All children are natural scientists. They ask questions, create a hypothesis, test and prove or disprove their hypothesis. Several children demonstrated their understanding of science by experimenting with some kitchen scales that I had purchased from a thrift shop.
Not only did they discover the engineering principals of how the scales worked, they also had an opportunity to refine their scientific vocabulary using words such as small, large, lighter, heavier, and variations of the terms such as large larger and largest.
On Wednesday I brought in a bathroom scale. My scale is “old school” and features a large dial and numerals. When stepping on the scale, you can watch the arrow as it moves around the dial to land on the appropriate numeral. Perfect for small children as it demonstrates when something weighs more, the arrow moves further around the scale and stops on the appropriate number.
While the 3 Day morning group wasn’t able to identify the numerals on the scale, they still demonstrated their knowledge concerning the concepts of weight.
After R, J, H and C piled several items on the scales we used a marker and took note that the items weighed 10 pounds.
They wanted to weigh the pinecones. I asked them how many pinecones would it take to weigh 10 pounds, R said, “Many! Many pinecones!” After reaching their goal (with the addition of a few more items) R and H entered into a timeless discussion of how big their dads were, Pointing to the highest numbers on the scale, R said, “My dad is this all the way up here!” H pointed to a number a little lower on the scale saying, “My dad, he’s this much!”
When the 5 Days classes came out, A and G immediately came up with a plan! Demonstrating their knowledge about numerals, they worked on getting the scale to register 100 pounds.
After having some difficulty balancing the items on the scale and still not reaching their goal, I suggested that they stand on the scale. Still coming a few pounds short, A looked around and picked up a concrete paver used for building, and after stepping on the scale…the arrow landed on 100. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Such wonderful collaboration! What wonderful scientists!