Monday, March 16, 2009
I've just finished reading Bubbles, Rainbows and Worms: Science Experiments for Preschool Children, by Sam Ed Brown. I am really impressed by the simple layout and the fundamentals on which this book is based. This is not a book with detailed lesson plans for extended projects, though there are ideas for multi-day explorations. You get a list of the materials you need, what to do, and why you're doing it all in a clean format.
Right away you know that this book is just a little different than other books with a lesson-plan focus. Brown says on page 10, "To be honest, we do not really teach children, we provide an environment that encourages and allows children to teach themselves." When talking about exploring gravity on page 48, Brown reminds us, "We can lay the foundation for future understanding." THAT, my friends, is what preschool is all about. We're not creating kids who know everything, we're creating kids who are capable of learning anything when they're ready for it by providing a good foundation.
What I really love is that almost all of the activities are one page exactly. So, if you feel like you need to make a copy of something in order to protect the book you don't have to worry about multiple pages flapping around. Also, each activity has a section on how to explain the scientfic concepts. There is a focus on conservation and on frugality, so most of the activities require things I can easily find around my own house or in our school's supply room.
This book is geared toward the 3-5 crowd, though I could see plenty of things I can modify for toddlers. For example, we were already planning on doing a "dark day," but I'll be adding the "Sillhouettes" activity on page 37. I found several examples of things I could set up in my classroom for the toddlers and 3s to explore at their own pace.
I found this book at my library, but if I had to spend the money on it I probably would. I only wish, as I often do for activity books, that the binding was a spiral one. Then I wouldn't feel like I had to copy pages in order to keep the binding from breaking.