Science Inquiry


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.


Science Inquiry



Animal Tracking

An animal track is a mark left by animal's feet. You can find the path, or which way the animal went by observing its tracks. At this station, children will practice following animal tracks and learn about the animals that made them. They will also learn how tracks are made by making their own with play-dough.

Art with Grain and Beans

Children will use grain and beans to make a picture.

Building Blocks

At this station, children can use wooden blocks to build different things.

Dried Fruit and Nuts

Children will see both fresh fruit and also the dried version of the same fruit. They can taste each kind. They will also see and taste different nuts.

How Old is a Tree

Children will learn what annual rings are and practice their counting skills by counting the rings to see how old the tree was. They will then use paper and a pencil to draw their own life rings.

Matching Leaves

Children will try to match their leaf to the leaf on the board. They will then be able to see a picture of the tree and seed/nut corresponding to their leaf.

Wooden Instruments

At this station, children will use visual and listening skills to see and listen to various wooden instruments.







Children will observe deer jaws, fur and antlers for clues about how they survive in the wild. Using binoculars the students will look for deer, follow their tracks, and construct a deer picture.

Going Camping

Camping provides a wonderful learning experience for children to connect with nature. Children will have the opportunity to explore various pieces of camping equipment such as a tent, sleeping bag, and more. They will learn basic safety rules of camping and learn the best way to set up camp.


All insects are made up of 3 body parts (head, thorax and abdomen) and 6 legs. They also all have an exoskeleton to protect the insides of their body, compound eyes to see all around, and two antennae to sense their surroundings. Insects can also have wings like a butterfly or none at all like an ant. Children will observe live insects thinking about how their body parts help them survive. They will then use their observations to make an insect of their own.

Nature Craft

Children will create nature bookmarks using items found in nature. Children will have the opportunity to use dried flowers, twigs, and leaves to decorate their bookmark made out of clear contact paper.


Children will examine the model teeth to see the differences between the carnivore, herbivore, and omnivore teeth. They will have the opportunity to examine and touch the different kinds of animal teeth. They will make predictions about what kinds of food the animal eats by investigating the teeth.











Last updated: June 28, 2013

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