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Saturday, April 4, 2020

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STEM Preschool: Structural Engineering Class Day 2

STEM Preschool Activities are some of our favorites, so I was really excited when we had some friends request a Structural Engineering class for our last session of co-op. The co-op we are doing this year is running in 5-week terms, so the lesson that I am sharing today is the second day (for the second week) of our class. You can use these lessons once a week like we did, or once a day for a STEM Preschool Camp! Our classes are 45-minutes long, so all of these lessons are for 45-minute classes. :)  



Today's theme was all about forces and engineering ways to control them!

We called this project Paper Rockets.


Week 2: Stomp Rockets
Projects: Stomp Rockets
Science Concepts: force (a push or pull), gravity is a force

Lesson Overview:

1- Circle Sharing 

2- Attention Activity: Skateboard Forces

3- Lesson: Force & Gravity

4- Project: Stomp Rockets

Supplies: stomp rocket launcher (read below for instructions), 2-liter bottle, paper, crayons, tape, skateboard

Preparation:
1- In advance, join two 1/2-inch pvc pipes together at a 90 degree angle. Duct tape a 2-liter bottle to one end to create the stomp rocket launcher.
2- Make a paper rocket example (#4 below).

Lesson Details:

1- Circle Sharing: I always take about 5 minutes to let each child share something of their choice from the last week.

2- Attention Activity: Skateboard Forces.
Place a skateboard by the wall, and ask the children what a force is. Remind them that it is a push or pull.  Ask what would happen if one of the children stood on the skateboard, and pushed on the wall. Let each child try it.

3- Lesson: Whenever we put a force in one direction, there is an equal force in the opposite direction. When we pushed on the wall, the wall "pushed back," and since we were standing on wheels, we rolled backward.  Gravity is another FORCE that PULLS us (or a ball, or a toy, or anything) toward something big (like the Earth).  

4- Explain that today we were going to engineer paper rockets, and use a force to fire them outside! Show your children the rocket example, and place it gently on the launcher. Tell them that if you stomped on the 2-liter bottle, the force will push air out the bottle, down the pipes, and onto the rocket. The rocket will shoot off the launcher! Show them by gently tapping on the bottle.

Their job will be to make the rockets. They can decorate them with crayons, and roll them into a rocket. Depending on their age, they may need help with this.

Use the end of the pvc pipe to roll the paper into a rocket. Then tape the roll closed along both the side and the top. It is important that no air can escape through the sides or top of the rocket!

 


While the kids worked on decorating their rockets, the other teacher and I helped each child tape their rockets closed.

They spent about 20 minutes designing and taping their rockets.



Finally, we took them outside and took turns launching our rockets!



In a perfect world, you would sit down and review the vocabulary (force and gravity), and let each child tell you what they did, learned, or liked best about the project. Unfortunately, we ran out of time for this! We still had a great time building the rockets, and we did a little extra review at the beginning of the next class. ;)  

Be sure to check out the rest of the STEM Preschool: Structural Engineering Class lessons HERE! They are filled with STEM activities for preschoolers, picture books, and other cross-curricular ideas!

Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!




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Monday, March 2, 2020

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Preschool Music and Active Movement: Crocodile Theme

For our Preschool Music & Active Movement class this week, we focused on Crocodile songs! These songs and activities would also go great with a pond or river theme!


Here is the outline I used to teach our 45-minute class for 3-4 year olds. In addition to our preschoolers, we usually have a couple younger and older brothers and sisters join in too.  ;) 

1- Gathering time: play with musical instruments bin. 

2- Welcome Song. We usually do this with puppets--it makes a pretty smooth transition to clean up the gathering instruments and go and get a puppet. 

This time, I introduced my special friend, Cami ( a 3-foot long crocodile puppet)!

3- When I Sing LaLaLa by Janeen Brady. We do this and the welcome song with puppets:




4-  I introduced the theme and we talked about  crocodiles and what the kids know about crocodiles already. 

Then I pulled out the crocodile's friends: an orangutan (we had to use a stuffed gorilla), an eagle, a fish, a bunny, a beaver (I don't actually have any beaver toys, so we used a stick to represent the beaver), and an elephant. We made the sounds that each animal made, and then sang along with this song:


5- Shaker Eggs: Before I passed out the shaker eggs we talked about how crocodiles lay eggs and a mother crocodile usually carries her babies in her mouth to a river before she leaves them to grow up on their own:


6- Rhythm Sticks: We used the rhythm sticks to play "Copy Crocodile:" each child had a turn making a short rhythm that everyone else copied.

7- 5 Little Monkeys Teasing Mr. Crocodile. How could we have a crocodile week without this famous counting finger play song?!

We chanted it without accompaniment in a sing-song rhythm:

5 little monkeys swinging in the tree,
teasing Mr. Crocodile, "You can't catch me!
"You can't catch me!"
But along came Mr. Crocodile as silent as can be, 
and SNAP!
He ate one!

4 little monkeys swinging in the tree...
3 little monkeys swinging in the tree...
2 little monkeys swinging in the tree...
1 little monkey swinging in the tree...

No little monkeys swinging in the tree
teasing Mr Crocodile, "You can't catch me!
"You can't catch me!"
And Mr. Crocodile is happy as can be!
   

8- Let's go swimming. We didn't actually sing this one, but I wanted to have it ready if we had time for it! Crocodiles eat fish, so it ties in nicely!




9-  Parachute Game:10 Little Crocodiles: All the kids started out on the parachute while the adults made "waves."  We "sang" a counting rhyme. Each time we counted down, one or two kids hopped off.  You could use 5 Little Monkeys above or this rhyme:

10 little crocodiles sitting in the sea.
1 climbed out to sit quietly!

9 little crocodiles...

10- Parachute Game: Crocodiles: Every week we usually play some version of this game. 1 or 2 children start out as a "crocodile" and everyone else sits with their feet under the parachute. Everyone makes waves with the parachute while the crocodile crawls around under the parachute gently tickling people's toes. If your toes get tickled, you turn into a crocodile and climb under the parachute too!  

11- Parachute Song: Walk Around by Nancy Kopman. We walk around holding onto the parachute and doing the suggested actions in this song:



12- Goodbye Song.



Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!




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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

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STEM Preschool: Structural Engineering Class Day 1

STEM Preschool Activities are some of our favorites, so I was really excited when we had some friends request a Structural Engineering class for our last session of co-op. The co-op we are doing this year is running in 5-week terms, so the lesson that I am sharing today is the first day (for the first week) of our class. You can use these lessons once a week like we did, or once a day for a STEM Preschool Camp! Our classes are 45-minutes long, so all of these lessons are for 45-minute classes. :)  


Today's theme was all about introducing force and giving the kids a chance to engineer something fun!

We called this project Musical Marble Runs.


Week 1: Musical Marble Runs
Projects: Musical Marble Runs
Science Concepts: sound, gravity, force (a push or pull)

Lesson Overview:

1- Circle Sharing 

2- Picture Book: Iggy Peck Architect

3- Lesson: Force & Gravity

4- Project: Musical Marble Runs

Lesson Details:

1- Circle Sharing: I always take about 5 minutes to let each child share something of their choice from the last week.

2- Picture Book: Literacy is a HUGE part of preschool, and I LOVE introducing new topics to children (even older children!) with picture books. This week I started with Iggy Peck, Architect. As we read the story we talked about the pictures and what they thought about some of the crazy building projects. We also talked about gravity.

3- When we finished reading, I asked them if they knew what a force was.  We talked about their ideas, and then I told them that in science, we call a PUSH or a PULL a force.  We gave each other lots of examples!  Then I asked them what they thought gravity was. I told them that gravity is a FORCE that PULLS us (or a ball, or a toy, or anything) toward something big (like the Earth).  

4- I told them that we were going to engineer marble runs that will play a musical rhythm as the marble gets pulled down the path by gravity.  I had a VERY simple example set up--it was basically three stair-stepped blocks, but it let them see how the marble clink-clink-clinked down the path. It also gave us a starting point to look at building edges to keep the marbles on the path.

At this point, I turned the kids "loose" to start building! They spent about 20 minutes designing, building, and testing marble runs.

We made videos and took pictures, and spent the last 2 minutes of class time watching each other's videos--our preschoolers LOVE seeing themselves on camera!

Some of the designs were very intricate, some were fancy, and some were simple. They were all a joy to watch!



Be sure to check out the rest of the STEM Preschool: Structural Engineering Class lessons HERE! They are filled with STEM activities for preschoolers, picture books, and other cross-curricular ideas!

Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Sunday, February 23, 2020

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Preschool Music & Active Movement: Firemen

For our Preschool Music & Active Movement class this week, we focused on Firefighter songs!


Here is the outline I used to teach our 45-minute class for 3-4 year olds. In addition to our preschoolers, we usually have a couple younger and older brothers and sisters join in too.  ;) 

1- Gathering time: play with musical instruments bin. This week I also brought out a set of boomwhackers for the kids to play with.

2- Welcome Song.

3- When I Sing LaLaLa by Janeen Brady. We do this and the welcome song with puppets:



4-  I introduced the theme and we talked about firetrucks we've seen. 
 I like to start with a song that gets the kids moving a lot because it helps everyone relax and focus at the same time.  I don't have any favorite firetruck action songs (feel free to recommend some!), and some fire stations have cars, so we used Drive My car from Laurie Bergner:


5- We talked about how firefighters are people just like them, and sometimes the get serious, or silly or even sleepy!  So I have a silly song to play our shaker eggs to today: Shake My Sillies Out from Raffia.  



6- I collected the shaker eggs and passed out rhythm sticks. We used the rhythm sticks to make a soft fire, a loud fire, and then put out the fire like firemen. 

7- Finger Play: 5 Little Firemen:  Make 5 firemen fingers and use your other hand to make a fire engine.  I taught the kids this combination sign (ASL) for "firetruck" and then we signed it every time we came to that part of the song.



8- Bells & Hurry, Hurry, Drive the Fire Truck:  I let each child choose two bells to play (one for each hand) at the end of each verse of this song. We reviewed how to play bells... and how not to play them.  The words are repetitive enough that they can sing along too, and alternating hands while playing (or attempting to play!) in rhythm is a skill that strengthens pre-reading, math, and coordination!


9- Parachute Fire: I tossed a few balloons and balls onto the parachute and we had to shake them off to put out the fire!

10- Firefighters! This parachute game is a twist on our shark game. To play, everyone put their toes under the parachute. One "firefighter" started out by going under the parachute. If he tickled someone's toes, they turned into a firefighter too! Once everyone was under the parachute, we played again. 

11- Walk Around by Nancy Kopman. We walk around holding onto the parachute and doing the suggested actions in this song:



12- Goodbye Song.



Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!




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Thursday, February 20, 2020

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Heart Science Experiment + American Heart Month + CCEI Courses

Heart health is a subject that I am passionate about because it has affected my family closely for many years.  ChildCare Education Institute offers many health, safety, and nutrition courses for you to become well-informed.  I am excited to share some of these heart-themed activities and resources with you! (Of course, you can do these any time of the month or year, but they are especially perfect for American Heart Month in February!)


Heart health is a huge issue in our country--heart disease is actually the leading cause of death for both men and women(1), and more than half of all Americans have at least one of the 3 highest risk factors (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking) for developing heart disease(2).


I think it's hugely important to teach our children (including preschoolers!) how their hearts work, why they're important, and how to take care of them.  I'm going to share 3 activities you can do with kids of any age (or adults!) to help them understand how impressive their hearts are and how to take care of them (keep reading...it's below!).


Before we can teach anything, we need to make sure that we understand it ourselves!

The best ways to take care of our hearts are to eat correctly, stay active, and avoid smoking and alcohol(1)ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI) has lots of courses that teach about health, safety, and nutrition. For example:

HLTH 103: Fit For Life is a course that provides hands-on strategies and methods you can use immediately to improve your children's physical fitness and integrate movement activities into your daily curriculum. When our children are more active, their hearts grow stronger and less fat builds up in their circulatory system, but sometimes it's tricky to find ways to keep kids active throughout the day. This course fixes that!

NFS 100: Healthy Habits: Nutrition and Fitness Practices  
Good nutrition is an important component of a heart-healthy approach to life, and this course makes it easier for you to guide your children and the children you watch in healthy choices.  It teaches the importance of a nutrition policy, ways to introduce new foods to children, how to create positive mealtimes, how to reduce childhood obesity, the USDA's nutrition guidelines, and ways to teach nutrition to children and families!

HLTH 100: Preventing Early Childhood Obesity  
Childhood obesity is rising(3), and it is important that teachers and providers be prepared to address obesity and promote healthy choices.  This course contains strategies for preventing childhood obesity that can improve the health of all children!

NFS 101: Nutrition and Food Service in Early Learning Environments is a course that provides information to help caregivers and childcare center staff develop positive, healthy nutritional programs for children. It also helps you understand the USDA food program and meal planning in a childcare setting. Honestly, I think that every parent should take some kind of nutrition-for-young-children course before their child turns one! Learning what kinds of foods young children need and how much they need is an important skill for not only childcare providers, but every single parent.

Other Health, Safety, and Nutrition courses: CCEI has more than a dozen other courses about health, nutrition, and active learning in both English and Spanish!

Courses from CCEI are well-organized, easy to access, and full of useful information and hands-on ideas. They are designed for anyone who works with young children, including family child care, centers, preschool, after-school, and more!

Here are a few of the most-loved aspects of CCEI:
* Their courses are available every single day, 24-7, from anywhere you have an internet connection!
* There are OVER 150 courses in English and Spanish, as well as certification programs like CDA and Director and Early Childhood Credentials.
* CCEI is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and is an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
* 99% of their students recommend them, and they have had students complete over 5 million online course hours!
* You can get IACET CEUs for completed coursework at no additional cost.

I've actually taken several courses with CCEI, and I am happy to recommend them to everyone! CCEI courses are a pleasure to work through and have useful content filled with the latest research-based content!  You can see some of the specific courses I have taken from CCEI and my reviews of them at these links:  CCEI 440: Sensational ScienceCCEI 112: Active Learning In Early ChildhoodLiterature 102: Poetry and Nursery Rhymes for Young Children, and CCEI 670: Bright Beginnings: Age Appropriate Activities for Infants and Toddlers, and check out their most popular courses HERE!


While you're busy learning about health and nutrition, remember to take the time to teach your children too!

I set up this experiment to show my kids how the heart constantly pumps blood, and needs a regular consistent contraction and release of the muscles to send blood from the heart to the rest of the body!

1st Heart Experiment:

Simple Supplies:
* balloon
* scissors
* 2 glass cups
* rubber band
* 2 straws
* colored water (my 4-year old added blue food coloring to our water)

Easy How-To:
1- Fill one of the cups about half full with colored water.  One of my favorite comments during the experiment was from my 9-year old: "We must be Kree since we have blue blood!"  The truth is I just ran out of red food coloring!

2- Carefully cut off the end of the balloon and stretch it over the cup with the colored water, and secure it with the rubber-band.


3- Shove the 2 straws together so you have a longer straw that can stretch between the two cups.

4- Snip a TINY hole in the balloon and squish the straw inside it. The hole needs to be small enough that it clings to the straw and no air escapes. (Though, it does make an interesting side-note to talk about what happens if you have a hole in your heart, a condition that happened to someone we know.)

Your set up should look something like this:


5- When you press down on the balloon (as demonstrated in the picture above), the air pressure inside the cup increases and forces the "blood" into the straw. It gets "pumped" out of the "heart" into the "body," just like our hearts pump blood out of our heart and into our body.

We let everyone try pumping the heart a few times, and while we did it we talked about how tricky it is to consistently press and release over and over and over. Our heart is amazing!!!  

As our "heart" started to run out of "blood," one of my daughters asked how the heart gets refilled. I pulled out a diagram to show how our heart has more than one tube (straw, lol!). Some take blood away, and others bring blood back. The biggest blood vessel that takes blood away from the heart is the aorta, and we can feel the blood pulsing through it just above our heart. We can also feel the blood pulsing through the carotid artery on the side of our throats.

The kids actually found a way to "refill" our heart by pressing the balloon in while the other end of the straw was in the water!  


2nd Heart Experiment:

Simple Supply:
* Stopwatch

Easy How To:
Discuss:
Our hearts pump blood to our whole body. But why do we need blood? The blood carries oxygen to our muscles, and we need that oxygen for our muscles to work! 

When our muscles work harder, they need more oxygen. The only way to get more oxygen is for our heart to pump faster!

Help your children find their heartbeats! It is probably easiest for them to feel it on their chests or throats. 

Then watch your stopwatch for 1 minute while everyone runs around the room or does jumping jacks. 

Find your heartbeats again. Is it faster or slower? How can you slow it down? Give it a try!

If you have older children, you may be able to actually let them count their heart rate while you time them!

3rd Heart Experiment:

Simple Supplies:
* Straws
* Play dough
* Water -- I suggest using a bucket or a sink!

Easy How To:
1- Discuss how blood vessels carry blood around your body like a straw. Let your children try pouring and scooping water with the straws.

2- What would happen if the straw were blocked with play dough?  Try it out!

3- After your kids have a chance to experiment, let them know that if we eat foods with too much fat (especially trans fats), those fats will stick to the inside of our blood vessels and make it harder to pump the blood. Exercise, active play, and heart-healthy foods (like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) help clean out your blood vessels!

NOTE:  Please be sensitive with this experiment if you have children who are overweight or have lost someone from a heart attack.


I hope this post has given you lots of ideas for celebrating American Heart Month, teaching preschoolers and other children about heart health, and learning more yourself! Feel free to let me know if you have any questions about what we've done! And remember to check out CCEI to see if they have any courses you're looking for!

References cited:



Disclosure: This post is sponsored by ChildCare Education Institute. As always, all opinions are my own and I only recommend companies that I love and am willing to use myself!



Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

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2020 STEM Homeschool Conference Schedule!

The 2020 STEM Homeschool Conference is in just under two weeks! I am SO excited about it!! I've had some sneak previews of the sessions as I've been organizing them, and they are AMAZING!!


If you haven't had a chance to "meet" the speakers, hop over HERE and get to know them. They are incredible people with inspiring stories and motivational backgrounds! Among them you will find master teachers, experienced homeschoolers, museum educators, and more! I am truly honored to work with them all this year!

Today, I'm going to share the presentation schedule!

Attending a conference can sometimes feel like drinking from a firehose--you want to learn and do everything! Fortunately, we've designed this one so that you can listen to everyone you want to, and there is no pressure to rush through them all!  Once you register you get lifetime access to these sessions!

We will be releasing the sessions one day at a time to encourage attendees to visit with each other and share what you've learned and what your favorite parts are!  Tonight I'm sharing the schedule so you can plan which sessions you will want to watch first!

On Tuesday, March 3rd, anyone registered can access the following conference sessions:


On Wednesday, March 4th, anyone registered can access all of Tuesdays classes AND the following new ones:



On Thursday, March 5th, anyone registered can access all the previous sessions AND the following new releases:


Your registration includes so much!! You get...

* life-time access to all the sessions!
* handouts that go with many of the sessions!
* a digital "swag bag" with unit studies, printable resources, exclusive coupons, and more!
* a "live" FB conference group with daily giveaways, conversation, and support!
* a "live" FB vendor group with amazing resources and games!
* and more!

You can REGISTER HERE or click the image below!




Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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