Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Science Pt 2

Well after many unsuccessful attempts I have decided to share this post minus the pictures. I hope you are not too disappointed.

Our next experiments following on from the display bottle also involved colours. We had recently been using marker pens outside when some wind and rain rolled in. It only lasted a brief time, but when we returned outside the children noticed that some of the artworks had gotten wet. It soon became noticeable that the colours in the artworks were 'running'. This led to a discussion followed by our experiment. We all (the children and adults) cut some coffee filter paper so that it could easily sit over the mouth of a glass. The children then selected a marker & made a clear dot on the filter paper. Each child then had a turn at adding a few drops of water onto their paper with eye droppers. The results were surprising. Even though I expected the filter paper to aid in the process, there was a mixture in the amount of seepage that took place. However, there was still enough for everyone to see how the colours dispersed and separated into their component colours.

For days afterwards the children tried and tested many ways to mix their colours with paint, chalk, pencils markers and crayons. One day we even shone a torch through some balloons of various colours.

Once again the extended language the children acquired through labelling new and different colours, naming the various implements and tools we used, and the discussions that ensued amongst themselves as well as with their carers was both fascinating and a delight to behold.

Our last experiment veered away from colours and involved watching seeds grow. Many of our children have seen a multitude of plants grow, flourish, wither and die over the years so we thought we'd try to grow our own seeds. the children placed kitchen sponges cut to size inside some zip lock sandwich bags. They then added some seeds of a variety of beans. Finally we all carefully added small amounts of water to each bag and hung them in the room so we could clearly see any changes taking place. The first few days didn't have much to show in the way of results, but by the 4th day our first seed had begun to sprout. The children became eager to count how many sprouts there were each day and we all began wondering just how big they would become. Our first hurdle came over the weekend. When we arrived Monday we noticed not all the seeds had sprouted and some of them were looking rather less then healthy. An interesting and forthright discussion ensued where it was decided to add more water to the bags. We also took the seeds from a couple of bags and added them to our garden due to the insistence of two persistent and strong willed enthusiasts. While a couple of the seeds seem to relish the extra water, most of them had appeared to have gained some new friends in the form of mould. While it may have been interesting to keep the mould and watch it transform, some of the children (and higher authority adults) were far less eager for it to remain. So it was decided to trash the affected bags and keep the few who still seem to have sprouts growing within. By the end of the 3rd week all of the sprouts were looking rather sorry and there had been no sign of life from those we had planted in the garden. Unfortunately there appears to be no budding (pardon the pun) green thumbs in our room. Nevertheless, it was a great learning journey for everyone with wonderful opportunities for the children to be part of a democratic decision making process.

Science - not merely the bunsen burners and beakers in a high school lab. Nor only for the school-aged child or even preschooler to engage in. Science is all around us and can open up a whole world of opportunities and experienced that promote children's development in a range of areas, not least of which is literacy, social, fine motor and mathematical skills.

I hope the lack of photos hasn't lessened the value of this post. It is my hope that someone reading this will be inspired and may challenged to rethink their preconceptions about what 2 year olds are capable of.



  1. Hmmmm ... You've got to watch those tricky computers Greg, they've got a one track mind of their own some times ... A bit like children really!
    Donna :) :)

  2. I usually understand children much better though :P

  3. Sounds like your kids have been experiencing lots of hands-on science!