07 February 2014

Wintertime, and the living ain't easy...

Here in the northeast, it always seems much easier to do some outdoor science in summer than in winter. Especially when our streets are covered with 10 inches of snow. Agree?

When it is nice out and trees are in bloom, we can take kids on a walk through the park and study and identify trees, look for evidence of living things, gather specimens, collect water samples...you get it. Lots to see and do. Plus, you don't have to wear a coat.

But, don't let the winter weather keep you from doing some outdoor explorations!  There's plenty to do and they can be fun!

Here's an idea to get you started. I'll post some more next week..after we get even more snow!

Snow Melt

  • Go outside and check out the snow (bring a few glass jars for collecting samples). 
  • Have kids look at the TEXTURE, COLOR and HARDNESS of the snow.
  • Discuss their observations and gather their ideas of what would make the snow feel and look different in different locations.
  • Have kids collect snow samples in the glass jars. Be sure to get the samples from a variety of locations, BUT put only one location in each jar. Label the jars (or remember where the samples are from - if it were me, with my memory, I'd bring a sharpie to write on the lid!)
  • Decide what experiments they'd like to do with the snow once back inside:
    • collect data on how long it takes the snow to melt. Place the jars in different locations around your house/apartment and set a timer.
    • test how food coloring moves through the different samples. Does the color matter? 
    • explore what kind of material will make the snow melt more quickly (when placed in the same spot). Use a metal pan, a ceramic dish, a plastic plate, etc...

Have fun! Drop me a comment and let me know how your exploration goes...


04 February 2014

Welcome to Science Play with Dr. A!

Welcome to Science Play with Dr. A!

I created this blog so that parents, caregivers and educators can find ways to bring more science (and learning!) into the life of children. After 23 years in the field of education teaching all kinds of things but mostly science in public school, private school, museum, university, and graduate school settings, I’m now focused on sharing SIMPLE IDEAS with everyday people.

Two years ago (after being a teacher, professor and nonprofit executive), I opened Storefront Science, a living science experiment and science play space for kids in Northern Manhattan. StoSci, as it came to be known, was a fun and wonder-filled space. For financial reasons, I closed the physical doors in fall 2013, but am still committed to spreading “the gospel of science” or rather, spreading a love of WONDER, EXPLORATION AND EXPERIMENTATION far and wide.

I know that for many children, their science experiences are limited. Sadly, schools deem science an “enrichment” rather than a necessary course of study and way of thinking. But many teachers, caregivers and parents know the value of science literacy and want to encourage exploration and investigation with children. 

So, if you can't get the science you need, why not make the science you deserve?

Moving forward, I will post ruminations, activities, Big Ideas, and reviews...and I encourage you to a) read this blog, 2) comment, 3) ask questions, and 4) share it with your friends. Plus, I have a book coming out in October (Science, Not Just for Scientists) and will be sharing tasty morsels from it.

Here's to Wonder and Exploration!