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Science Study Project

Part I. BEGINNING THE STUDY

1) Selection of Topic: Explanation of why you selected the topic. (Standard


1a.)
a. The topic I chose is Trees. This topic falls under the science category Life
Science.
b. I plan on doing this science study with a preschool class. (age 4)
c. My topic meets all the criteria for a good study topic. Trees are something the
children are interested in, something they know a little bit about but not enough to
be boring, something they can explore just by stepping outside of the classroom,
and can be explored in a variety of different ways over an extended period of
time. The topic of trees will include different learning experiences including
literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, the arts, and technology. The
children will be able to both explore independently and also be gently guided by
the teachers help. I believe this science study project will build on the childrens
knowledge and will allow for the children to have meaningful learning
experiences while having fun at the same time.

Selecting a Good Study Topic*


____ Does this topic address childrens interests or potential interest?
____Is this topic real/relevant to childrens experiences and is it age-
appropriate?
____Do enough of the children have experience with the topic so they can come up
with questions to investigate and explore? Does the topic build on what children already
know?
____Can children explore the topic firsthand? Can real objects be manipulated?
____Are resources availablesuch as people to talk to, places to visit, objects or
living things to observe and explore books?
____Can children do some research for this topic independently without depending
entirely on the teachers assistance?
____Can the topic be explored in a variety of ways over an extended period?
____Will the topic permit children to use literacy learning and math in real-life
contexts?
____Will the topic allow children to explore key components of science and social
studies?
____Can the arts and technology be incorporated readily into the topic?
____Does the topic lend itself to representation in a variety of media (e.g. dramatic
play, writing, constructions)?
____Will the topic facilitate communication with families? Are family members likely to
want to get involved with the project?
____Is the topic respectful of cultural differences?
____Is the topic worth studying?
2) Childrens Observations/Webbing: Gather Information on what children
know, want to learn, and what you want to teach in the beginning on the topic.
(Standard 4b.) (If you do not currently work in an early childhood program, you can
interview a couple of children and find out some of these answers.)
a. Create a web or a listing of childrens ideas.
i. What do children know already about this topic? Blue Bubbles
ii. What do they want to find out? Orange Bubbles
iii. What I want them to learn. Green Bubble

Why do they change Have


colors?
Leaves Tall
Trees

Strong
Bark

Rough
Roots How far do they go under
ground?
What purpose does
bark have?

b. By mapping what the children know about trees, it gives me a great idea of the
things they need to know about how to incorporate the things they want to know
into the study. I learned from the children that they are really interested in the
changing of leaves since it is fall and also very interested in roots. How I plan on
starting this study is going on a nature walk with the children. This will allow them
to ask anymore questions and I will also inform them we will be doing a study on
trees.

2) Learning Outcomes, Content Knowledge and Inquiry Skills: Plan how


content knowledge, inquiry skills, and TN-ELDS can be supported through
this study. (Standards 4b and 5a.)

a. Academic Science Content: List 2 science concepts you want the children to
learn in this study.

1. Why leaves change color.


2. The purpose of bark on trees.
3. How far roots go underground.
b. Learning Outcomes from TN-ELDS: List 3-4 Standards in MATH and SCIENCE
from the Tenn. Early Learning Developmental Standards (TN-ELDS). TN-ELDS
website is: http://tn.gov/education/article/early-learning-development-
standards.
1. S.PK.1. Use senses to gather, explore, and interpret information.
2. PK.MD.2. Explore the concept of measurement to compare the
attributes of two or more concrete objects and use words to define
attributes of the objects (i.e. heavier/lighter, longer/shorter, covers
more/covers less, holds more/holds less).
3. PK.G.5. Identify shapes in the real world environment.
4. S.PK.3. Record and organize data using graphs, charts, science
journals, etc. to communicate conclusions regarding experiments and
explorations.

c. CONTENT KNOWLEDGE CHART: Describe briefly one (1) learning


experience related to the science study topic for each of the content knowledge
areas below. Complete the chart. (Note: you will develop 5 for math, one for
each of the 5 areas of math.)

CONTENT LEARNING EXPERIENCES


AREAS
Literacy
Look at information books on trees (e.g. Tree, Leaves & Bark by Diane Burns)
Read storybooks about trees
Learn new vocabulary words about trees (deciduous, conifers, trunk)

Mathematics Guess the number of trees on our playground and


(include one for Number Concepts then count them.
each of the 5 areas Geometry & Talk about the different shapes we see in the trees.
of math) Spatial Sense Compare shapes of leaves
Measurement Measure the heights of the tree trunks
Algebra & Pattern Activity: roots, trunk, limbs, leaves
Patterns Look at the pattern of bark and ring of trees
Data Analysis Graph the measurements of the trees to see which is
the tallest, and shortest.

Science
Investigate why leaves change their color
Use a magnifying glass to look at bark
Compare different trees to each other

Social Find out where each tree came from.


Studies Are they native or were they introduced?
The Arts Painting with leaves.
Sketching trees
Technology Take pictures of trees and leaves
Watch videos on Internet of trees growing

d. Inquiry Skills Chart: Briefly describe one (1) learning experience


related to the science study topic for each of the inquiry skills using
the chart below.

Inquiry Skills LEARNING EXPERIENCES

Raise questions Go on nature walk. Allow children to ask questions

Explore objects, Collect things from trees (e.g. pine cones, leaves, limbs, acorns, etc.)
materials and
events
Make careful Observe the bark textures on trees
observations
Describe,
compare, sort, Point out the differences between trees (e.g. oval leaves, heart
classify, and order shaped, etc.)

Use simple tools Use binoculars to observe tall trees


Use tape measure to find out the height of trunks
Engage in simple Investigate why leaves change their color
investigations
Record Have children create science journal. Encourage children to sketch
observations, the tree they are investigating.
explanations and
ideas through
representation
Work Pair children into groups and let them pick a tree to investigate
collaboratively with
others
Share and discuss Ask families to send in a picture of a tree thats in their yard. Have
ideas children to share their tree with the class

3) Introducing the Topic to the Children: Explain how you will introduce
the topic to the children. (Standard 4b.)
a. To introduce this topic with the children, I would take them on a nature walk and
explain to them that we are going to investigate trees. I would bring along several
boxes and ask the children to collect items from trees that interest them. (e.g.
acorns, leaves, twigs, bark, pine cones, etc.) We would then take them back into
the classroom and read Tree, Leaves & Bark and compare what we found
outside to what is in the information book.
Open ended questions to ask: What colors do you see in this leaf?
Why do leaves fall off trees? How does this bark feel? Why do you think this tree
stands up so strong?

4) Family Engagement: Develop plans for introducing the study to families


and engaging them throughout the science study, asking for their ideas,
input, and suggestions. Write a sample beginning communication (email,
blog post, letter, etc.) (Standard 2c.)

Dear Families,

We are excited to let you know that we are doing a science study on trees this
semester! The children have been very interested in trees so we are going to
build on their former knowledge and have fun at the same time. Of course, we
want you to be involved as well! I think it would be great for you and your child to
send in a photo of a tree in your yard. (If you do not have any trees, just find
one!) We will have a Show & Tell next week of the trees in each childs yard. This
will be a great time for the children to talk about their trees and also apply what
they have learned into their discussion. Please let me know if you have any
suggestions, input, or ideas for this science study. Thanks for your support and
involvement in your childs education. You are greatly appreciated!

Part II. INVESTIGATING THE TOPIC

1) Resources: Research and develop a list of relevant materials and


resources that can support science investigations related to the topic.
(SS5.)
a. Childrens books:
Information Book: Trees, Leaves and Bark by Diane Burns
Fiction Book: Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
Non-Fiction Book: Why Do Leaves Change Color? By Betsy
Maestro
b. Technology resources (teacher and child resources)
Teacher Resource: https://www.fantasticfunandlearning.com/tree-
activities-for-kids.html
Child Resource:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/education/wwww/scottishwoodlands/flash/
c. Teacher resource books and websites for you, as the teacher (these
are for you to use to add to your own background knowledge of the
topic)
Teacher Resource:
http://idahoptv.org/sciencetrek/topics/trees/teachers.cfm
http://forestry.about.com/od/treephysiology/tp/tree_guide.htm
d. Classroom materials list specific materials
Materials: Magnifying glass, measuring tapes, binoculars, camera,
paint, journals, pinecones, acorns, leaves, twigs, bark, books
e. Field trip sites
1. Roan Valley Tree Farm Johnson City, Tennessee
2. Buffalo Trail Orchard Greeneville, Tennessee
3. Bays Mountain Park Kingsport, Tennessee
f. Resource persons to invite to class actual names of persons and
what they can offer
1. Craigs Tree Service They can show the children what they do and
talk to them about the different kinds of trees they have cut.
2. Austin Goss Carpentry He can show what different kinds of trees look
like when the bark is stripped away.
g. Family contributions
1. Ask family members to send in photos of a tree in their yard.
2. Ask families to bring in any unique leaves, twigs, etc.

2) Documentation of Learning: Describe types of documentation will you


try to collect to document childrens learning during the study. (Standard
3b.)

During this science study on trees, I plan on documenting the childrens


learning by taking work samples and creating a web of what they knew
before the study and what they knew after the study is finished. I also plan
on taking photographs of the children involved in their work to give to the
families.

Part III. CONCLUDING THE STUDY

1) Culminating Events: Develop plans for how you might end the study and
engage children and families in the process. Include at least one
culminating event. (Standard 2c.)
My plan to end the study will occur around the time that almost all
of the leaves have fallen. We will end this study with a big party in
which parents are invited and welcome. In this party, the children
will perform a short skit to their parents that includes the things they
have learned. Afterwards, the children are free to go outside and
play in the leaves. Children will be able to take home all their work
and crafts that we did on trees and I will be giving each family a
picture of their child engaged in the science study.

2) Reflection: (Standard 4d.) Write a reflection on the process of


developing initial plans for an indepth science study in a preschool
classroom.

a. EVALUATION: Evaluate the effectiveness of using this Science Study approach


for supporting the development of science content knowledge and inquiry skills in
3 to 6 year olds. ("Evaluate" means to make judgments according to
appropriate criteria.)
I believe this science study approach I have chosen will be effective in engaging
the children and supporting the development of science content knowledge and
inquiry skills in a preschool class full of 4 year old children. My approach was to
first make sure the topic was something the children were interested in. From
there, I made all the activities and learning experiences fun and active but not
neglecting the science knowledge they gain from it. I have made sure all of the
criteria is age appropriate and considers all the needs and developmental skills
of each child in the class.

b. APPLICATION: What overall value did this project have for you? How have you
changed in your view of science in the preschool classroom? How will you apply
what you learned about teaching science and inquiry skills to young children, to
improve their learning outcomes in science?

This project had great value for me in my current and future career as a
teacher. I am a very organized person and I also like to create new projects
with classes therefore it is easy to say that this project was perfect and
very beneficial to me. I learned how to properly set up a science study
project and also was able to understand the difference between that and a
unit theme study. Because of this project, my view on science in the
classroom has changed. I used to think that children are too young to
learn about something but then I realize that they are a whole lot smarter
than people normally think. It is great to introduce children to science
studies at a young age and it also allows them to have a good time in the
process. In my future teaching, I plan on doing more in-depth science
studies with the children. It has so many benefits for the children that I
want them to take away with them now and also use in their future.
Overall, this was a great project and I am grateful for the opportunity to be
a part of it.