Lesson plan developed by Ms. Erika Geelhoed, BA Ed
* Lesson plan objective and assessment can be adapted to use this activity with preschoolers.
Washington State K-12 Science Learning Standard:
EALR 2: Inquiry
Big Idea: Inquiry (INQ)
Core Content: Making Observations
Cut 3 chenille stems in half and twist them together to form a crystal shape. Trim the stems to the right size so that they fit inside the Mason jar. Tie string to one of the branches and measure the length so that it does not touch the bottom of the jar. Attach the other end to a pencil or stick. Boil your water and add one tablespoon of Borax per cup. Pour the solution into the Mason jar and lower your snowflake. Students will need to record their observations when the snowflake initially entered the liquid and every few hours until the crystals have fully formed (the entire process takes about 8 -10 hours).
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Guiding Learning in Science and Technology/Engineering
Children are naturally curious. They wonder what things are called, how they work, and why things happen. The foundations of scientific learning lie in inquiry and exploration—these are the tools of active learning. Fostering a child’s sense of curiosity about the natural world around them can promote a lifelong interest in it. Scientific learning should not be limited to a particular “science time.” Teachers should look for opportunities to develop children’s understanding of scientific concepts in all content areas. To do so, children need to observe things first-hand as much as possible. The younger the children, the simpler and more concrete the activities need to be. Classrooms need to have scientifically accurate books about animals and their environments such as field guides, as well as fictional stories. In all activities, teachers should make sure they use, and encourage children to use, the precise language of science.
Record observations and share ideas through simple forms of representation such as drawings.
Try it: Have each child select one item on a nature walk—like a leaf, rock, or other small object—and draw the item when back indoors. Encourage students to notice the shape, texture, colors, and weight of the object, noting fine detail if possible. Keep a journal throughout the year to save these observations.