VELS Institute 2: Learning About Our World (Math, Science, Social Studies)

Learning About Our World agenda
October 23-24, 2017 – Killington, VT

Puentes Culturales

Introduction to Science, Page 104, Vermont Early Learning Standards

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
Excellent diverse picture book about a family outing to the community swimming pool. Will Jabari jump off the high board this time?

Force and Motion activities
Move It! Rolling Balls
Move It! Ready, Set, Roll
Move It! Roll or Slide
Move It! Ramps and Balls
Move It! Tubes and Balls

Building and Engineering Activities
Building a Cardboard City

Study a Tree

Social Studies Activities
Create a Business

Picture Book Bibliographies
Building and Engineering bibliography
Force and Motion bibliography
Books About Trees
Books About Social Studies (NAEYC)

Professional Reading
Worms, Shadows and Whirlpools (Karen Worth)
Building Structures With Young Children (Karen Worth)

Articles and useful links
Unleashing the Power of Science-Zero to Three (pdf)
STEM Starts Early (pdf)
Guiding Preschool Learning in Science and Technology/Engineering (UMass)
Grades Pre-K-2 Overview of Science and Engineering Practices (Mass.)
The Power of Documentation in the Early Childhood Classroom (NAEYC)

Engineering is Elementary (Wee Engineer)
Engineering is Elementary (Spotlight on Difference Between Science and Engineering)

Early Childhood Science Education: NSTA Position Statement 
This National Teachers Association (NSTA) document focuses primarily on children from age 3 through preschool and identifies the key principles to guide the leaning of science among young children. Essential information for program development and interactions with children, parents and other care givers.

Next Generation Science Standards
Within the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), there are three distinct and equally important dimensions to learning science. These dimensions are combined to form each standard—or performance expectation—and each dimension works with the other two to help students build a cohesive understanding of science over time. The three dimensions are: Cross-Cutting Concepts, Science and Engineering Practices and Disciplinary Core Ideas.

Science in the Preschool Classroom (NAEYC)
Explores inquiry science and young children with an emphasis on language and literacy development.

Science in Early Childhood Classrooms: Content and Process (Karen Worth)
This paper address the question of what the nature of science teaching and learning in the for young children. It proposes four basic ideas: (1) doing science is a natural and critical part of children’s early learning; (2) children’s curiosity about the natural world is a powerful catalyst for their work and play; (3) with the appropriate guidance, this natural curiosity and need to make sense of the world become the foundation for beginning to use skills of inquiry to explore basic phenomena and materials of the world surrounding children; and (4) this early science exploration can be a rich context in which children can use and develop other important skills, including working with one another, basic large- and small-motor control, language, and early mathematical understanding. The paper describes a structure for learning through inquiry and criteria for the selection of appropriate content for young children. d representation, and the teacher’s role.

Bryn Mawr College, Serendip Studio: Science Inquiry in the Preschool Classroom
Developing the Process of Scientific Inquiry.  An overview of the inquiry process with specific activities and connections to standards.

ALA’s Great Websites for Kids (Science Websites)
This section of ALA’s Great Websites for Kids has the best list for science sites appropriate for young children (connects to Peep and the Big World, Lawrence Hall of Science, etc.)

Supporting Scientific Thinking and Inquiry of Toddlers and Preschoolers Through Play (NAEYC)
An article from the National Association of Young Children (NAEYC) Young Children.

Preschoolers Learning Science: Myth or Reality (download)
A scholarly paper including: “Can preschoolers learn about scientific facts?”  and “Can preschoolers learn to generate science knowledge?”  Thought provoking information.

“Inquiring Minds” (Book Links download)
Book strategies to help encourage inquiry skills while sharpening children’s language and literacy skills. Although these are Classroom Connections for grades 3 to 7, the information and annotated bibliographies will be helpful for programming and collection development.

“Connecting Science and Poetry” (Book Links download)
(Classroom Connections, Preschool to Grade 8) Excellent information about using poetry to connect with science learning. Also, an annotated bibliography and Common Core Connections. Includes Cynthia Cotten’s inquiry science poem “Scientific Steps.”

Physical Science Teacher’s Guide (MESS)
Engineering is Elementary (Boston Museum of Science)

NCAA Guide to Inquiry Science (download)
Inquiry science is all about exploring and thinking.  This 50-page guide has suggestions of what adults can do to help children (birth to 5) make sense of the world around them. Good planning and talking points for all programs. Produced by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCAA).​