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For Miss H’s third birthday, we bought her this science kit Learning Resources Primary Science Lab Set
and this Educational Insights EI-5112 GeoSafari Jr. My First Microscope (I don’t think she understood that she could request a gift for her birthday, so we took advantage of it.) We do our fair share of nature observations, but I want her to experience different forms of science early on. I didn’t start to enjoy science until I was older- but I want her to love it! There is so much wonder in science: changing states of matter, chemical reactions, adapting animals. It’s baffling that my high school self thought it was boring!
The science kit has experiments with it, so we do these like we would do crafts. We prepare the work space, get out the materials, and get started. The only difference is that we don’t have anything to hang on the fridge. And that I’m constantly asking questions during the process.
Questioning is such an important part of education, but especially in the Charlotte Mason method where the goal is to help students gain understanding without necessarily telling them all the answers.
I try to ask questions that align with the scientific method, even if our process doesn’t quite line up. I also make sure that I’m not asking closed-ended questions that can be answered in one word. I want her to learn to think.
We recently did an experiment to see which items sink or float.
I asked her which items we should use for our experiment. This allowed her to take some responsibility, which I think helped her enjoy the process more. Before we put each item in the water, I asked her to predict what would happen.
After we tested a few objects, I asked her why she thought some floated while others sank. She didn’t know. Instead of telling her the answer, I put one object that sank and one that floated in her hands so she could observe. I asked her to tell me how the objects felt and what they were made out of, because I think it’s helpful for her vocabulary development to practice describing things in this way. While she never gave the “correct” answer, participating in the process and developing an interest in science is more important for her right now.
She has repeated this experiment over and over again! She often fills the cup with so many objects that they tower over the water. Everything floats! (Did you see my picture on Instagram?)
Simple Science Experiments
- Mixing oil and colored water
- Exploring how leaves breathe (I wrote about it here)
- Testing different objects in a tub of water to see which ones sink and float
- Watching water change states (melt ice, wait for it to evaporate over time)
- Mixing different colors of water to make new colors
- Creating a reaction with baking soda and vinegar
- Make a grape float (see experiment here)
- Put an egg in a mason jar full of vinegar and watch the eggshell dissolve (takes about 24 hours)
I’ll keep updating this post with new experiments that we try. Have you done any of these? I’d love to hear about it!