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Posts Tagged ‘website’

If you have been teaching about waste management and would like a fun game to help kids understand, check out Landfill Bill!

Landfill Bill is a very simple game where waste materials come down the conveyor belt and Bill has to throw them to the correct bin: glass, plastic, paper, or metal. It is a surprisingly addictive yet very simple game. After students play it, here are some talking points:

  • Were any of the items coming down the conveyor belt trash? (no)
  • Were you surprised by any of the items that Bill recycled? Do you usually put those items in the trash? What could you do with them next time?
  • What happens if Bill didn’t recycle fast enough? (the items ended up in the landfill)
  • What happens when the landfill gets too full? (the game ends; there is no more space for any kind of waste)

While the game does not make this explicit, the whole point of recycling is to find a better use for waste than the landfill. Proper recycling keeps items out of the landfill, extending their life, and reducing the need for new landfills. Playing Landfill Bill is an engaging way to introduce that idea to your students!

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Urban Hawks

We’ve been talking about birds this week and last. If you’re looking for hawks, in addition to all the fantastic Pale Male resources, check out Urban Hawks.

This fantastic blog, written by a local bird enthusiast with great camera skills, includes photographs and videos of hawks, birds, and other wildlife in New York City. Check it out as a classroom resource to supplement the book Urban Roosts, to use with nest cams, or to talk about nature here in New York City.

What cool shots of birds will you find??

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We’ve been talking a lot about water, and last week, we mentioned the watershed that supplies water to New York City. If you have older students (grades 4+, although some younger elementary school students might also enjoy this), you can take students on a virtual tour of the Catskill/Delaware Watershed.

This virtual tour, produced by the Watershed Agricultural Council, is a highly visual and informational tour of the Frost Valley Model Forest in upstate New York, where New York City’s water comes from. The tour covers silviculture (taking care of forests), invasive species, clean water, erosion control, and other forest information. As such, the website would be a great resource for your study of forests, nature, or water.

To access the virtual tour and explore for yourself, click here. And, if the virtual tour piques your interest, the Watershed Agricultural Council also sponsors in person tours and has a grant program to support the cost of getting from NYC to the forest. Find out more about in person tours on their website.

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Today, two favorite websites for early childhood science: Sid the Science Kid and Big Science for Little Hands. These are both great resources for teachers with students aged 3-5 and I hope they’ll help you plan great science lessons.

Sid the Science Kid's website; note the parents and teachers links on the right

A few months ago, the staff at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum had the opportunity to be trained by the team behind Sid the Science Kid. They talked us through the show’s format, the research behind Sid the Science Kid, and the show’s website. If you’re not familiar with the program, you can watch clips on the website or watch a full episode on your local PBS station.

What’s so great about Sid?

  • The show is all about the scientific method. Each episode starts with question that a kid might ask, like what happened to the bread I left out overnight, and then proceeds to test the question until the kids arrive at a conclusion.This is exactly the way to get kids ready for the full scientific method when older: start with a question, make a guess or prediction, test it, and then draw a conclusion.
  • Each episode has an activity and a game. Try them out with your students!
  • The vocabulary lists are amazing. Words are defined in a way that’s scientifically valid and developmentally appropriate. Check out the words they’ve defined so far and you will be much better prepared the next time a kid needs a new word defined. Here’s a link to the glossary.

The team from Sid the Science Kid does a lot of their planning using Preschool Pathways to Science: Facilitating Scientific Ways of Thinking, Talking, Doing, and Understanding, by Rochel Gelman, Kimberley Brennenman, Gay McDonald, and Moises Roman. It’s a great book to help plan science activities in your early childhood classroom.

This brings us to Big Science for Little Hands, produced by Science World in Vancouver. The website is all about science for preschoolers, with activities about wet and dry, air, contraptions, size, stickiness, and more. Most of it isn’t directly related to sustainability, but it’s all about getting kids to think scientifically. The activities are all designed to get kids engaged, unleashing their curiosity.

If you scroll down the homepage, you will find “questions to ask while exploring science with preschoolers.” These great questions, like “What has changed?” and “What has stayed the same?,” are simply worded questions that will help young learners get at complicated scientific truths. Best, of all, they’re available in English and 8 other languages: French, German, Spanish, Farsi, Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Punjabi. I used to work at a bilingual school, so I’m always on the lookout for resources that you can send home with kids for use with their parents, even if those parents don’t speak English.

I hope these two websites will help you think about great ideas for your classroom. What other early childhood science websites do you like to use?

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