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Preschoolers Learn the Science of Snow

14 January 2010 admin 1,019 views One Comment Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

snow2Tuesday morning, it was snowing in St. Margaret’s Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC). When preschool and kindergarten students arrived at school on Tuesday, January 12, they found snow piled in their playground. Throughout the day, they were able to experience this cold-weather feature, though temperatures were in the 70s. More than throwing snowballs and sledding, the entire snow experience is a hands-on way for the students to learn about many aspects of their curriculum, including social studies, science, math and literacy.

“Having the snow brought in gives children experience with real objects in a hands-on way, which is a much better way to teach,” says ECDC Director Ingrid Andrews. The 10 tons of fresh, white snow in the outdoor play area of the ECDC provided a springboard into discussions about the physical properties of snow, the climate of winter, vocabulary, geography and literature. When Long Beach Ice arrived to create the snow, the play area was ready with hay bales to help make hills that students could sled down. While setting up the snow takes just one hour, the opportunities for learning about the snow will span a week, says Mrs. Andrews, for students in the preschool and kindergarten classes.

According to ECDC teacher Penny Tacquard, “After the students have the fun of the introduction, we will work with the snow in our math and science lessons. The students will get to put food color in the snow and see what happens, weigh the snow, and watch it melt.” The ECDC is equipped with outside tubs and tools that students can use with their classes to predict what will happen to the snow, to measure the quantity of snow they place in the tubs using measuring cups, pitchers and even eye droppers.

Back inside the classroom, students will discuss what people wear in the snow and practice matching patterns on sets of mittens. They will use a clothesline set up outside the classrooms, Andrews says, to learn seriation, putting items such as mittens in order according to their size.

On the day the snow arrived, students learned snow-themed songs from music teacher Susan Remsberg. Songs included “I’m a Little Snowman” and “I Like to Make a Snowball.” It didn’t take long for Felix, a preschool student, to construct the first snowman. When asked about his building process, Felix said, “You just make snowballs and you put them together. I put two woodchips and a leaf to make the nose and mouth.”

Even with all of the exciting learning opportunities created by having snow on campus, Andrews ensures that the experience is educational with an emphasis on play. After all, she says, “Throwing snowballs is half the fun.”

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One Comment »

  • Marla said:

    This snow was such a wonderful experience for the children. My daughter Leela loved it! We are grateful that she could have such a memorable time with her peers.