Friday, September 25, 2009

Finding Science in Play

Humans are Born Curious
Pick up a dropped spoon for an infant in a high chair and suddenly the classic game "I drop it and you pick it up" becomes a lesson about cause and effect, a basic scientific principle. When the baby shakes a rattle, he makes the discovery that the rattle produces a sound. He shakes it again; the sound happens again. The infant is learning to make predictions, another scientific skill. While these games are not sophisticated science, they are the child's earliest introductions to learning in a scientific way.

Seize the Moment!
Science is more than a subject in school! When children discover why and how something is so, they are behaving like scientists. Discovering science, exploring science and applying scientific principles can happen anywhere, including play opportunities in the exhibits and programs at DuPage Children's Museum.

Science at DuPage Children's Museum
Our job is to ensure that your child has many opportunities to explore and experiment through play in the exhibits and programs at DCM.

This child is discovering that the air coming through the tube has an effect on the scarf. The air is moving around the scarf so fast that the scarf stays partially inside the tube - a scientific principle known as the Bernoulli effect. When children make connections with air and wind through play, they often recall these connections when they learn about scientific principles later in school. Children (and adults) who play with this exhibit use ideas about air as starting points in constructing knowledge.

Water play leads children to ask questions (Chaille and Britain, 1991).
What does water do? How can I change the flow of water? Curiosity leads to experimentation, which provokes even more curiosity to challenge a child's interest. At DCM children have two large water tables to explore in Water Ways.

In our Art Studio children explore art, math and science through facilitated, planned activities. This child is making paper. The process involves mixing ingredients and noticing an observable change. Experienced Play Facilitators guide the process by asking questions to help the child notice the change from pulp to paper, which can then be used to draw upon.

To find ways to nurture your child's understanding and natural curiosity of science concepts, visit the Family Resource Center and our Web site to view parent and caregiver resources about the current focus, Making Connections to Science.

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