Beginning a Science Journal with a Preschooler (Part One, of many)

I want to encourage my kids to question and explore the world around them everyday.  I think that that kind of thinking will help them in so many ways down the road.  So, I want to start a science journal for my 3 year old.  I tend to way over think things and this science journal is turning out to be no exception.  Should I use an actual notebook? What should the format be? What should go into the journal?-ARGH!  I had so many questions that I felt like it was never going to get done, because I didn’t know how to start!

Then one day, I found some limp celery in our fridge and got an idea.  How about we go through a science experiment and see how it goes-kind of like an experiment within an experiment!

For whatever reason, we have a ton of binders and clear page protectors in our house.  I figured that this may be our best bet in creating our journal.  My daughter could add pages with observations and objects, such as leaves and they would be protected.  I also like the idea of the journal being sturdy and the pages being large. Because of the size I am a bit unsure how easy it will be to take the journal places, such as on nature walks.  We will have to see. Now onto our experiment….

We started with a single sheet of card stock, a pen, crayons, limp celery, water in plastic cups, and food coloring.

First we observed our celery.  We flopped them all around and talked about what regular celery looks like and how this celery was different.  We thought about what may have caused the celery to be this way.

First we observed our celery. We flopped them all around and compared the floppier pieces to the sturdier pieces.  We wondered why the floppy ones were floppy.

Next, we mixed the food coloring into the water.  We made a red, green, and blue water.

Next, we mixed the food coloring into the water. We made a red, green, and blue water.

Although we have done this kind of thing (making different colors) several times, My Daughter still loves doing it!

Although we have done this kind of thing (making different colors) several times, my daughter still loves doing it!

We placed one floppy celery in each cup.  This one was perticularly sad.

We placed one floppy celery in each cup. This one was particularly sad!

Next, we made our observations.  I wrote Day One on the top of the page.  I asked My Daughter to describe the celery.  She kept saying that there was something wrong with the "tippy-top" of the celery.  I wrote down her words.  I also asked her what she thought was going to happen (prediction).  I couldn't believe that she predicted that the celery would change into the colors of the water! Then, of course, I had her draw a picture.

Next, we made our observations. I wrote Day One on the top of the page. I asked my daughter to describe the celery. She kept saying that there was something wrong with the “tippy-top” of the celery. I wrote down her words. I also asked her what she thought was going to happen (prediction). I couldn’t believe that she predicted that the celery would change into the colors of the water! Then, of course, I had her draw a picture.

Here are the "Day One" observations and predictions.

Here are the “Day One” observations and predictions. I think we are on the right track, but it looks sloppy. I need to make a template of some sort!

We set the cups on the counter and waited and waited for one whole day to pass…

Here are all of the celery pieces with the floppy tippy-tops

Here is a BEFORE picture of all of the celery pieces with the floppy tippy-tops

And here they are AFTER one day!

And here they are AFTER one day!

What a change!

What a change in floppiness and…

...color!

…color!

My daughter made observations again on the back of the paper and drew a picture (today it was just a line, but that’s okay!).  After some amount of guidance, she also said that she learned the celery needs water to keep from being floppy.  We also talked about different questions that we may have now.  My daughter wondered if we could get them to turn purple, her favorite color.

Throughout this experiment, I learned a lot about what I think is important to include in a Science Journal for a preschooler.  Here are some things that I am going to keep in mind while I create the journal:

  • I want my daughter to feel a sense of ownership with the journal.  My goal would to find her reading it to herself one day!
  • I want there to be plenty of space for continued learning, example room for further questions and observations, ideas for other experiments, and connections
  • The template needs to be able to fit a variety of different experiments and learning
  • I don’t want it to feel too formal, I want to keep it simple and I don’t want my daughter to feel like she has to do anything
  • I want to be able to include photographs and other objects to help remember the experiment and learning

Hmmm…I am going to keep this all in mind while I get started on our journal.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

~Miss Jenny

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6 thoughts on “Beginning a Science Journal with a Preschooler (Part One, of many)

  1. I have forgotten about this idea! I think we’ll have to try it with my kidlets. I like how you had your daughter “describe” her celery. It makes it feel like it’s their own experiment and helps them remember the project. Thanks for sharing!

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