Science and Technology for Young Children

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Science and Technology for Young Children by Mind Map: Science and Technology for Young Children

1. Lesson 2: Planning a Science Programme 1 - Content Aspect

1.1. Concepts

1.1.1. Children develop concepts through the experiences during their early childhood years. They learn from foundation and continue to grow and develop their physical, socio-emotional, cognitive, language, creativity and aesthetic skills.

1.1.2. Children learn through hands - on activities provided by the teachers. Healthy development occurs in children when they engaged in variety of experiences through science experiments and discovery everyday at school such as nature walk, collecting things and make a collage, water and sand play, technologies and other materials.

1.1.3. Development of Science Concepts: 1) Change 2) Interaction 3) Cause and effect 4) Variety or Commonality 5) Interdependence 6) Continuity 7) Conservation

1.2. Theories of concept development

1.2.1. Jean Piaget In, Cognitive Development Theory, the children get knowledge by interactiion with the environment. Physical knowledge - The children need to have opportunities to explore the physical world by working with objects. For example, setting up the tables and corners with materials and items related to science such as nature, smelling bottles, taste jars, animals, magnifying glass, objects at water play area, books, or microscope. Logical - mathematical knowledge - Logical - mathematical knowledge is developed in the children's mind. During daily activities, teachers train children to problem - solving and know the cause and effect by providing toys and items for hands on experiences such as puzzles, real flowers and science experiments at water play and sand play areas. Social knowledge - The children learn and get new information from their teachers or peers when they are doing activities or playing together through interactions daily.

1.2.2. Lev Vygotsky In Sociocultural Theory, children learn by interacting with their peers with the guidance of their peers or teachers. In the concept of Zone of Proximal Development, the able children and adults plays their role to assist the weaker child by scaffolding so the weaker child learns from the peers and adults.

1.3. Fundamental Concepts and Skills - Teachers help children to acquire concept by encouraging children to ask questions, make observations, gather, organizing and analyzing data and explore, instead of memorizing from the book or paper.

1.3.1. One to one correspondence

1.3.2. Number sense and counting

1.3.3. Logic, sets and classifying

1.3.4. Comparing

1.3.5. Shape

1.3.6. Space

1.3.7. Parts and Whole

1.4. Science experiments and activities

1.4.1. Naturalistic experience

1.4.2. Informal learning experience

1.4.3. Structured learning experience

1.5. Scientific processes and skills - Children are naturally curious so they would observe, experiment, predict and fdiscover relationships. The children also learn problem solving skills and find out the cause and effect.

1.5.1. Observation

1.5.2. Classification

1.5.3. Predictions

1.5.4. Measuring

1.5.5. Using Numbers

1.5.6. Using space and time relationships

1.5.7. Communication

2. Lesson 3: Planning a Science Programme 2 - Pedagogical Aspect

2.1. Process Approach

2.1.1. Process approach emphasizes on observation, communicating, classifying, measuring, inferring and predicting by the children. Process approach focuses on children's process skills. Through this approach, children can remember the process better when teachers provide materials and toys for children to have hands on experience with it. The role of teacher as a facilitator is to set up the environment to allow children to explore, discover and do experiments, being patient if children made a mess in their work and allow children to make mistakes and learn (trial and error).

2.2. Transmission Approach

2.2.1. The teacher transfers knowledge to students by: - teaching from the science textbooks and workbooks - use simple words that students understand - use creative teaching techniques to get children's attention Transmission Approach is teacher directed because the teacher has a large group of children to handle and usually asks questions to the whole class. Children won't do much hands-on activities, explore and observe due to lack of time and high cost of materials and resources to cater for all the students. The teacher focuses on finishing the syllabus within the teaching period.

2.3. Discovery Approach

2.3.1. The teacher helps students to obtain knowledge and learn about the science topics by providing materials and tools for the children. Each group of children will have a teacher with them. The teacher asks a lot of open ended questions to the children about the results that the children see after children discover and explore by through hands on learning. Through exposure with the activities and hands on experiences, children's knowledge is build up and able to share it with their peers and adults.

2.4. Interactive Approach

2.4.1. The teacher emphasizes the importance of exploration and engaging with what children understood. In interactive approach, there are a lot of interactions between teachers and children. The teacher would choose a topic and read the book related to the topic. The children then would talk about or record what they know about the topic and share their views with their teacher and peers. The children would ask questions that they want to know or curious about, then the peers or teachers will share what they know to the children. The role of teacher as consultant observes carefully, listen to children's questions and answer children's questions while the children are exploring the environment around them. The teacher would also allow the children to think about the questions and problem-solving, supporting children's answers and guide children if their answers are wrong.

2.5. Personal Approach

2.5.1. The teacher chooses one of the approaches or combine two or more of the approaches when conducting the lessons.

3. Lesson 4: Planning a Science Programme 3 - Physical Aspect

3.1. Environment

3.1.1. The teachers provide age and developmentally appropriate activities indoors and outdoors for the children. For example, dramatic play corner, gardening, water play, sand play, science and discovery corner, pet's corner (rabbits, tortoises or fish) To create an atmosphere for children to learn science.

3.1.2. The teachers display themes, information on concepts, skills and activity ideas on the walls and shelves at children's height. The laminated titles, labels and captions need to be clear and in simple language for the children to understand. To create a welcoming and child-centered environment for the children.

3.1.3. The teachers create an area with resources, materials and equipments that are child-sized for exploration, discovering, observing and experimenting. For example, books, magazines, pictures, shells, magnets, smelling bottles, taste jars, natural materials, recycled materials, magnifying glasses, spade, scoop, toy sets To encourage children to be curious so they can ask questions and creativity skills.

3.2. Organising time and space

3.2.1. Teachers need to organize the classroom to enable the activities be carry out smoothly. Careful planning is needed regarding the number of children joining activities at different learning centres in the classroom. During clean up time, children will know where does the materials or toys belong to because the container is labelled in big print with picture of the materials or toys. Children feel secure when they know what happens next. Installing computers in the class help children to learn more about the lesson learnt in class from games and youtube videos. To create a classroom conducive for learning.

3.3. Setting up for science

3.3.1. Teachers need to choose a space. Quiet areas such as reading corner should be separated from loud areas like block corner or dramatic play corner. Water play, easel for painting and sand play should be located near the sink for easy accessible for children to wash their hands. To allow the day to go smoothly and prevent misbehaviours in children.

3.3.2. For adult's storage space, the teacher need to keep them away in the drawers or shelves and lock them.

3.3.3. For children's storage space, have low open shelves for putting stationeries, books, toys, blocks or costumes in a container that is labelled. This enables children to develop independence, by taking out the things that they need and put them back in the right container in the shelf again. To encourage children to be independent.

3.3.4. For children's workplaces, teachers need to set up the classroom with child sized tables and chairs. After the children go back home, the teachers will set up the tables with different activities for hands on learning, exploration and discovery. To make the environment comfortable and happy for the children when they arrive to school and teachers modeling good organizing skills.

3.4. Prevention and safety

3.4.1. Teachers have the responsibility to supervise children and be observant of the surroundings to prevent accidents in the school and know about the children with allergies or special needs. From the beginning of the school year, the teachers need to set classroom rules for the children and also remind them the rules from time to time. When using scissors, teachers need to show children how to use scissors appropriately and explain to children what are scissors for. First aid kits, fire extinguishers and fire exits should be easily accessible for staffs. The teacher has to model safety practices.

4. Lesson 5: Organising and designing a science programme

4.1. A good science program helps children gain a solid foundation of core science knowledge and skills.

4.1.1. Children talk about their experiences of what they did or seen before. Before planning activities for young children, the teachers know each child's strengths, interests, needs and challenges and to follow up with what the children learn before. When the teachers give children hands on experiences to experiment and ask questions, children learn from their experiences and teachers. Children's questions and exploring the materials on the tables are valued by their teacher. Children are given the opportunities to explore the concepts by thinking, analyzing and reflecting on their work. Children get to learn more from the topics that they already know. The teacher's role as a catalyst helps children to know that they are thinkers and capable of problem solving. The catalyst creates a conducive environment for children to learn and grow holistically where the environment is full of positivity and encouragements, so that the children's self - esteem and confidence will be build up.

4.1.2. When designing the science curriculum, the teachers need to do planning and choose themes suitable for kindergarten. In Malaysia, teachers use National Preschool Curriculum Standard. The teachers can get ideas from reference books and internet to give fun and hands on science experiences for children. The teachers create explosion chart. In the centre of the explosion chart is the topic that the teacher plans to teach the children. The teacher links the topic to children's physical, socio-emotional, aesthetic, language, creativity and cognitive skills. The teachers make a lesson plan which are child - centered, age and developmentally appropriate for the children. Lesson plan includes objectives, learning outcomes, development of the lesson, follow up activities, evaluation of implementation and personal learning. At the end of the lesson, teachers reflect on how the lesson went during the day and which area they need to work on.

4.1.3. When it comes to designing science programme for children, teachers need to look for hands - on and minds - on activities, gain knowledge from their research on the science topic and creative ways to teach science. While the children work in groups, they ask questions with curiosity and share their observations with their peers and teachers. From this experience, children and teachers learn from each other. Creative ways for teachers to teach science is to use slides and interactive whiteboards. To recall the lesson learnt, teachers paste anchor charts on the wall at children's eye level so that children can review what they learn by looking at the anchor chart.

5. Lesson 6 and 8: Science and ICT

5.1. Technologies are essential in children's lives. To help children to understand more of the science lessons, children need to have positive learning disposition towards science and using ICT. Children are interested with ICT because they see toys with buttons, remote controls, television, mobile phones, cameras and laptop everyday. It is good that children start from foundation to use technologies. Technology benefits children learning as they will learn more by watching videos from youtube, internet games related to the lessons, learn how to use computer, smart board interactive whiteboards, television and digital cameras.

5.1.1. Using ICT to teach science to children helps keep the child engaged in learning, develops children's interest with the topic and learn more by playing internet games related to the lesson and looking at the videos or pictures. Computers help develop children to be computer literate. Internet games related to the science lesson helps children to learn more about the lesson and makes learning fun, enabling children to be interested with the subject. Youtube videos have a lot of songs and provide visual aids as a learning tool for children. This also enable children to gain more knowledge and discovery in their environment through scaffold learning. For example, food chain, weather - how rain is formed, animals and their habitats or nature. Children can also document, re-visit, save and share about what they see and learn from technologies.

5.1.2. Teachers use digital cameras to record themselves when they are teaching so that they can replay the video and do reflection in order to improve their teaching methods. They can record children as part of observing children's learning too to get to know children better and enhance their learning. Families and children can watch the recorded videos of experiments and class activities on the television and learn from watching the performances. Children can use their fingers to draw and touch the items on the screen of smart board interactive whiteboards. Teachers can also write notes on the smart board interactive whiteboards as well to save work.

5.2. ICT also has some disadvantages. Prolonged staring at the screen may lead to obesity, eye problems and affects of children's development. After looking at screen or playing computer, teachers can do brain breaks activity with the children or let the children do the activities at the science activity tables.

6. Lesson 9: Integration across the curriculum

6.1. Integration refers to making connections across and within subjects. An integrated curriculum helps children to know the connections of the theme to the subjects and explore how these subjects relate to their daily lives.

6.1.1. For example, when the teacher is teaching the topic about 'Body parts'. The teacher links this topic to music, maths, english, mandarin, malay, science, physical education and ICT subjects. After that, the teacher plans and conduct age and developmentally appropriate activities for these subjects. This opportunity helps children to understand that different subjects are connected to the topic taught and gain knowledge from the subjects that they learn. Linking the theme to different subjects help children to broaden their knowledge and see the topic link to different subjects. Different subjects have different activities for children to explore, discover and have hands on experiences. Children will enjoy these fun experiences in the subjects that they learn in the school.

6.2. All children's learning styles are different from one another. Children remembered what they learn based on their learning styles in Gardner's multiple intelligences theory such as naturalistic, linguistic, visual, kinesthetic, logical, intrapersonal, interpersonal and musical.

6.3. The benefits of integrating science across the curriculum are science fulfill children's need to learn about the world around them, children's everyday experience is the foundation for science, open ended science activities involve children at a wide range of developmental levels, hands - on science activities let teachers observe and respond to children's individual strengths and needs, children learn through trial and error, supports children's language and literacy, all children can participate in the classroom and learn English, learn problem solving in social situations, science demonstrations help children become comfortable in large group conversations and science connects to other subjects.

6.3.1. This keeps children busy learning and doing the science activities so disruptive behaviours are eliminated. Children enjoy the activities when the activities are open-ended, child - centered and hands on. As children do the activities together, they interact with one another and learn from each other, from what they already know or observe. During interactions or music session with teachers and peers, children develop language skills by learning new vocabularies and form sentence structure correctly. Teachers as observers would understand children's level more so they can scaffold children's learning and guide them. Teachers will use simple languages with visual aids to help children to learn and understand English being spoken to them. Trial and error helps children to learn from mistakes and try again, to help them to achieve the result they want to see.

7. Lesson 10: Evaluating Science Teaching and Programme

7.1. Children's recording methods should suit ability of children and reason for recording. The purpose of recording is it helps children to understand the information and put it together, helps children to select the suitable information that they record, children have the opportunity to talk about their recordings and share with teachers what they understand and think.

7.1.1. Teachers need to consider the format of recordings that is the kind of activity for group or individual work, emphasis of activity whether is on the process skills or content, purpose of recording and children's experience which is suitable for the child's age and level of their development. The types of recordings are worksheets, scrapbooks, interviews between teacher and child or child and child, collages, drawings, collections of nature, displays and charts. When the children are recording, they are also learning more about the science topic that they learning as an extension activity.

7.2. Assessing children's learning helps teachers know whether the children understand the lesson or not before moving on to the next topic. If the children still do not understand the lesson, the teacher can teach the topic again but use different teaching techniques to make children understand the lesson easily. Assessments of children provides feedback to parents on their children's progress.

7.2.1. Teachers can use the following methods to assess children's learning to know their progress: - Anecdoctal records - Running records - Work samples - Checklists - Quiz or assessments - Teacher and child interviews - Small group discussions - Taking photographs or videos

7.3. At the end of the day, teachers need to do reflections to see how the lesson went and children's learning regarding the topic learn, what do they learn and areas need to improve in their teaching skills and the assessment strategies used. Doing reflections make teachers effective teachers because they evaluate themselves and learn from their mistakes in order to teach science in a fun and creative way to children to enhance children's interest in learning science in the future.