your child choose 2 food coloring colors and put one drop of each on an ice cube.  Talk about what colors mix to form which colors, and let her repeat it with two different colors on a different ice cube.  Repeat as many times as you both like! 
  • Science Notebooks:  Draw or write about what we did today.

Online Science Class for Preschoolers: Light & Shadows

Overview:  Day 6 lets your preschooler play with light and shadows.  Children predict, experiment, and create. The lesson appeals to the Verbal-Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Visual-Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal and Intrapersonal intelligences.

  • Bright flashlight
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Toys 
  • Paper 
  • Balloon
  • Science Journals.  

  • Gather supplies

Science Time!
  • Light can pass through many things.  Look at how it shines through this piece of paper.  (Shine light through a piece of paper.)  Do you think it will shine through a door?  Let's find out.  Let your child experiment with light passing through different objects, including the balloon.
  • Light makes shadows when it can't pass through something.  Hold a toy up in a beam of light so the toy's shadow lands on the wall.  Let's play a game!  I'll make a toy shadow and you look at the shadow and guess which toy I'm holding.  When you're done playing, let your child experiment with the light by making different shadows on the wall with her body and toys.
  • Let's make shadow puppets!  Use the cardboard to cut out whatever shape puppets your child would like.  (We made a bunny and some robots.)  After you have made the shadow puppets, create some shadow puppet plays!  Take turns with your child or make up a story together.  
  • Science Notebooks:  Draw or write about what we did today.

Online Science Class for Preschoolers: Light Intro

Overview:  Day 5 is an introduction to light.  Children predict and experiment with light using flashlights and mirrors.  The lesson appeals to the Verbal-Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Visual-Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, and Intrapersonal intelligences.

    •  mirror you can get wet and/or a mirror you can hold.
    • A bright flashlight
    • A sheet of white paper.  You may want to tape it to a piece of cardboard so it holds itself up.
    • Water
    • Shallow pan.  I used a 9” pyrex baking dish.
    • Clear cup
    • Powdered milk
    • Dish soap, sugar, water
    • Two straws
    • Yarn and scissors
    • Pie tin
    • science journal

  • Gather supplies
  • tape white paper to a piece of cardboard

Science Time!
  • Today we'll be experimenting with light!  Did you know light can bend?  Shine a bright flashlight at a mirror and then find where the mirror bent the light.  Let your child experiment with a mirror and a flashlight.  
  • If you bend white light a certain way, you can separate out the colors of the rainbow.  (Your child may have already noticed this, depending on where she shined the flashlight!)  Fill your shallow pan about half full of water.  Place the mirror at one end of the pan so it is about half way underwater.  Place the white paper at the other end of the pan.  Shine your flashlight onto the mirror so that the mirror reflects it onto the paper.  You should be able to get a rainbow on the paper as well.  Let your child experiment with different angles of flashlight and/or mirror placement.
  • The atmosphere (or air around the Earth) bends light from the sun!  Fill your clear glass full of water.  Place the white paper behind it.  Shine the flashlight through the water and see the white light on the paper.  Add a pinch (or two or three) of dry milk to the water and shine the light through again.  The light on the paper should be yellow and the water (depending on your angle) should be blue (just like the sun looks yellow and the sky looks blue).  The milk in the water bent the light and separated out the colors yellow and blue.  If you have enough milk you can get other colors like pink and yellow...just like more pollution/dust in the air gives you beautiful sunsets with lots of colors.  Let your child experiment with the light, angles, and adding more milk (or anything else you want to let her!) to the water.   
  • Bubbles also bend light!  Have you ever noticed rainbows on bubbles?  You can use a store-bought bubble mixture for the last project, or you can try this homemade recipe:  Mix 1 cup liquid dish soap and 1/2 cup sugar into 2 1/2 quarts of water.  Stir it gently so you don't make big suds.  Pour the mixture into a pie tin.  Make a Big Bubble Blower by threading a 2-3 foot long piece of fuzzy yarn through two straws and tying it into a knot.  (I've also tied the yarn to two sticks and had it work very well.)  Soak your Big Bubble Blower in the soap mixture and carefully lift it up and through the air to form your big bubbles.  Watch for rainbows on the bubbles! 
  • Science Notebooks:  Draw or write about what we did today.  

Online Science Class for Preschoolers: A Dinosaur Home

This is the last Dinosaur Lesson...Week 1 is over!  I'd love to hear if you tried any of the activities or experiments!  And if you have any pictures, I'd love to see them--feel free to email me!  Join us next week for Week 2: Light and Color!  I will post Monday's class on Sunday night.


Day 4: A Dinosaur Home

Overview:  Day 4 is all about where the dinosaurs lived!  There is a lot of room to expand the lesson for older children.  This lesson particularly appeals to the Verbal-Linguistic, Visual-Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, and Naturalistic intelligences.

  • Large cardboard (we used a piece about 1 ½ feet by 1 ½ feet)
  • Vase
  • Flour, salt, water, food coloring
  • Very large mixing bowl and six thick paper plates
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Paper towels
  • Toy dinosaurs
  • Optional accessories like plastic trees, little sticks or rocks, etc.

  • Gather supplies!

Science Time!
  • Today we are building a Dinosaur Land Diorama!  We will be building a dinosaur home on this piece of cardboard.  But first, we have to make the dough!
  • First we need 4 cups of salt.  Count it with me!  After the salt is in the bowl, let your child feel it and talk about the texture.  Next we need 10 cups of flour.  Count it with me!  Let your child mix the salt and flour together with her hands.  Lastly, we need 4 cups of water.  Count it with me!  You can let your child mix the dough a bit, but you will need to knead it together to form a soft ball.  (I know this sounds like a ton of dough but, honestly, if I were doing it again I’d make even more!)  Divide the dough into six equal piles and place one pile on each plate.  Add 10-12 drops of food coloring to each pile of dough.  Ask your child to predict what will happen when you mix red and blue or yellow and red.  Older children can help knead the colors in.  Younger children may get bored with this part and want to play with the toy dinosaurs.  Alternatively, you could make the dough in advance.   
  • Now we can build our Dinosaur Land Diorama!  I’m going to start with a volcano.  Build the dough around the vase to form a volcano.  Let your child build (younger children will need help and older children will enjoy your participation) the perfect Dinosaur Land.  While you build with her, talk about how the climate used to be warmer, how some dinosaurs made nests for their eggs and took care of the eggs, how they needed water, and what they might have eaten.  When Dinosaur Land is built, play with the toy dinosaurs in their new home.  Make footprints and pretend to travel.  Have fun!  The dough dries out eventually (after about a day or so), so you can save your diorama for a few days.  My kids were a bit attached to ours, so we kept it for about three days.
  • As the play is winding down, announce that it’s time for the volcano to erupt!  Surround your diorama with paper towels…or go outside!  Pour about ½ cup of vinegar into the vase and add 2-3 drops of both yellow and red food coloring.  Dump 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda quickly down the vase.  Take pictures of the “Ooohs!” and “Ahhhs!”  You will probably have to repeat this a few times!    Older children will enjoy a simplified explanation of the eruption (When baking soda and vinegar mix together, they react and make lots of gas/bubbles.  The only place the bubbles have to go is straight up the vase and out of the volcano!).
  • Re-visit the KWL chart (if you have one) and write down what you learned today. 
  • Let your child draw or write about what she did today in her Science Notebook. 

Online Science Class for Preschoolers: Fossils & Dinosaurs


Day 3: Fossils & Dinosaurs

Overview:  Day 3 is all about fossils and dinosaurs!  The lesson appeals to the Verbal-Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Visual-Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Intrapersonal and Naturalistic intelligences.

  • Cardboard dinosaur fossils or 3-dimensional dinosaur puzzles.  Templates are available here.
  • Dirt or sand
  • Excavation tools (shovels, spoons, toothbrushes, etc.)
  • Real fossils (you can purchase individual fossils or large fossil kits from Amazon,  Science Kit, or Ward’s Natural Science)
  • Magnifying glass
  • Water or garden hose
  • Ranger Cookies.  Recipe is available here.
  • Examining tools like toothpicks or a fork. 
  • Science Journals.  We’ll be using little books folded out of paper. 
  • KWL chart and marker

  • Cut dinosaur fossils out of cardboard (templates are available here) or buy 3-dimensional dinosaur puzzles.
  • Bury dinosaur fossils in dirt or sand.
  • Make Ranger Cookies.  Recipe is available here.

Science Time!
  • Today you’re going to start out working as a paleontologist!  Paleontologists study things that lived a long time ago.  I have dinosaur fossils buried in this dirt!  Here are some tools to dig them out.  When you find them, carefully place them in a pile here.  Give your child some time to dig for the bones.  They can use shovels or spoons or toothbrushes.  As they dig, talk about how fossils form.  “A long, long, time ago a dinosaur died in this dirt!  The dirt hardened into mud and eventually turned into a rock.  The dinosaur bones also became a rock!  Now, we can dig them out of the ground.”  We actually came very close to not finding one of the bones, which gave us a chance to talk about how sometimes scientists only find partial skeletons.
  • Wow!  Look at all the bones you found!  Paleontologists take the bones they find and put them together the way they think dinosaurs looked.  It’s kind of like a puzzle.  Give your child a chance to put the dinosaur together.  If she really struggles with the 3-dimensional aspect of the puzzles, show her how one set of arms or legs fits into the body.  Then give her some time to try again.  She will be thrilled when she makes it stand up! 
  • Let’s look at some real fossils now!  Point out where 1-2 fossils are on the rocks and then let your child find fossils on the other rocks.  Let her look at the fossils through a magnifying glass.  Ask what similarities she sees between the fossils and the rest of the rocks.  What differences does she see?
  • Let’s make our own fossils!  Use noodles to represent dinosaur bones.  Go outside and use the hose to make a nice pile of mud.  Let your child fill a bucket or pan about ¼ - ½ full of mud.  Let her place the “dinosaur bones” in the mud and then cover it with another pile of mud.  Make sure it is dry enough that it will hold together if you dump it out.  You may need to let her add some more dry dirt.  Dump it out it in the sun to “cook” until it is nice and hard.  Once it’s dried out, let her find her bones!  (Yes, another excavation project!)
  • What do you think a paleontologist is?  (Of course, by now you’ve used that word a dozen times outside, inside, and anywhere else you’ve been!)  Paleontologists study things that lived a long time ago.  One thing they do is study everything they can find inside of fossils.  My last challenge for my little paleontologist is to examine this cookie and see if you can figure out what I put in it!  Give your child toothpicks, a fork, or any other “tools” and let her figure out what goodies you put in the cookie!  When she’s done, let her eat it.  J   
  • Re-visit the KWL chart (if you have one) and write down what you learned today. 
  • Let your child draw or write about what she did today in her Science Notebook. 

Extra! Extra!  (If you and your kiddo have time and interest!  Note: Supplies needed for Extra! Activities are NOT included in the Supply List.)
  • If you have enough real fossils, have your child sort them into piles based on similarities she observes. 
  • Make a pan of jello.  Just before it finishes setting up, stir in “fossils” like different pieces of fruit, small candies, raisins, or marshmallows.  Let your child be the paleontologist again and dig out the edible bones.
  • Freeze a toy dinosaur in a cup of water.  Let your child paleontologist dig out the dinosaur indoors or outdoors!

Online Science Class for Preschoolers: Dinosaur Eggs

WEEK 1: Dinosaurs

Day 2: Dinosaur Eggs

Overview:  Day 2 focuses on the idea that baby dinosaurs came from eggs that adult dinosaurs laid.  Children use investigation, modeling, and reflection skills.  The lesson appeals to the Verbal-Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Visual-Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Intrapersonal, and Naturalistic intelligences.

  • Fossilized Egg Pictures
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Plastic knife
  • 12” balloon
  • Two bowls
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Water
  • 3-4 pages of newspaper (or construction paper), torn into 1 ½” strips
  • Sponge
  • Scissors
  • Science Journals.  We’ll be using little books folded out of paper. 
  • KWL chart and marker

  • Gather supplies
  • Boil eggs

Science Time!
  • Do you know any animals that make eggs?  Dinosaurs made eggs too! 
  • What’s in an egg?  Let’s dissect an egg and find out!  Give your child a boiled egg and a plastic knife and talk about the parts of an egg as she discovers them.  Younger children may need help peeling the shell.  Children are likely to notice the shell (for protection), the air cell at the large end of the egg (space left when the egg’s contents cool after the egg is laid...the air cell gets larger as the egg gets older), the egg whites (which have lots of protein), and the egg yolk (which has lots of vitamins, minerals, and fat).  Some children may notice the chalazae (twisted pieces of egg white that hold the yolk in place), the membranes around the yolk and whites (helps protect the egg), or the germinal disc on the yolk.  Older children may be interested in knowing that the chicken eggs we eat are not baby chickens because they were never fertilized.  You must have a rooster to help make baby chickens. ;) (My explanation for young children is, “These eggs were made by chickens, so they’re for eating.  Baby chickens grow in eggs that were made by a chicken AND a rooster.”)   
  • Baby birds, chickens, and dinosaurs are all born from an egg.  Scientists have found fossilized dinosaur eggs!  Look at the pictures of fossilized dinosaur eggs.  These eggs were laid in a nest that was covered with mud.  The mud dried and after many years these eggs turned into rocks.  What shapes are the eggs? 
  • Let’s make our own dinosaur egg!  Cut a dinosaur shape out of the sponge (or use a very small toy dinosaur) and stuff it into the 12” balloon.  Blow the balloon up to about 8”-9” and place it on a bowl.  In another bowl, mix equal parts of Elmer’s glue and water.  Explain that you will be using paper maché to make a dinosaur egg!  You may want to put an apron on your child.  Dip a strip of newspaper into the glue/water mixture.  Wipe as much liquid off as possible by brushing the strip between two fingers.  The strip will still be wet.  Stick it onto the balloon.  Help your child cover the entire balloon with 1-2 layers of newspaper.  Older children may be able to cover the whole balloon by themselves.  Children five and under will likely need help.  The balloon will feel soft.  Let it dry for about a day, or until it feels hard again.  At that point you can pop the balloon, paint the egg, and shake the egg and hear your “dinosaur” inside.  When your child is ready for it to hatch, let her break it open and pull out her dinosaur!
  • Re-visit the KWL chart (if you have one) and write down what you learned today. 
  • Let your child draw or write about what she did today in her Science Notebook. 

Extra! Extra!  (If you and your kiddo have time and interest!  Note: Supplies needed for Extra! Activities are NOT included in the Supply List.)
  • Carefully crack a raw egg into a bowl and let your child find the same parts that she saw when she dissected the boiled egg.
  • Fill one plastic egg full with nickels, another half full, and put one nickel in a third.  Glue or tape the eggs closed.  Talk about the terms “light” and “heavy” and have your child put them in order from light to heavy.  Younger children can label each egg as light or heavy.  
  • Use plastic eggs for an egg hunt.  They loved it at Easter time, right?! 
  • Make egg matching cards where one card has a picture of an animal and another card has a picture of its egg.  I suggest using a dinosaur, ostrich, robin, crocodile, sea turtle, and frog.  Match the cards together or play memory with them.

    Online Science Class for Preschoolers: I am a Scientist! and Dinosaur Intro

    The Online Science Class for Preschoolers is technically beginning tomorrow, Monday, June 6th.  But as I thought about it, I realized I like to plan  "school time " the night before.  So, I decided to post each lesson a day in advance.  That way, you can look it over and get any supplies ready...if you like!  I have four lessons planned for weeks 1, 2, and 4 and a museum trip planned for week 3.  I'd love to know which activities and experiments you use and how your kids responded to them!

    WEEK 1: Dinosaurs

    Day 1: I am a Scientist! And Dinosaur Intro

    Overview:  Day 1 is an introduction to scientists and dinosaurs.  Children use counting, estimation, testing, and reflection skills.  The lesson appeals to the Verbal-Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Visual-Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Musical, and Intrapersonal intelligences.

    • Scientist Pictures
    • I Am A Scientist poster.  You can print and use this as an 8 ½” x 11” poster or enlarge it to any size you like.  I made a red and blue option. 
    • Posterboard
    • Markers, crayons, pens
    • Toy dinosaurs
    • Meter stick (or any other 3-foot long object)
    • Paper bags (or be careful and use plastic)
    • Stompin’ Music!  (I used  Dinosaur Song (on YouTube), though I really like We Will Rock You by Queen…)
    • Science Journals.  We’ll be using little booklets folded out of paper. 

    • Gather supplies
    • Hide toy dinosaurs

    Science Time!
    • There are many things in the world to learn about.  People who study and learn things are called scientists. 
    • Scroll through and talk about Scientist Pictures.  (Note: all pictures are from Wikimedia and are listed as public domain.)
    • You are a scientist too!  What do you like to learn about?  Let your child color and decorate the I Am A Scientist! Poster.  Let her choose the red or blue option.  Help her fill in the spaces about herself.    
    • We’re going to study dinosaurs this week!  Let’s list everything you know about dinosaurs.  (Make a KWL chart with your child on the posterboard.  Make a column for things she Knows about dinosaurs, a column for things she Wants to know about dinosaurs, and a column for things you have Learned.  Don’t mark anything in the Learned column unless you talk about it.  NOTE:  Only make a KWL chart if you are willing to use it.  Older children may want to learn something about dinosaurs that we don’t cover this week (and there is SO much!), you should be responsible to help your child learn that information!).  Younger children will NOT understand the KWL concept, but will enjoy drawing dinosaurs on a posterboard.  
    • Going on a Dinosaur Hunt!  Dinosaurs lived a long time ago.  Let’s climb inside our Time-Travel-Ship (we used a skateboard!), and go find some dinosaurs!  Here we are, 70 million years ago!  Whew!  It sure is hot.  Whoa!  Watch out for that volcano!  Now where are the dinosaurs?  (Let your child hunt for the hidden dinosaurs.) 
    • Look at the toy dinosaurs you found.  How big do you think they really were?  As big as me?  As big as this room?  As big as the house?  Supersaurus could have been 138 feet long!  (Use a meter stick to mark where Supersaurus’ head could be and then count 42 meters to mark where the end of his tail would have been.  We actually went outside to do this.)  How big do you think his feet would be?   Each foot was at least as big as our bathtub!  How many of your feet do you think we could fit in one Supersaurus foot?  (Let your child estimate, then go find out!  For comparison, a Tyrannosaurus Rex foot

      was about 3 feet long and 2 feet wide…though T. Rex foot prints are about half that size because T. Rex walked on his toes!  Some, like Epidexipteryx, were only 9-10 inches long from head to toe—about the size of Mommy’s foot!)
    • Let’s pretend we have dinosaur feet and have a Dinosaur Stomp!  (Tie bags onto your and your child’s feet, then turn on some stompin’ music and do a Dino Dance!) 
    • Return to KWL chart.  What did you Learn today? 
    • Science Notebooks:  Draw what we did today.  Give your child at least 5 minutes to review what they learned.  Give them hints if absolutely necessary, but don’t just tell them again.  This is time for them to develop some reflection skills.  

        We HAD to go to the Petting Zoo

        I love visiting the zoo.  I do not love visiting petting zoos.  Houston Zoo has a petting zoo inside the "Children's Zoo."  I am usually successful at distracting my kiddos before they notice the petting zoo.  This morning, though, Kaia really wanted to go "clean" the animals.  There are brushes for the kids to use with the animals.  

        Kaia's old enough now that it is not so very stressful for me to let her pet and brush the animals.  Actually, I think it is really cute to watch her interact with the goats and sheep.  In fact, I think it's really good for her.

        Harry, on the other hand, I wanted to just hold the whole time.  I didn't want him to play in the dirty dirt, gum the germy brushes, and climb on the animals.  I wanted him to hold still in my arms while Kaia played.  Yeah.  He wasn't going to have any of that!

        They did actually pet animals besides this particular goat, but she was very calm and happy to hang out with the kids.  She made me want a pet goat.  

        All things considered, Harry behaved himself pretty well, and I washed his hands thoroughly when we were done.  Kaia washed her hands too.