Science comes to life when a STEAM Station is set up for open discovery and experimentation. Mother Goose Time educator Tracy set out a simple upside-down paper plate, bowl of cornmeal and spoons to invite her children into a highly engaging science experiment. She asked one intriguing question: “How do you think bees get the pollen from one flower and deliver it to another flower? Imagine this cornmeal is pollen. Can you test out some ideas on this tray?”
Follow these three tips to setting up successful STEAM Stations in your preschool program:
1. Put a tray or placemat under the materials to help define the space. When items appear organized and intentional, children naturally want to touch and explore them. If the set up looks exciting to you, it will look exciting to the children. Remember, less is more… fewer materials = more imagination.
2. Be a scientist with the children… but, your role is to observe and learn about the child while the child investigates the STEAM Station materials. Hold back and let the child problem solve and figure out how to use and explore the materials. This freedom to discover the materials invites children of all ages to play and learn together. If the child gets frustrated, take note of what triggered the frustration and then offer just enough support (a tip or a question) until the child continues to investigate.
3. Follow the curiosity of the child. If the child realizes he has more questions about how various objects will bounce off the paper plate than continuing a discussion about bees, support the child’s curiosity and encourage him to hunt around your home or yard for other materials to test on the paper plate. Preschool is a time of asking many questions and learning techniques for researching curiosities. This builds lifelong learners.
Try setting up this STEAM Station today!
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