• 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

Try It

It’s time to practice what you’ve learned. In this activity, you’ll apply the strategies and techniques you’ve learned to your program’s learning environment. 

Homemade Hills

Prepare to lead a hands-on science exploration with children. Download and print Planning with Intentionality (PDF).

Search for the live-action video “Homemade Hills” on Resources for Early Learning. Watch the Peep and the Big Wide World video and then try the activity. 

Then, prepare to use the activity with children.

Supply various items to use as ramps, such as sheets of cardboard, large books, cushions, baking trays, etc. Gather a variety of items of different shapes, weights, sizes, textures, and materials, such as feathers, sheets of paper, small rocks, erasers, various balls, toy trucks, marbles, blocks, etc.

  • Set a flat surface on a slant to make a ramp.
  • Feel the weight, size, texture, etc. of each item. Then, send the items one at a time down the ramp.
  • How does each item move? Why do different items move in different ways? Why do some items roll? Slide? Stay put?

Choose a flat surface with a different texture and repeat the activity.

  • How do the same items move down this ramp? Why do some items move differently down this ramp?

  1. List the key learning outcomes or big ideas you want children to learn.
  2. What supplies and materials are needed?
  3. How will you scaffold instruction to support individual children?
  4. Create a list of 5-7 open-ended questions that would help children think more deeply about the topic.
  5. How will you build on children’s own experiences and connect the key science concepts to everyday life?
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