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Sand vs. Soil

Img_0560I always struggle with science activities. I hate doing science worksheets because I believe the students need to actually experience the skill instead of reading about it. Our science unit that we covered this week was about sand vs. soil. The worksheet had the students circle pictures of sand and putting an X on the pictures of soil. I decided instead of doing the worksheet we were going to be scientists.

I gave each student a Dixie cup and paired them up with another student. I gave each pair a spoon and we went outside. The students were asked to collect a small sample of soil in their cup. As the students were collecting the samples, I asked two students to fill my cup with sand from the playground.

When we came back to the classroom, each student was allowed to pour out their soil sample and begin using magnify glasses to explore the soil. AfterImg_0561 allowing the students to look at the soil, I added a small sample of sand so they could compare the two samples. As the students were comparing, I prompted a discussion about how the two samples were the same and different. As the students started becoming more interested, I allowed them to use pencils to separate the soil and sand.

I thought this activity turned out great. I was nervous about doing a discussion but the students took turns talking. Many students found pebbles or acorns in their samples. The students shared with their friends what they found. To take it a step farther, I should have written what we found out during our discussion. It would have made the activity just a little bit better if I had written things down.

Comments

We often have class discussions in my preschool classroom. I usually write what they say down but it's quite a hassle to record it accurately. I've thought of using a voice recorder or a camcorder but it takes time to review or transcribe those. Any ideas?

I never thought to use a voice recorder or camcorder. Maybe you could podcast the discussion. I like making lists. I liked making a list when we did our listening walk. We made a list of human made noises and nature made noises.

Based on your observations, do you think the children understood the science lesson?

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