Friday, November 29, 2013

Splashing into Math & Science Exploration at DCM

The summer days of splashing are gone and the cold weather has moved in. Don’t worry—there are still plenty of opportunities to engage in water play at DuPage Children's Museum (DCM)! Here, two water tables, one designed for a fast flow and another designed for slow flow, allow for water exploration and the learning opportunities that accompany this play favorite!
As children manipulate water play materials, they begin to understand why and how things happen. This is hands-on problem-solving in action (Dorrell, 2008)! Rubber ducks are a mainstay at DCM’s fast flow table. Children love to watch ducks move quickly down the inclined plane. Learning about gravity becomes part of the play! 

Add force to the inclined plane and you have more physics play and exploration! At the top of the inclined plane a bucket fills with water while children anticipate what will happen when the water is released. As they pull a chain, the water spills out of the bucket and ducks go rushing downhill!  The force of a dumping bucket and fast flow turns water play into exciting, engaging fun and scientific learning for our young visitors. 

The fun and rich learning continues at DCM’s slow flow table! Here children are introduced to mathematics language that includes more/less, same/different, many/few, empty/full, before/after, greater than/less than as well as counting. In addition, problem-solving and engineering can become a big part of the fun! As children and adults use PVC pipes to construct their own fountain, they are involved in the engineering design process—ask, imagine, plan, create, improve. 

Leave the mess to us! DuPage Children's Museum is open for water exploration, engineering, science, math, and more all winter long!

Ashbrook, P. (2012) All About Water Play/Study. National Science Teachers Association

Christine, J., Drew, W., Johnson, J., Meckley, A. & Nell, M. (2008). Constructive Play: A Value-Added Strategy for Meeting Early Learning Standards. National Association for the Education of Young Children, Young Child,

Dorrell, A. (2008). Water Play: Wet and Wonderful. Early Childhood News,

VanMeeteren, B. & Zan, B. (2010). Revealing the Work of Young Engineers in Early Childhood Education. Early childhood Research and Practice,

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