(to the tune of “The More We Get Together”)
“The more we look around us, around us, around us,
The more we ask questions, the smarter we will be.
We question, hypothesize, experiment, conclude.
The more we look around us, the smarter we will be!”
Walk by our Kindergarten classroom and you will hear us singing and miming this song with gusto. Watch our lessons and you will see us behaving like scientists throughout the curriculum. The children are learning to notice, observe, and ponder, not only when they are in our amazing hands-on science lab, but also in language arts, math, computer, art, library, physical education, music, Spanish, and during social education. The children are thinking like scientists while running at recess, playing their violins, learning about our theme units, or discovering the world in our Learning Links study of the continent of Australia. Basically, scientific skills are integrated into all aspects of our curriculum.
We teach our students to be curious observers. When we enter our classroom or begin a new theme unit, we notice what is different, what is new, and we wonder about what we see. We teach our students to access their prior knowledge to form hypotheses about this new information. We test our hypotheses as we learn how to make mistakes and learn from them. Sometimes our initial impressions are correct, but more often we need to adjust our thinking to include lots of different aspects of a topic.
As our learning community asks questions, we work diligently to go beyond basic questions and to help our students reach and attain knowledge and connections of a higher order by asking “I wonder?” kinds of questions. We also share our personal connections with learning and encourage our students to connect their learning to their own lives and with books and stories they’ve read at home or school. Information has become so easy to access that our students will benefit from thinking beyond rote facts to making connections and synthesizing information. And it all starts as early as Kindergarten!
*This blog was co-written by Elaine Price and Karen Weber, Kindergarten teachers.