In this article, we learn about how we as parents can guide our child's play, getting them to build on each "E" and develop inquiry skills and an understanding of the nature of science.
This instructional strategy is especially effective when exposing children to a new science concept.
See how you can facilitate your child's learning at each stage, using the Magnet Mania theme as an example.
In this first phase of the learning cycle, ask your child what he or she learns about magnets. This is an open-ended activity to find out what your child knows or any misconceptions he or she might have. You can also watch an introductory video on magnets together to prepare for the next stage.
The "Explore" stage is where the fun comes in! Get your child to make predictions based on what he/she knows or has learnt in the "Engage" video (eg What items will be attracted by the magnet?). Make preparations for hands-on play!
Throw in the knick-knacks you can find at home (make sure there is a variety of materials). Hide them in your sensory tray filler - flour, water beads, anything you can think of!
Prepare 2 containers - one labelled "Attracted by magnet" and one labelled "Not attracted by magnet". Get your child to sort the items accordingly.
After the treasure hunt in the "Explore" stage, check your child's predictions. You can then explain that the items attracted by the magnet is "magnetic" and the items not attracted are "non-magnetic". You can explain that many metals are magnetic. At this stage, videos and other visual aids will also be helping in boosting understanding.
At this stage, depending on the developmental stage of your child, you may pose challenging questions like:
Are all metals magnetic?
Some coins can be attracted but not the others. What's the difference?
Are there any non-metallic items that can be attracted to magnets?
This is a good opportunity to practise skills like compare and contrast, categorizing and classifying.
The objective of this stage is to consolidate learning. Try to think of a fun task rather than a simple pen and paper exercise. Go for mission based questions
The plastic buttons are not attracted to the magnet. I have a metal wire. What can I do to attract the plastic buttons?
There you go!
Try this out when you go through the Magnet Mania box and let us know how it went!