Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

A Welcome to the Science in Pre-K Website

lcammarata

Recently, I was looking through pictures taken by Science in Pre-K teachers from 2009 through 2012 that captured various moments of science learning in their classrooms. The pictures had very common threads that connected them. There are lots of pictures of very tall towers, and pictures of students gathered around water tables. There are also many pictures of students visiting the National Air and Space Museum. But I am most fascinated by how unique the images are. Each classroom had different stories to tell in learning about science. One classroom had images of students investigating shadows in their urban neighborhood, while in another the students were the photographers, photographing their friends' shadows (yes, they were allowed to use the digital camera!) Another classroom captured a student drawing from the book "Moon Bear's Shadow", by Frank Asch, while another teacher used digital photographs to document students exploring building structures and light and shadows at the same time.

This student is drawing her favorite part of the story. She said, "I liked the part when Moon Bear tried to put his shadow down in a hold and cover him up!"

The science is consistent, but the sense of discovery is unique in each of these images. It is a reflection of the flexibility and creativity that these teachers cultivated; these simple classroom photographs demonstrate those teachers' willingness to take risks and reveal how capable their little scientists are in discovering the world around them. 

All of those teachers received the basic tools of inquiry science from Science in Pre-K and used their own voices to command a classroom environment rich in wonder for young learners. Their experiences and journey in discovering more and more about the possibilities of inquiry science has been the greatest joy that has come out of Science in Pre-K.

We have had the privilege to work with and learn from incredibly insightful and creative teachers, teacher assistants, and instructional coaches from DC public schools and beyond. Today, we are so thrilled to embark into the world of virtual professional development to reach even more early childhood educators.

The "Educators' Sand Box" blog will explore early childhood science learning through multiple lenses. The main authors will be me, Lizzie Cammarata, and Ann Caspari, with guest teachers and collaboraters joining in our reflections. Ann spearheaded and developed the original Science in Pre-K program. She is a truely talented museum educator and leader in early childhood education and inquiry learning, not to mention a commensurate collegue and friend. In addition to sharing my experiences with Science in Pre-K, I have the unusual opportunity to contribute to the blog while observing my own little one exploring the world around him. It is amazing to see first-hand how early the spark of curiosity begins. I look forward to sharing these experiences with you.

What are your experiences with science teaching in the classroom, or beyond? How has this website helped you? You, too, can share your pictures and stories right here in the "Educators' Sand Box." Contact us to find out how. 

In this image a teacher uses chalk outside to label the different times and location that the "sundial" casts a shadow.