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Hands-on kindergarten lessons-82
Hands-on lessons for young students about rocks!
5 Apr, 2015. 5 Comments. A Day In First Grade, Kindergarten, Kindergarten Science, Preschool, Preschool Science, Science. Posted By: Kristen Smith

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The past week we have continued our study on the Earth. This week we focused on the “land.” Throughout the week, my students loved a series of hands-on lessons, experiments, inquiries, and provocations. I have been posing an inquiry question every morning and then set up provocation tables for my students to explore each morning. A provocation table is an activity commonly found in “Reggio” classrooms.

“Put simply, provocations provoke! They provoke thoughts, discussions, questions, interests, creativity and ideas. They can also expand on a thought, project, idea and interest.

Provocations can come in many forms:

  • An interesting photo, picture or book,
  • Nature (e.g. specimens)
  • Conceptual (e.g. changing seasons, light)
  • Old materials displayed in a new way,
  • An interest that a child or children have,
  • An object (e.g. magnets, maps)
  • New creative mediums,
  • Questions (from any source – i.e. What is gravity?)
  • An event (e.g. a presentation, a holiday)

Provocations can be as simple as a photo of a rock sculpture next to some pebbles or as elaborate as a table with an assortment of recycled materials next to a book on robots and resources to make upcycled robots. Often though, provocations are simple and displayed beautifully to provoke interest.” Source: http://www.racheous.com/reggio-inspired/what-provocation-reggio/

For example, one day I set up this table:

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After my students signed in for the day, I asked them how they thought they could sort the rocks that I had set out on this table. I made sure I had some real life pictures for them to look at, sorting trays, magnifying glasses, and books. My students then worked together to determine a variety of ways that they could sort the rocks.

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I love the dialog that this activity produced. My students came up with categories that they could use as they sorted the rocks and then worked together beautifully. They used knowledge they learned in previous lessons and used so many of our new vocabulary words.

Another provocation that I set up was with my students’ egg geodes. Earlier in the week, we grew crystals.

To do this, first I cleaned out the inside of enough eggs for all of my students. After I cleaned and dried them, I painted the insides with white Elmer’s Glue. Then I sprinkled a heavy dose of Alum all over the eggs the night before the experiment.

At school the next day, we added 2 cups of boiling water to mason jars and dropped one Easter egg dye tablet into each mason jar. My students stirred the water until the tablet dissolved.

Hands-on kindergarten lessons-24 Then they added a spoonful of Alum to their jar. (They were supposed to add in 3/4 teaspoon but the little extra doesn’t hurt the experiment!) Hands-on kindergarten lessons-25

They stirred the mixture until the powder dissolved.

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Finally, they added their egg to their jar and pushed it to the bottom. We let the eggs “marinate” for 48 hours and then I removed them and let the eggs dry for a few hours before my students saw them.

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For our provocation table, I set out all of our eggs in cups with magnifying glasses.

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My students LOVED looking at their geodes and loved getting out our journals and writing about them!

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The next day, I set out real geodes and had my students compare and contrast our geodes to the real thing! They LOVED this!

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This was another activity that spurred on GREAT science discussions and extensions. My students created so many hypothesizes and analyzed them! This was AWESOME! {NOTE: We are constantly trying to get our students to do this in their reading. However, if students practice this in a natural way (with activities like this) it becomes more natural for them to do this independently when they are reading!}

“What happens when you look at them with the magnifying glass?”

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“I wonder what happens when you look at them through the light?”

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“What happens if I look through two at once?”

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“Which geode has the most rings?”

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Because this activity was such a hit, I put it out three days in a row. Each day my students came up with GREAT questions and recorded what they found! They loved using our art materials to draw accurate representations of the geodes and wrote all about them!

By using “natural” objects and letting my students explore, they learned SO much! Don’t be afraid to let your students explore natural objects to help you meet your standards! They love it and you can do SO much with these activities! We sure had a great week! I hope that you had a great week too!!

{The rocks I found around our school and in our “rock kit.” The geodes I purchased from Amazon.}

 

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5 Comments
  1. Kristen, I was so excited to find your blog today and to read your really cool post! I LOVE finding blog posts about science. You rock!! :)

    Sharon Dudley, NBCT
    Teaching with Sight

  2. i loved your lesson on rocks! Sorting them is something that my preK students can do,. I especially loved making their own geodes, and THEN bringing out real geodes for them to compare! I am goin g to borrow this technique! Thank you!

  3. Please tell me where you got your hand lenses….I’m particularly interested in the ones with the stands! Thanks!

5 Comments

  • Kristen, I was so excited to find your blog today and to read your really cool post! I LOVE finding blog posts about science. You rock!! :)

    Sharon Dudley, NBCT
    Teaching with Sight

  • i loved your lesson on rocks! Sorting them is something that my preK students can do,. I especially loved making their own geodes, and THEN bringing out real geodes for them to compare! I am goin g to borrow this technique! Thank you!

  • Please tell me where you got your hand lenses….I’m particularly interested in the ones with the stands! Thanks!

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