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Science Play: Inquiry-Based Learning Made Easy | ECED.X317

Young children ask a lot of questions. They are naturally curious about the world around them. Through playful science activities, teachers of young children can leverage that curiosity to create inquiry-based learning investigations. This course explores how easy it is to design an inquiry-based investigation using hands-on experiments, games, puppet shows, story books, and more. Lesson plans, mathematics connections, and California learning foundations in science will be discussed in the broader context of early childhood education. Science Play will inspire you to expand your comfort with science education and feel confident teaching science while keeping it developmentally appropriate and highly engaging.

Educators will learn to design hands-on lessons and units that connect to general curricular topics incorporating circle time activities, puppet shows, literature connections, and ideas for extending investigations. You will also learn inquiry-based and emergent science curriculum development, including methods for teaching children to document their own experiments and observations, and ways to document and communicate classroom science learning for parents and colleagues. Grades are based on reflections, lesson plans, and class participation.

As a foundation for understanding science principles appropriate for the early childhood classroom, the course examines the California Preschool Learning Foundations in science, as well as science position statements from the National Science Teachers Association and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Learning Outcomes:
At the end of the course, students should be able to

  • Describe how young children engage in science practices
  • Discuss how adults can leverage children’s play in creating science investigations
  • Explain developmentally appropriate ways a child might demonstrate scientific understanding
  • Identify the California Science Learning Foundations for Preschool

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