This is the first year we incorporated STEM in English Creative Summer Camp at My Gallery Playschool! We all had a great time doing different experiments and getting hands-on with our experiences.
The reason we chose to start incorporating early years STEM practices into our childcare was to encourage children to grow a scientific mindset. As teachers, we want to help children learn to analyse natural phenomenon and to use what they learn in daily lives, making STEM an everyday subject.
Skills I have seen emerge from early years STEM practices have been an increased ability of the kids to problem-solve, increased patience when playing and a deepening passion for exploration. The children get a lot of enjoyment from experimenting. They are eager learners who are always up for a challenge. I love watching them try the experiments over and over again to see if they can get different or the same results.
It's my hope that early STEM will provide a platform for the children in our care to look at the world and see different perspectives. We encourage them to understand that they are capable of being creative explorative who can add value and positive changes the world.
Our Experiment - Balloon Rockets
Can you guess what was our favourite experiments was from the photos below? You guessed it - Rocket! It's one of our most loved experiments to do because it's very easy and super visual. I have found it really helps when we are introducing scientific concepts and vocabulary to be very visual and hands-on in our approach.
In this experiment, we used baking soda, balloons and a recycled bottle to create a rocket! It's so easy and yet for the kids, it's a big deal. Of course, we always want to be safe when working with the kids in a STEM lab situation so we adorned PPE (personal protective equipment). For this experiment, we gave each child safety google.
The kids loved this experience and we talk about the underlying power of gas and how it is produced by a chemical reaction when baking soda and vinegar are mixed. Watching the balloon to being blown up by the gas was so amazing! We got lots of ooooh's and ahhhh's and excitement.
To make your own baking powder rockets all you need is:
- Fill half of the bottle with vinegar
- Fill a balloon with baking soda also using the help with a fennel
- Carefully fit the opening of the balloon to the top of the bottle ( but be careful not to let any baking soda fall into the bottle yet)
- Hold up the balloon, so the baking powder will mix with the vinegar!
The balloon starts to inflate, and then it will fly off like a rocket!
Every good STEM practice has documentation. We drew the rocket in our sketchbook so we could look over at another time.
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