- Unbreakable magnifying glasses
- Large-view magnifier
- Color paddles or a variety of colored cellophane paper
- Shatterproof prism
- Shatterproof mirrors
- Buttons, shells, rocks, small wooden blocks or shapes, and other items for observing
- Writing and drawing materials including chart paper, markers, and pencils
- Foil wrap
Objective: Children will work together to explore a variety of materials and tools that increase their observational skills, vocabulary, sensory awareness, and science concepts.
- Introduce this activity during small-group time. Invite several children at a time to the science area. Place the suggested viewing tools and materials on a tray. Engage children in a conversation about the different materials and science tools. Ask them if they know the names of the tools and materials. Explain to each group that you would like them to work together to learn about the items on the tray.
- Encourage children to explore the materials to find out how they are alike and how they are different, and then invite them to share and record their observations on chart paper. Ask questions if the children need assistance. What were the similarities between the items? What do they notice that is different about the items? Which of the five senses did they use most often to explore these materials? What are other ways that they could use the materials? Are there other materials in the classroom that are similar to these materials?
- Provide children with writing materials to create individual observations. They can draw, write, or dictate information.
- Bring the class together to share and compare their explorations. Review their group observation charts and individual observations. Encourage them to think of other things they can do with these materials.
Curriculum Connection: LEARNING OUTDOORS
Reflecting Materials. Plan a sensory walk to find items in the environment that reflect and distort images. Take along clipboards, paper, and pencils so children can create observational drawings. Encourage them to notice how their reflections change on different reflective surfaces. Create drawings or take photographs to document their observations.
Seeing by Helen Frost (Pebble Books, 1999; $14.60)
Up Close!: Exploring Nature With a Magnifying Glass by Sharon Sharth (Reader's Digest, 2001; $14.99)
You Smell and Taste and Feel and See and Hear by Mary Murphy (DK, 1997; $9.50)