For this post, I will be channelling my inner nerd. 👓
I really am a geek at heart. Most of my family and friends already know this about me. I love libraries and second hand book shops, travelling, taking photos, nature, watching documentaries and exploring the environment around me. My two favourite subjects at school have always been English and Biology, from preschool to post grad. I may be a geek, but I am proud of it.
I ask a lot of questions. Have been for a long time. I like to know how things work and what makes them ‘tick’. I cannot start a task until I completely understand and comprehend all of the component parts. Whether it be starting a new project at work or putting together a new toy for one of my daughters, I always need to know the “bigger picture”.
This love for learning lead me to a career in teaching after a brief stint in freelance writing fizzled. I taught high school science for almost 8 years in London, England and I admit, at times, it was challenging. I often had to convince my students that science was practical, relevant and fun. Most students see science as boring, difficult and only for the “geeks”.
Unfortunately, a lot of this comes from their past experience with science, most of it negative. In my lab, I tried to keep things relevant, intriguing and inspiring. Every lesson involved practical, real world applications of what they were learning. Oh, and maybe a few experiments that included blowing up a gummy bear or two. 🐻
Today, improved technology and a renewed passion for science and all of its wonder has injected some much needed new life into the subject.
It didn’t take long for my students to start to look forward to science class (well, most of them). Using fun, hands-on experiments and practical examples that they could apply to real world situations helped engage my students and turn them on to the excitement of science. 🙋
Although many adolescent students need to be encouraged to get involved in science, my preschooler daughter, on the other hand, didn’t take much convincing at all. Young children are natural explorers so science is just an extension of their everyday world. We don’t have to teach young children how to wonder, discover and explore through play because they do it naturally.
So being an ex-science teacher, it was only a matter of time before we were doing science experiments at home; in the kitchen, in the back yard or at the park. Wherever and whenever I can impart some of my knowledge and love of learning, I try to inspire them too.
One of our favourite activities is the Gummy Bear Investigation. This is an adaptation of an experiment on diffusion and osmosis I used as a science teacher. Getting preschoolers interested in science is a great way to get kids engaged before they even step inside a classroom. It stimulates their thought processes and gets them using their critical thinking skills. Plus, trying to get your preschooler to say the word “hypothesis” is pretty funny. Don’t be afraid to turn your kitchen into a laboratory today!
Preschool Gummy Bear Investigation 🔎
The set-up is super easy. All you need are 4 cups or glasses, each labelled with a different liquid/solution:
- One with plain water
- One with water and baking soda mixed
- One with just vinegar
- One with water and salt mixed
This is preschool science so we don’t have to get too technical with precise measurements, etc. Just have fun with it! I had my 3.5 year old daughter Maeve help me stir the solutions and add the ingredients (they get a real kick out of helping with this part!). She then picked out four gummy bears and dropped one into each glass. We discussed how the gummy bears looked before we added them to the glasses and I asked her to predict what she thought would happen to each after we took them out. I even got her to record some observations on paper.
Next, simply leave the gummy bears in their respective solutions for about 12-15 hours before removing for analysis.
I concocted a rudimentary worksheet for Maeve to record and draw her observations of what the gummy bears looked like before and after the experiment.
Besides thinking scientifically, it is also good to get your preschooler to practice using their senses:
- What do the gummy bears look like before/after the experiment?
- What do the gummy bears smell like before/after the experiment?
- What do they feel like before/after the experiment?
- What did they taste like (this was my daughters favourite part!)? Although I do not recommend kids eating them post experiment, especially in the vinegar (yuck!)
Need some science experiment ideas for your family? My Kids Science Fun Pinterest board has endless ideas to inspire your inner geek, including over 150 activities for toddlers, preschoolers, kids and more!
Channel your inner nerd and get your kids hooked on science today 🔎