I grew up with the idea that science was a collection of facts I needed to memorize to get a decent grade. Since it seemed that science facts were always changing, I always gave myself permission to forget everything after the class was over.
Little did I know that all these years later, I would get super excited for Science Friday every week and eagerly read books like Head Start on Science to share my new interest with my daughter. I don’t want her to see science as a process of memorizing and forgetting like I did. I want her to really get the dynamic nature of scientific research at a much younger age than I did.
Of course I think the answer lies in books. :)
There are many, many great books for kids that introduce science topics, but even before you start looking at specific ideas, you can start with skills. Head Start on Science outlines these skills for preschoolers and primary graders: Observation, Comparison, Classification, and Communication.
There are about a million picture books that fall under Observation, but Who’s Hiding? stands out an unusual book that asks kids to look closely at the animals in the illustrations to answer the questions about them. Where’s Walrus? follows a walrus who has escaped from the zoo as he tries to hide from the zookeeper. Little kids love a good seek and find, and the ability to pick out details will serve them well in science.
Stars by Mary Lyn Ray is a beautiful picture book perfect for encouraging kids to wonder at the natural world, but it’s also an example of Comparison. Look around, what do you see that might be star-like? That’s Not a Daffodil is the story of a young boy watching a plant grow. At first it looks like one thing, then another. In the end, it is a flower.
Let’s Count to 100 is an interactive picture book that will have kids counting and classifying the 100 objects on each spread. Observation and Classification at their best!
Blue Sky and Green are concept books that explore the great variety that we can observe in just one thing–and the many ways to describe it. After observation, after all, comes Communication, and we need the vocabulary to be able to do it. These books are great places to start.
See all the Picture Book Preschool posts here.
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