A place to share cool science ideas for storytime!

Archive for the ‘General Science’ Category

Germs!

I recently presented a storytime at Morrill Hall, The State Museum at the University of Nebraska. The theme was All Things Tiny to highlight their Guts & Glory: A Parasite Story exhibit.

I began with TINY CREATURES: The World of Microbes. The author gives examples of their sizes and numbers, their varied shapes, their habitats, appetites and how they eat. Microorganisms slowly change food into compost, milk into yogurt and rocks into soil. They reproduce by dividing, and they’re very good at it. Happily only a few can make us sick; most are busily with other vital tasks.

You wouldn’t want to live without bacteria! By Roger Canavan is another nonfiction book that addresses the subject.

Inside Your Germs

Another fun book that is illustrated with cartoon style germs and short amount of text is Germs by Judy Oetting.

Another is Achoo!

The second book we read was Germs! Germs! Germs!

followed by Wash Your Hands.

Each time the princess is told to wash her hands, she asks why, and each circumstance is briefly explained. After Little Princess plays outside, the Queen instructs her to wash because she got dirty outside. She plays with her dog and the cook makes her wash and dry them again. She uses her potty and the King has her wash even though she’s washed them twice before.  Lastly, the maid has her wash after she sneezes and with much humor gives her a overview of dealing with `germs and nasties’ to avoid getting sick.

The children really enjoyed the story along with naming all the animals in Felicity Floo Visits the Zoo.

They also enjoyed Germs Are Not for Sharing with it’s simple text and easy to understand information.

Just for fun I read Solomon Sneezes.

I passed out paper circles to the children to show how quickly bacteria can multiply. I put one down and explained that it created two more and invited the children to add their circles, then showed them that each of the two created two more and so on. They enjoyed watching the bacteria multiply!

Some links to activities:

Watch Germs Spread; use flour or glitter to show how easy it is to spread germs.

http://www.scholastic.com/browse/lessonplan.jsp?id=258

http://www.consumered.org/teach/germ-lessons-and-activities

More in depth information and activities.

http://sciencenetlinks.com/esheets/germs-and-the-body/

Germ coloring sheets.

http://crystalandcomp.com/kid-color-pages-a-sick-day-and-spreading-germs/

More information at Biology4Kids.

http://www.biology4kids.com/files/micro_main.html

The Wonderful Ocean World

Mr. Tate’s class travels to Sunnyside Beach to help clean up trash. Captain Ned encourages the students to listen to the sea and they hear the many creatures that count on clean ocean water to survive. Captain Ned teaches the students that healthy oceans are important to all earth’s creatures.
The kids see how all of the wild life at the beach counts, with counting pages such as one whale, two seas turtles and all the way to ten bottlenose dolphins.

Breathe by Scott Magoon

This sweet story follows a young whale on a journey of discovery as he experiences his first day at sea on his own! He swims, explores, and makes friends in his marine habitat, and then returns home to his mother.

Fabulous Fishes by Susan Stockdale

Fabulous Fishes is a rhyming picture book that is wonderfully illustrated with brightly colored fish. The book describes different types of fish with simple rhymes. The last two pages describe each fish and the oceans in which they are found.

This is a really fun book about a squid who thinks he’s the biggest thing in the ocean. He compares himself to all the animals in the ocean that are smaller than him, like the crab, octopus and turtles. Little does he know that there is an animal bigger than him that eats him!

Here is a link to some storytime ideas for this book. https://www.kidssoup.com/craft-and-resource/story-time-im-the-biggest-thing-in-the-ocean-crafts-and-activities

Here’s a link to NOAA Fisheries’ Education Resources which are compiled from NOAA experts and partner organizations to provide high quality, science-based materials and activities for students and teachers interested in exploring the science behind marine resource management and conservation.

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/educators_students/education.html

Here’s a guide to Greater Atlantic Fish Species.

https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/educational_resources/seafood/fish/

Here’s an Itsy Bitsy ocean book children can create.

http://www.kidzone.ws/kindergarten/learning-letters/ib-book-ocean.htm

Here’s a fun activity featuring oceans zones and layers of the sea with a hands-on science project.

http://www.kcedventures.com/blog/layers-of-the-ocean-under-the-sea-science-activities

 

Birds, birds, birds!

The theme for this week’s storytime was birds!

Early Bird by Toni Yuly

With simple geometric shapes and vibrant colors, this fun story follows Early Bird as she gets an early start to her day. Directional words such as “across,” “through,” “under,” “up,” “around,” and “over” are used as she finally finds the early worm.

Peck, Peck, Peck by Lucy Cousins

On the first page, a little woodpecker has just learned to peck. He continues to peck everything he comes across! He peck-peck-pecks right through a door and then through a hat, a mat, tennis rackets, and a jacket and continues through the entire house! The preschoolers loved seeing him peck his way through the book, with actual holes in the book.

Here are some great science activities including a beak activity and how to create a bird seed buffet.

http://toddlertalesfun.blogspot.com/2012/11/week-four-woodpeckers-and-beaks.html

Here’s a printable woodpecker craft.

http://madebyjoel.com/2010/10/woodpecker.html

Froodle by Antoinette Portis

The birds in the neighborhood know what sound to make but one day little brown bird decides he wants to try something new. Crow is not amused but some of the other birds are intrigued. The birds begin to make some fun sounds that made the preschoolers laugh! The book reminds children that it’s okay to be different and sing your own tune.

I was able to share some delightful toy birds that sang their song when squeezed. The children enjoyed guessing what each bird was and imitated their song.

This site at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers many bird calls that you can listen to online.

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/search.aspx

The children also enjoyed the story of a baby owl titled “I’m Not Cute!”

as well as a counting book called Big Fat Hen.

Here’s a free printable of a life cycle of a bird that you can color and cut apart and put in order.

https://education.scholastic.co.uk/resources/27504

Here’s a free printable bird anatomy worksheet for learning the external parts of a bird to help identify birds.

http://layers-of-learning.com/bird-anatomy-worksheet/?platform=hootsuite

Earth Day

With Todd Parr’s colorful illustrations and simple text, The Earth Book includes easy ideas for working together to take good care of the earth, from planting a tree and using both sides of the paper to saving energy and reusing old things in new ways.

Printable coloring pages from the book can be found here. http://www.toddparr.com/imgs/fun/earthbook_coloring.pdf

Teachers share their many ideas for Earth Day activities on the Scholastic books site. https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/2017/earth-day-activities/

As the round hole through the pages of this book grows larger, children will enjoy  guessing the identity of the object that’s round like a ball, hot and cold, every color, always moving, and home to us all. Lisa Campbell Ernst has written and illustrated a colorful and fun introductory book to science and our earth.

Two young families in two very different parts of the world each plant a tree. As the trees flourish, so do the families. The eye-catching illustrations show how trees help clean the air, enrich the soil, and give fruit and shade. I used a flannel board with this book during storytime and the preschoolers really enjoyed adding felt flowers, leaves and fruit to the tree.

The preschoolers enjoyed this simple and fun story about a little boy and his grandma gardening; beginning with deciding what to plant all the way to eating what was planted during a year of gardening from tilling the soil to harvest time.

This enchanting book invites children to imagine that they are the Earth, beginning with space, spinning and dancing around the sun, larger than the moon. Forests, seas, and deserts form a brightly colored quilt which is home to many creatures. The book invites the readers to “Wiggle your shoulders/ and mountains tremble and quake./ Shake your hair and feel windswept grasses tickle your face.”

The Earth and I is beautifully illustrated with vibrant rainbow colors and tells the tale of the adventures of a child in nature as he rides the back of a tortoise, plants vegetables, sings with the birds, and dances in the wind.

Wind Science

The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins is a wonderful rhyming tale of the wind that is blowing everyone’s things away. The Scholastic site has extension activities geared to the book.

https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plans/teaching-content/wind-blew-extension-activities/

Windblown is an entertaining book that shows ways that different colored shapes can be combined to make different pictures and characters. The narrative is short and simple and the colorful illustrations show a variety of creative creations.

 Former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser authored this wonderfully illustrated picture book that tells of the journey of a lone, yellow plastic bag that escaped from a landfill and the environmental consequences as well as the ways unwanted items can be reused.

In this wind experiment at the link below, children can build simple devices to collect things blowing in the wind.  They’ll need a few plastic lids, petroleum jelly, a magnifying glass, a paper punch to punch a hole in each lid, yarn and a windy day.  After hanging them outside on a windy day for a while, children can examine what the wind has blown into their lid.

http://stem-works.com/external/activity/20

Activities at the link below include the key science concepts that wind can move things and that wind is moving air.

Ideas include discussions that the wind can move things such as clouds in the sky, and sailboats on the water. Have children, think and demonstrate different ways they can make the air move and create a breeze (blowing, waving the hands, using a fan, etc.). Ask if they know of any tools or machines that move air (hair dryers, fans, etc.).

Wind experimentation and prediction as well as directions for a simple windsock made from a paper bowl, tissue paper, crepe paper streamers and pipe cleaners.

http://www.ready-set-read.com/2013/04/preschool-theme-wind.html

In this experiment children blow on objects to simulate the wind (a wooden block, paper cup, metal spoon, piece of construction paper, craft pom pom, feather, and rock).

http://www.prekinders.com/can-the-wind-move-it/

Other wind themed activities can be found at https://www.kidssoup.com/activity/wind-and-air-activities-crafts-games-and-printables and http://sciencing.com/science-activities-air-preschool-ages-6468647.html.

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Learning Science the Montessori Way

Teach Me to do it Myself by Maja Pitamic

This practical book is filled with fun, simple and inexpensive activities that you can do with your preschooler. Each activity has a picture next to its description, a numbered list of directions, a list of what you will need and similar activities to try. The book is divided into sections:

  • Life Skills
  • Developing the Senses
  • Language Development (including letters, word building, and first sentences)
  • Numeracy Skills (learning numerals, learning quantities, adding and subtracting numbers and quantities, and shopping number and numeral vocabulary)
  • Science Skills

Some examples of the activities are:

  • Distinguishing sounds with objects such as 2 pan lids or a jar of coffee to shake
  • Musical scales using 5 glass bottles with varying levels of water.
  • Discovering colors using paint color sample strips
  • Understanding volume and estimation with water in different glass sizes
  • Making land models with disposable dishes, paint and play dough

The book How to raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way has a chapter on exploring the wider world with the key idea that children are little scientists, with a drive for discovery. It includes ideas for working in the family garden, taking a walk in the forest, and making your own nature museum. Another chapter includes ways to build sensory awareness and sensory activities that help children learn such as texture matching.

Learning About the Rainforest

Learning about all the colorful animals, insects, and plants in a rainforest make for a fun storytime theme!

The children really enjoyed The Frog With the Big Mouth by Teresa Bateman.  It’s a humorous tale about a little Argentine wide mouthed frog that goes around the rainforest to brag about his fly-eating abilities. At the end of the book there are notes about the Toco Toucans, Coatis, Capybaras, Jaguars and Argentine wide-mouthed frogs, also known as Argentine horned frogs.

The Parrot Tico Tango by Anna Witte is a wonderful cumulative rhyme in which a greedy parrot snatches delicious fruit from his animal friends in the rainforest until he can hold no more.

I used the book Rain Forests by Nancy Smiler Levison with a flannel board activity for the preschoolers.

I handed out animals, insects and plants mentioned in the book and read the pages about the four layers of the rainforest: emergent, canopy, understory and the forest floor.

As I read about each layer, I invited the children to put the corresponding trees, plants, and animals on the flannel board. The preschoolers really enjoyed learning about the animals in each layer and helping to create a rainforest.

Here are two more nonfiction books about the rainforests:

Wow! Rain Forest Animals by Carolyn Franklin

Rain Forest Revealed by Jen Green

Other great rainforest picture books to read to preschoolers are:

Way Up High in a Tall Green Tree by Jan Peck

If You’re Happy and You Know it Jungle Edition by James Warhola

Slowly Slowly said the Sloth by Eric Carle

If I were a Jungle Animal by Tom and Amanda Ellery

We’re Roaming in the Rainforest: An Amazon Adventure by Laurie Krebs and Anne Wilson

Jungle Drum by Deanna Wundrow

The Umbrella by Jan Brett

The Great Kapok Tree by Lynn Cherry

The Rainforest Grew All Around by Susan K. Mitchell

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