• concept: an idea or understanding about something
  • data: what has been observed or experienced
  • evidence: data that support an explanation or conclusion
  • model: to explicitly demonstrate a process, behavior, or task
  • open-ended questions: questions that require critical thinking, invite opinion or explanation, and result in more than a one-word answer
  • phenomenon(a): an object, material, living thing or event that can be directly observed
  • represent: to make a drawing or model of something that has been observed
  • scaffold: a temporary support that helps children learn; it may include prompts, hints, reminders, or models
  • science talk: words that are commonly used by scientists such as compare, predict, measure, sort

Help Children Make Connections

Before watching this video, read the text below. When instructed, watch the video from the beginning to end.

To develop understanding of key science concepts, young children need to experience them in a variety of contexts. They need many opportunities to connect new knowledge with what they already know or have experienced. You can help children make these connections in different ways across the curriculum.

  • Give children opportunities to reflect on their predictions and express their observations and ideas in multiple ways, such as talking about them with a partner or the group, and writing and/or drawing them.
  • Provide materials for different types of representing and recording of their observations, such as charting what they observed, drawing and writing about their observations and ideas, or creating a collage.
  • Plan for time to help children make meaning from their observations and experiences, such as a group reflection time at the end of the day.
  • Build on prior knowledge. Think about other learning experiences children have had before and help them connect previous experiences to new ones.
  • Incorporate science concepts into daily activities like Snack Time, Circle Time, or Outside Time. For example, read a related book before a hands-on exploration to introduce a new idea or after the exploration to extend the learning and provide context.

In this video, you’ll see how the educators help children make connections before, during, and after hands-on exploration. As you watch, look for effective strategies used by the educators in the video and jot down answers to these viewing questions in your Learning Log.

  • What are some different ways the educators help children make connections to science concepts and ideas?
  • How do they encourage children to express their observations, ideas, and thinking?


How can you help children make connections to the science concepts and ideas that are central to their explorations?

  • Engage children in direct science explorations and invite them to observe science phenomena on a topic in different settings, contexts, or venues (e.g., indoors, outdoors, in videos, at home) and across different domains (e.g., science, language, art).
  • Help children make connections between their own hands-on science explorations and books about the topic. Choose quality fiction and nonfiction books that address the science concepts you are investigating, and read them before and/or after children’s science explorations.
  • Make videos or take photographs of children’s explorations and invite children to view them to support their learning.
  • Incorporate science talk into children’s routines so that they become a frequent part of classroom conversations. For example, if children are learning about seeds, invite them to notice any foods that contain seeds during snack time or lunchtime.

What are some ways you can encourage children to share their thinking and new learning?

  • Invite children to record their observations by drawing and/or writing them on classroom charts. This can be done during and/or after science explorations.
  • Invite children to create drawings, labels, or diagrams to show others what they have observed or learned.
  • Ask questions and provide opportunities for children to talk about what they observed and what they are wondering.
    • As educators ask questions and encourage peer conversation, children build science inquiry skills, discover new ways to express their thinking, and practice using language in different ways. (What happened when we poured the warm water on the ice? How did that compare to what we thought would happen?)


Think about the learning environment in your own program as you answer these reflection questions in your Learning Log.

  • What strategies do you use to help children make connections between science concepts and everyday life?
  • What did you learn that you will put into practice in your own learning environment?
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