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Sifting Through Science by Laura Lowell
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Sifting Through Science

by Laura Lowell

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There's a reason toddlers explore everything they can get their hands on! Sensory input is at the heart of early learning; even at its most primitive, it manifests the drive toward scientific inquiry.

This elegant physical-science unit in the GEMS series takes full advantage of the natural curiosity of young children to present the means and allow the time for exploration of objects and their properties.

Three free-exploration learning stations build to a concluding whole-class activity in which students directly apply what they have learned. Mathematics is integrated throughout; graphing and other data analysis deepen the learning. Students investigate material properties, including those of materials that sink or float; magnetic and nonmagnetic objects; and a sand-and-bean mixture whose elements can be sifted and separated. Each student is given a mini garbage dump (actually a cup containing salt, sand, metal, and wax) and challenged to separate the contents using acquired knowledge and the tools and techniques they have practiced in the previous activities. Along the way, the children discuss their work in the significant, real-life context of recycling and the environment.

This unit makes a nice connection to the GEMS guides
Investigating Artifacts and Treasure Boxes.

From lhsgems.org on September 29, 2009.
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