In my classroom we have always called the the science center the "discovery area." Either way it is a center full of questioning, observing, and experimenting! This center is one of my most favorite learning areas for students to explore!
My discovery or science center has taken on many forms, sizes, and spaces! The first photo is a most recent example from last year. I like to have a table (for writing/sorting/examining) and a shelf to hold manipulatives and supplies. The center holds trays and baskets for storage and students learn and practice putting materials away.
The science center in early childhood can help students to develop a wide variety of questioning, research, and investigative skills! In addition, students can practice skills such as matching, sorting, counting, etc. Also, students are learning to communicate (their observations) with others and learning to share materials. Writing, alphabet, and vocab. skills can be enhanced by providing clipboards, pencils, related fiction/non fiction books, and a vocabulary chart in the center. Fine motor skills can be enhanced by providing tweezers and tongs for sorting/examining in the center.
The following is an example of supplies and materials that can be put in your science center:
- trays and ice cube trays for sorting games
- baskets for storage
- tweezers and tongs
- microscope, slides, & magnifying glasses
- goggles and even pretend lab coats
- nature items (drift wood, sticks, leaves, pine cones, sea shells, etc.)
- basket of different textures (sandpaper, fur, etc.)
- fiction and non fiction science related books
- books related to seasons and weather
- seasonal puzzles
- sound spa or sound machine
- a rain stick
- sensory bottles
- pencils, colored pencils, and clipboards w/ paper
- science notebooks or student journals
- Lakeshore sorting games
- vocabulary posters or vocab. cards
- anchor charts or class graphs
- ongoing science experiments for observation like color changing experiments, a rotting apple, or decaying pumpkin
The teacher's role is to provide materials that provoke curiosity! The teacher's role during science center time (and during other center play) is to monitor, engage, observe, and document behavior/learning. Also, teachers can encourage students to develop higher level thinking by asking them questions such as: What happens if or when? How do you think it does that? What other ways can you think of to make it do that?
I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my discovery/science areas and I encourage you to create one in your own classroom!
Stay tuned for more learning center fun during the Pre-K Partner's Learning Centers Blog Hop Series!
Hop on over to Fun in ECSE for more blocks learning center ideas!