A buzz word in education right now is STEAM stations and you will hear us use this term often because it is all over the Mother Goose Time curriculum. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. What that means is we offer children the opportunity to use critical thinking, problem solving, reasoning, and questioning throughout the activity.
The first week of our Rainforest Adventure Theme, we implemented two STEAM activities that were laid out in the Teacher Guide. Week 1 was all about the forest floor. We began a science experiment that we will continue throughout the month. We cut a potato in half, pushed sticks into the base so it could balance on top of a plastic cup, and then we filled the cup with water. We discussed how the forest floor is covered with decaying materials (leaves, fallen trees, etc), and it is home to many animals, plants, and fungus. We made some predictions about what we think will happen to our potatoes. Potatoes are a root vegetable, but will they grow roots of their own? Will they turn to mush? Will they sprout something new? What do we need for something to grow (light and water)?
The second activity we decided to try was the Root Vegetable Marketplace.
We set out a variety of real root vegetables and talked about the different shapes, colors, and names. The children had so much fun stuffing all their vegetables into bags and pretending to buy them. Then they would sort them back into the baskets and do it all again. They naturally took turns being the shop keeper and the customer. We talked about how much money they thought the vegetables should be and how many they had. Maybe next week we will add in a scale and do some weight measurements. I never realized how many root vegetables there are and I know we even missed a few (no Beets!) This was such a fun activity and we will probably continue it for another few days (or as long as the vegetables survive).
These types of activities lead to Authentic Assessment and real learning. I love that Mother Goose Time has adapted the Teacher Guide to include STEAM stations!