logo

Earth Science for Early Childhood Learners

Introduction

This webpage provides early childhood educators with information and resources developed by California University of Pennsylvania and partners with grant funding from PNC Financial Services Group. There is more information about the PNC Grow UP Great with Science project at Cal U on this webpage. Follow the links below to access science activities and resources for early childhood science education.

Science Activity Ideas for Early Childhood Learners

These science activity and resource wepages are organized by Pennsylvania's Early Childhood Learning Standards (2009 rev). The activities were developed and presented by Cal U faculty, students, project partner staff and invited experts at the teacher workshops or family field trips. These workshops and field trips covered specific themes so not all EC standards will have activity suggestions. Some activities are ready to use while others will require some adapation in materials or procedures for your specific circumstances.

Life Science

Environment & Ecology Science

Physical Science

Earth Science

Science Inquiry

Designing a Solution to an Everyday Problem (Technology & Engineering Design)

Science Teaching Strategies for Early Childhood Learners

These science teaching strategy wepagse provide research-based, best practice suggestions on how to teach early childhood learners science. They are organized by the science teaching strategy.

What Should Teachers Do When They Teach Science?

What Should Children Do When They "Do Science?"

 
 

Grow Up Great with Science Project Vision

Early childhood science learning should: 
  • originate from children’s own explanations and questions.
  • center on authentic, experiential learning within the context of family life.
  • extend from children’s naturalistic play.
  • focus on developing age appropriate science process skills such as observing, exploring and explaining.
  • use local places such as school grounds, forests, fields, wetlands and human communities as locations for learning science and also as the focus of science learning.
  • integrate instruction that blurs the traditional academic boundaries between science, math, literacy, social studies, art and physical wellness.

Earth Science Activities

 

standard

Earth Features and the Processess that Change it

standard

Mountains

The teacher will read a short story about mountains. The children will pretend to be mountains by using their arms and hands cooperatively.

Rock Textures

The children will use their sense of touch and describe rocks that are rough, smooth, sharp, etc.

Things Made from Rocks

The children explore different items and objects made from rocks such as steel, pennies, clay, glass, aluminum, salt, pencil lead, and coal.

 

Earth's Resources and Materials

standard

Measuring Rocks

The children arrange rocks from smallest to largest. They also measure things such as their feet, shoes, hands, arms, legs, etc. to determine how many rocks it takes to equal the length of the item that they are measuring.

Sand and Glass

Children learn that glass is made from sand. The children use their senses to observe properties of sand and glass such as color and texture. The children will create their own tubes filled with layers of sand.

Sorting Rocks

Children sort rocks into different bins based on colors and patterns. For example, all green rocks go in one bin and all speckled go into another.

 

Water

standard

From Solid to Liquid

Children will observe a real cider press being used to make apple cider. They will also get a chance to try to make their own orange juice.

Home Water Use

After discussing the different ways the children use water in their homes, they will observe what happens to dirty water as they pour it through a coffee filter. To emphasize the importance of treating water before using it, the children will compare the look of their coffee filtered water to the water treated with a backpacking filter. Finally, to help explain the process on a larger scale, the children will observe a water treatment poster.

Liquid, solid Gas

The children will observe and explore ice, water, and steam to help them communicate differences between solids, liquids, and gases. They will then use their experience with each of the water phases to classify various items as either a solid or a liquid.

Snow

Children will each be given shaved ice representing snow. Once they are given the “snow” the children will discuss properties of snow (cold, white, etc.). They will be asked to predict what will happen to their snow cone as time passes. They will eat a snow cone (using fruit/veggie juice) while listening to the story The Snow Day. The story is a short children’s book that watches a young boy go out to play in the snow and his travels throughout the day. At the end of the day, tired and wet from playing in the snow, he returns home to change and settle in for the evening. During the story the teacher will discuss why the young boy’s snowball was no longer in his pocket. The children will observe their snow cones and see if their prediction about what would happen to the “snow” came true.

 

Weather and Climate

standard

Earthworms

The children observe real earthworms by looking at a real earthworm farm. They imagine where a worm travels in a day and make a picture of where their worm traveled using a rubber worm and mud.

Rain

Children observe pictures of different kinds of clouds and then observe the sky to try to match the cloud pictures with the actual clouds in the sky. The kinds of clouds that usually produce rain will be demonstrated. After reviewing the kinds of clothes to wear in different weather, children will select different types of clothing such as raincoats or their regular clothes depending on the kind of cloud pictures they are shown.

Snow

Children will each be given shaved ice representing snow. Once they are given the “snow” the children will discuss properties of snow (cold, white, etc.). They will be asked to predict what will happen to their snow cone as time passes. They will eat a snow cone (using fruit/veggie juice) while listening to the story The Snow Day. The story is a short children’s book that watches a young boy go out to play in the snow and his travels throughout the day. At the end of the day, tired and wet from playing in the snow, he returns home to change and settle in for the evening. During the story the teacher will discuss why the young boy’s snowball was no longer in his pocket. The children will observe their snow cones and see if their prediction about what would happen to the “snow” came true.

Thermometers

Children observe a demonstration thermometer and practice measuring on their own the temperature of warm water, cold water, and air. They also indicate the thermometer measurements by coloring the levels on individual worksheet.

 

Unifying Themes

standard

Aquatics

Children will observe an educational presentation about clean water, fish biology, and fishing. All fish have fins to swim and gills to get oxygen from the water. Children will draw a picture of a fish.

Beavers

Children will observe beaver pelts, skulls and mounts to practice inferring how beaver’s specialized body parts help with survival in a water environment.

Chip Mining

The children will pretend to be miners. They will pluck pieces of broken crayons out of play-doh. They then place their pieces into a truck and “drive” the truck to a melting pot. From there, the pieces are melted and placed into crayon molds.

Digging for Dinosaurs

The children will dig for dinosaur bones at this station. The children will match the bone they found with a complete skeleton.

Fossils

Fossils are impressions of animals or plants that are in rocks. The children will be able to dig for fossils in sand. After they find one they will clean it with brushes and water to reveal a trilobite they can take home.

From Solid to Liquid

Children will observe a real cider press being used to make apple cider.  They will also get a chance to try to make their own orange juice.

Garlic Planting

Children will plant garlic in a milk carton. At home, they can watch it grow and then can help use it in a recipe.

Growing in Soil

The children will learn how people rely on soil for growing plants and food. The children are given the opportunity to taste test the different vegetables that grow under and above ground.

Ox Cart Man

The book “Ox Cart Man” will be read and discussed.

Preservation of Fruit

Children can see the different stages of decay. They can also observe and taste canned peaches. They will learn where pickles come from.

Stream Table

Children will use a water table to learn how water moves around objects such as rocks. Children will play with water to see how it moves and how objects such as toy boats float on the surface of the water. Children will be asked to describe what they see and make predictions about what will happen when the water encounters an obstacle.

Wooden Instruments

Children will use visual and listening skills to see and listen to various wooden instruments.

 

standard

Composition and Structure

standard

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last updated: June 26, 2013

Copyright© 2003-2020 J. William Hug
All Rights Reserved - "No logo, graphic, image, text, or content from this website may be copied
or retransmitted without express prior written permission."