Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sciene Experiment for Three Year Olds

I'm a very spontaneous teacher. I try to take moments as they come and go with it, creating a lesson on the fly. The challenge is noticing when the right elements are there to create a lesson. I've been making kefir, which is a fermented drink. Some call it a homemade (caffeine free) soda pop. It's all natural, full of probiotics and it's tasty too. Izzie especially loves it when I give her some. In my last batch, I put dehydrated apricots in it to help flavor the drink and give the kefir grains (which is a beneficial bacteria) sugars to eat.

Every few days you replace the fruit in the kefir, and I had pulled out the apricots and had sat them on the counter. Maddie and Izzie who both love dehydrated apricots (we call them apricot raisins) saw the funny looking thing out the counter and wanted to know what it was. I was trying to get breakfast on the table and I said, "It's a rehydrated apricot." The blank looks on their face meant I need to back up and try to explain again. Then the idea of the science experiment popped into my heads. I told them I'd explain by showing them. I grabbed some "regular" raisins from the pantry and we put them in a clear glass of water and placed it in the middle of the table. Throughout the day we looked at them.

After naptime, Maddie was anxious to start her lesson. I had them gather their magnifying glasses, their notebooks and colors. I put some raisins (I had both regular grape raisins and cranberry raisins) on a plate and a dehydrated apricot too. Then we put the rehydrated fruit on a different plate. We sorted the fruit, smelled it, felt it, observed it and finally we tasted the fruits. (The rehydrated apricot was full of probiotics as it had rehydrated in kefir!) They had a lot of fun documenting their findings in their notebook and making observations that the rehydrated fruit was bigger and lighter. Izzie kept asking what is next? At one point when I was trying to explain that dehydrated meant all the water (or liquid) was out of the fruit and rehydrated meant that the water went back into the fruit. Izzie picked up her rehydrated apricot and squished it, a bit of water squirted out. Then she exclaimed, "There is the water!" She was thrilled with her discovery.

Here are some pictures of our fun:
 Maddie and Izzie with all the set up.

 Using our magnifying glasses (spy glasses as they call them) to investigate.

 Izzie took it all very seriously.

 Maddie and Izzie. They talked about how the rehydrated fruit was bigger and lighter in color.

 Izzie is drawing a picture of her fruit.

 More investigating. This time of the raisins.

 Touching to see if they were squishy.

 Maddie sorted all her raisins into quadrants on the plate. (The cranberry raisins vs. the grape raisins)

 Taking more notes and observations.

 Last, the taste test!

 This is Izzie's notebook. The line is the quadrants on the plate. The dark small circles are raisins, there are some circles that are lighter... those are the rehydrated raisins. There is a light, big circle around everything that is the rehydrated apricot, and the small orange circle is the dehydrated one.

This is Maddie's. She likes to line things up. The lines are her quadrants. The big circle on the right is her apricots. And you can see her raisins on the left.

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