Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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Preschool STEM Camp Day 2: Reactions, Light, Shadows, & STEAM

Day 2 in our Preschool STEM Camp was all about reactions and light! We used the ocean, art, flashlights, shadows, science, STEAM, and more to explore how light works and some physical and chemical reactions! And naturally, I am sharing the lesson plan here for you so you can host your own too!

To see the rest of the themes, supply list, and lesson plans (5 days, with one and a half hours of STEM activities planned each day), click HERE!

Today is 

Preschool STEM Camp

DAY 2: Reactions, Light, Shadows, & Painting

Supplies: black construction paper, pencil or white chalk, a lamp, tape, small flashlights, watercolor paints, a thin canvas (or watercolor paper placed on top of cardboard), vinegar, baking soda, pipettes, blue and green food coloring, pan, salt, scissors, glue, and (Amazon affiliate link): I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean!,
Optional: small, hard ocean animal toys

Gathering Activity: As children arrive, direct them to a table with flashlights and toys to experiment with shining light through. I used magnatiles and flashlights.

They built, they shined lights through the tiles, they even tried shining light through more than two tiles at one time! Eventually they started building structures and "lighting" them with the flashlights!

Group Circle Time: Collect the flashlights, and gather your preschoolers into a circle time. Let everyone introduce themselves again and tell something they're good at! Explain that we're starting with a project this week so the paint has time to dry...we'll look at a book next!

Science Project #1: Color mixing, diluting, & absorption (physical reactions): Give each child a canvas, a set of water color paints, and water. Tell them we are making oceans on our canvasses. They can be any color because there are lots of colorful things in the ocean. Invite them to mix colors to make new colors. Also invite them to see what happens if they paint parts of the canvass in water and then add color to the "wash." Finally, let them sprinkle salt on the water. The salt will absorb water (a physical reaction), but leave behind most of the paint color or pigment. (Extension: what happens when you eat salty chips? The salt absorbs water in your body!!) This makes a really cool effect throughout the "ocean."

These turned out soooo cool! It was the beginning of the perfect STEM or STEAM activity. I loved how the kids discovered the processes of wet on wet painting, salt absorption, and diffusion! And their oceans looked amazing!!

Story Time: This is one of my favorite ocean themed STEM books! There are so many activities and lessons you can do with it, and yet the story is delightfully simple. Read it and discuss any topics that the kids bring up. (Image is an Amazon Affiliate Link:)

Shadows & Science Project #2: Look at one of the pictures of the ocean in the book, and ask your kids how easy it is to see under water. Is there light under water? Where does light come from? (This was a really great topic for our took a lot of thought before they decided that the sun makes the light you can see under water!) Do you have shadows under water? What makes a shadow? Plug in the lamp and use it to make shadows on a wall. Explain that we're going to be tracing a shadow profile of each child by tracing their shadow onto a piece of construction paper and cutting it out! While the kids wait to take turns making shadows (and you and any helpers cut them out), let your preschoolers work on Reactions Project #3.

Reactions Project #3: Place a large pan (I like to use a 9x13 inch baking dish) in the middle of the table. Sprinkle baking soda across the bottom. Explain that we're going to be making a fizzy ocean! Add some drops of blue and green food coloring to the baking soda. Ask the kids what might make bubbles in the ocean (gas from inside the Earth, underwater volcanoes, whales farting, etc.). Explain that we're going to make bubbles with a reaction between vinegar and baking soda. (Optionally, you can add a squiggly line of dishsoap through the pan so parts of it are really foamy!) Give each child a pipette and let them take turns making a bubbly, fizzy ocean! Let an assistant supervise this while you make shadow profiles of everyone.

Bringing it together: Give your preschoolers the option of glueing their shadow cut out onto their ocean painting. We had some kiddos that were so in love with their oceans that they didn't want to cover them up, so they took their shadows and oceans home separately.  ;)

Free Play & Wrap-Up: Regroup, thank everyone for coming, have a snack, and let your preschoolers play with the flashlights again before they leave! Free play is important for kids because it gives their brains a chance to process what they've learned. It also lets them create their own environment (to a degree!) for interacting and socializing with other children. I still supervise young children closely! 

 If you need more than 90 minutes of activities, try some of these reactions and light projects for preschoolers:

And if you want to see a huge collection of STEM projects we've done with preschoolers, click on over HERE!

I'm so glad you're joining us for this Preschool STEM Camp, and I hope to see you again next week!! I would be delighted if you shared this post on Pinterest or Facebook! Be sure to see the whole camp layout HERE!!

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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