By Awnali Mills
This week was Science and Stories. Our stories were about Big and Small, and our science was Magnifying Glasses. The stories I chose were Chicken Big by Keith Graves, The Short Giraffe by Neil Flory, and You are (Not) Small by Anna Kang.
In my magic bag I had a magnifying glass. We talked about what magnifying glasses do, and why mine was in a plastic bag (to keep it from getting scratched.) We talked about how to take care of the glasses, and that we were all going to get to use our magnifying glasses later.
The first book was Chicken Big. This one was a little long, but I liked the constant bounce between small chickens and the big chick, as well as the utterly silly chickens. The kids seemed to enjoy it.
Then we got up and did some stretching with This is Big, Big, Big.
This is big, big, big (hold arms out wide)
This is small, small, small (cup hands close together)
This is short, short, short (hold hands close together vertically)
This is tall, tall, tall (hold hands apart vertically)
This is fast, fast, fast (roll hands quickly)
This is slow, slow, slow (roll hands slowly)
This is yes, yes, yes (nod head yes)
This is no, no, no (shake head no)
Next I did a borrowed flannel, Big Bear Little Bear (thanks, Kathy!). The story is copied from a book, but there is no notation about what book it is from. The story is about Betty Bear and her baby brother, and compares all the big things Betty to all the small things her brother has. When taking the pieces off the board, I asked the children whether the piece was the big one or the small one, and they enjoyed that game.
The second book was The Short Giraffe. I had fun playing with my voice to mimic the activities of the poor giraffe trying to get up to the same height as the other giraffes.
Our last book was You Are (Not) Small. This book was easily the hit for the kids. For some reason, seeing bears arguing with each other was engaging. Go figure.
That finished up the story time, so I explained the science stations, handed out magnifying glasses, and let the kids go to it.
Station 1: Snowflakes
I had a picture of snowflakes in a grid that I made as large as a page. Then, I shrunk them down so they were very small, cut them out and backed them with black cardstock. The kids could use their magnifying glasses to compare the small ones to the large ones and match them.
Station 2: It’s a Small World
I had things from nature that the kids could look at through their magnifying glasses. I had rocks with mica in them, pinecone, yarn, feathers, two roses (white and pink), some clover, some pine blossoms, and lucked out with some dead butterflies and moths that my co-worker’s mother had collected. I told the kids that they could touch everything but the insects, and they were very good about not touching. The butterflies were hands down the most popular thing to look at.
Station 3: Make your own magnifier
I cut ovals out of the curved tops of 2 liter soda bottles. Using droppers, kids could put water in the convex shapes to make a magnifying glass. I had pages torn out of a discarded dictionary with small type that they could look at and magnify. Using the droppers was the only thing one of the boys was interested in doing—to heck with the magnifying part!
Station 4: Be a Detective
For the last station, I had washable ink pads, paper scraps, and baby wipes. Kids could use the ink pads to make fingerprints on the paper and then examine their fingerprints. They could also compare their fingerprints to their caregiver’s. Some of the kids were totally excited about this station. I was expecting fingerprints, but several of the kids did their whole entire hands, leading to a larger mess than I was anticipating. We used ALL the baby wipes.
Afterwards, one of the kids declared, “I love science!” and another said to mom, “We need to go to the store and get some science!” So, yeah, I’d call that a success.