Big Science for Little Hands

Science World, a science museum in Vancouver, British Columbia, has an incredible resource for teachers and parents of kids near kindergarten age. They have created the Big Science for Little Hands program, which is 18 complete lesson plans on various topics, such as “The Air Up There”, “Structures”, “Reflections and Shadows” and “Wet and Dry.” They were developed by a team of 9 early childhood educators and folks from the Nanaimo Science and Sustainability Society and tested at 54 sites with 484 children. Each theme includes:

  • Introductions: low prep, low mess activities to get kids engaged in the topic – could be done in group time
  • Explorations – open ended activities where they may get messy; questions to enhance their learning as they play
  • Make This – take home projects
  • Community Connections – ways to connect class learning to the community and environment around them
  • All Together – group activities
  • There are also recommended books, songs and poems, plus links to resources like episodes of Sesame Street or Peep and the BWW.

Some sample activities: in the geology unit, they excavate toys from the sensory bin, and make fossils in a home-made clay (recipe provided). They test to see if rocks float (pumice does!), melt crayons (magma hardens into igneous rock), go outside to see what’s hiding under the rocks, and make rock candy.

In the Sticky Stuff lesson plan, they collect sticky items (tape, bandaids, etc.) and explore them: how are they similar? how are they different? if you stick them to your clothes or the carpet and peel them up again, is anything stuck to the tape? They make a collage of sticky items. They stick wet paper to a window – how long before it falls off? They learn about Velcro, and how the idea came from seeds. They stick a piece of string to an ice cube. They make their own stickers and window clings. There’s a game where you make a vest with velcro and ping-pong balls with velcro, and you can throw the balls at the person wearing the vest. They even have ideas for sticky snacks.

These are just really excellent curricula with ideas that would really work in a preschool or elementary school classroom. Check them out!

*Note: at the top of the webpage, it talks about how in-person workshops are cancelled… just scroll down and you’ll find links to all the lesson plans that are free to download.

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