Adding The Wonder of Science to The Early Childhood Classroom

Types of Science Explorations Science in early childhood includes life science, earth science, and physical science.With the previous information in mind on how kids learn best,the following activities by early childhood education symbolize significant discovery teachers and kids may want to try.Life science comprises the exploration of the senses,of living and non-living things,plants and animals, their features,uniqueness,and classifications.Theme:Seeds,Plants,& Insects Sample Teacher-Guided Lesson:Seeds Show seed packets or bags for kids to inspect.Ask what they notice.Extend on each kid’s observation by asking another open-ended question.Then,place a uddle of seeds on a small tray.Have kids arrange them by size,color, and shape,and then try to match the seeds with the fruit or vegetable packets from which they came.Next,provide various fruits and vegetables or ask kids to bring them from home.Students can search for and take out the seeds from the fruits and vegetables and use them for their own autonomous explorations.

Life Science Center for Independent Investigations Place mixed live plants,and a collection of baskets filled with dehydrated grass,leaves,vines,and bark in the center along with books and charts of plants and insects.Provide a variety of seeds,cups,spoons,and soil.Gather caterpillars and other insects along with small portions of their natural habitat and food for daily study and then release.Provide kids time to plant seeds,study the plants and insects,look them up in resource books,sketch them,evaluate and distinguish them,and talk about their findings.Earth Science by montessori teacher training institute Integrated in earth science are the investigation of air and water,sand and soil,day and night,and the seasons. Theme:Water Wonder Sample Teacher Guided Lesson: Sink or Float? Provide a pan of water,toothpicks,craft sticks,tongue depressors,and modeling clay.Ask kids to try each wooden stick to find out if it floats or sinks.Then,have them roll clay balls in graduated sizes from very tiny ones to two-inch balls. After formulating predictions,test and then discuss what take place to each ball when tested.Ask,”Does it go down or float?Why?”let kids to reveal on their experiences and observations.

Independent Investigations Provide each group of kids with a small container of water,manipulative,and an inspection chart divided in half with the words sink or float and an equivalent picture of something sinking and something floating.Ask kids to make calculations,test objects, and then trace their observations on the chart using words and pictures to write about their findings.Physical Science by early childhood educationPhysical science comprises the study and explanation of matter,of energy,movement,and change.Theme:Magnets Sample Teacher-Guided Lesson:Mighty Magnets Display assorted art supplies. Glue two pieces of paper together and ask:”What makes these pages stick together? What else can hold paper together,momentarily or permanently?” Provide time for kids to look at the art supplies,think,and answer.Explain that some objects hold together without glue,staples,or tape.

They seem to hold together all by themselves.Show various magnets,and ask volunteers to select one to plunge into a container of mixed thumbtacks and paper clips.Provide time for the kids to explain what happens.Ask volunteers to select a magnet and try to pick up objects from a tray of manipulative.Talk about each object and whether or not it is attracted by the magnet.Have kids sort the objects into magnetize and not attract piles.As they look at the piles ask kids what they can wind up about magnets.Physical Science Center for Independent Investigations Provide different magnets such as a magnetic wand,a bar magnet,a magnetic marble,and a magnetic button and a box of paper clips.Kids envisage how many clips each magnet will magnetize and then find out how many clips are attracted to their magnets by experimenting with each.Kids count and write or draw the number of clips attracted to their magnets and then evaluate results and discuss:

Which magnet attracted the most clips? Which magnets were stronger,more dominant?Which were weaker?”rent magnets such as a magnetic wand, a bar magnet, a magnetic marble,and a magnetic button and a box of paper clips.Kids envisage how many clips each magnet will magnetize and then find out how many clips are attracted to their magnets by experimenting with each.Kids count and write or draw the number of clips attracted to their magnets and then evaluate results and discuss:”Which magnet attracted the most clips?Which magnets were stronger,more dominant?Which were weaker?”

Flashback to 1920 Public Education – A Breath of Fresh Air

Some provocative thoughts crossed my mind the other day that might, possibly, be worth exploring for the sake of primary and secondary public education in America. I suppose that the memories of my childhood learning experiences will always play a part in the way I perceive the solutions to basic and advanced mathematical, logical, and scientific inquiries generally found in life, which are generally posed as solvable problems in an educational application. The way I learned to explore, intuit, deduce (or induce), and solve simple math and logic problems, which were the same methodologies for solving other, subsequent, more convoluted problems, was the way my mother learned to do so under the direction of a master teacher in a one room schoolhouse eight miles south of the City of Chandler in East Texas. This master teacher, a future U.S. Senator, insisted that all of his students learn the rudiments of number operations in order to logically solve math and conceptual problems systematically and intuitively. This particular teacher required daily class recitation and memorization of rudimentary conceptual and numerical facts, and required his students to stand and orally deliver.

In her equivalent of the fifth grade, my mom, Dessie, was given the task, at the age of 10, of solving the following math problem, which was basic to the agrarian requisites of a rural farming community in 1920. Some current educators and educational philosophers might say that what was basic to mathematical problem solving in 1920 is hardly applicable in a modern technological classroom of 21st Century fifth graders, but I totally disagree. The problem she was given went like this:

A farmer sold his crop for $100. After deducting 4/5’s of the amount for seed and fertilizer, what percent of the total amount was his net profit?

If the typical 21st Century American fifth grader, ending his fifth year, were given this very basic problem to solve in class with only a pencil and a clean sheet of paper (with no calculator) on his, or her, desk, would that random student, graduating into the sixth grade, be capable of solving it? Well, I have my doubts. Why? My mother taught me the multiplication tables (through the 12s) and fractions at home before I was eight years old, and she had only a sixth grade education. She made learning fun for me. Today, in the 21st Century world, very, very few high school and college educated parents spend time at home in the evenings, or on weekends, helping their children learn basic math, and most (75 percent) of all seventh graders in the public schools don’t know their multiplication tables by heart by the end of the seventh year of public education. That’s because pocket calculators have replaced rote mathematical leaning in the classroom, and multiple choice testing of young minds has replaced the requirement for paper and pencil calculations where students must show their step-by-step processes in computational solution.

In order to solve the above problem, the student must be able to understand fractions and divide numbers. The intuitive student, who understands how to multiply and divide, will say to himself, or herself, that 4/5’s of 100 is equal to $100 x 4/5, which equals $100 x 4 divided by 5, which equals $400/5, which equals $80. Now, the student looks again at the problem and says to himself, or herself, that the calculated $80 is the amount of money spent by the farmer for the seed and fertilizer. So, $100 – $80 equals $20 dollars, or the farmer’s net profit. Now, the student may solve the problem after determining that the net profit, $20, is a certain percentage of $100. So the student creates a basic equation, Percent = $20 divided by $100, or 20 Percent. As far as intuiting percentage, the 1922 fifth grader who understood fractions was logically capable of seeing that 100 percent of $100 is $100, so, logically, 10 percent of $100 is $10 and 20 percent of $100 is $20, and so on, for fractions and percentages go hand-in-hand.

A famed math and physics tutor, who was very successful over 25 years in helping high school and college students, who didn’t learn their fundamental number operations in elementary school, stated that the reason most 21st Century students in junior high, high school, junior college, and in universities have difficulty with basic and advanced algebra is simply because they cannot factor numbers; and not being able to factor comes from not knowing how to basically multiply and divide whole numbers and fractions. This is a poor statement for the validity of current public school education. Moreover, extending this criticism, I doubt very seriously if, even, two-out-of-ten random 21st Century American eighth graders could correctly solve the foregoing problem, solved by a typical 1920 fifth grader left alone with only pencil, paper, and his, or her, mind.

Going back to the old 1920 one-room schoolhouse approach to teaching might be just what the doctor ordered to heal the ailing public school systems. With master teachers who regard memorization, oral recitation, and comprehension of fundamental number and logic facts as vitally important in a student’s education, and caring parents who regularly spend time at home with their elementary school children, assisting them in learning the multiplication tables and how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide numbers, such a beneficial step back in time would be a breath of fresh air in a stale 21st Century America that calls systematic student regression and federal intervention into independent state education progress. Such a shameful, stagnate place, where public school children are not expected by society to properly develop and use their God-given reasoning faculties to intuitively solve mathematical and conceptual problems they will regularly encounter throughout life as adults, seems to be the America in which we now reside.

A Shift Towards Education Based Marketing, Emerging Standards For Online Product Videos

Just having video on your site is not enough to differentiate you. Video is no longer a novelty it has become an essential element of any site, especially an e-commerce site. Unfortunately, unless it is done right video can be irrelevant or can actually harm your brand. “Interruption” based marketing (the “TV commercial” variety of advertising) does not work effectively online. Many companies spend much time, effort and money getting their video ads in front of annoyed consumers instead of fully embracing internet technology and using their video to help the consumers and to gain their loyalty and trust. Videos that shift towards education based marketing are getting the competitive edge.

Emerging Standards and the Focus on the Consumer

Consumers need consistency and ease of navigation when they use online video to gather information, do product or service research, and look for answers to support questions. Consumers are no longer willing to invest time in watching online video if they are not assured – almost instantly – that it will be worth their time. The videos must also be presented in smaller, more manageable chapters to allow for random access and sharing of information.

To be valuable to a consumer a video must have some essential elements that are missing from so many online videos that companies are using to influence a consumer at the point of sale. Using these elements is an essential part of every education based video. It has to do with availability of video, answering the right questions, and addressing consumers’ level of awareness.

One of the biggest mistakes companies make is not taking advantage of online video as a tool to teach people and provide them with in depth support.They are so afraid that people have a short attention span, that they forget that this short attention span mostly applies to irrelevant information. When people do research they want more information, not less. Education based marketing is not about modifying your commercials to make them sound more “educational”. It is about providing in depth support, and making it easy for the consumer. If your company provides twice as much video support as the other company, you will be the logical choice for the consumer.

A. Availability of video

First, product videos must be readily and easily available not just at the point of sale, but anytime when consumers want to find that information, to share it, to do further research about a product, or to get help using that product. If you are only placing your product video at the point of sale, you might consider using it on your product support pages, or having a special area of the site dedicated to product videos. Post your video on other sites, and not just on the YouTube site. Try to think like a consumer: place your video in the most logical places where it can be easily found. Find as many places you can post your video as possible.

B. Answering the Right Questions

Second, the video has to answer the consumer’s basic questions about the product. Those questions are based on some fundamental marketing principles and must address the following:

1. Value proposition: What is the product? Who can use it and why (the target audience), and what problem does it solve for me?

2. Differentiation and key features: What are the basic features and functions? Can I have it my way (color, size, functions)?

3. Demonstrative validation: How can I use the product? Is it easy to use? What can I expect? Prove it – give me a demo!

We all have these questions when researching products, however, as consumers we come from different states of awareness when it comes to different products. Some of us don’t need an explanation of what an iPod or an iPad is, but if you think of baby boomers for a second, you will realize that to them it is all one big mystery box, and they need much more information before they realize that it can be a useful tool for them.

C. Addressing Consumer’s level of Awareness

The three fundamental questions (value proposition, differentiation, and demonstrative validation) must be answered based on the consumer’s level of awareness about a product. There must be consistency and a logical progression in the delivery of information, as well as the ability to randomly access a specific part of the video content in order to accommodate all the groups and not alienate any specific segment.

Consumers fall into 2 groups when it comes to their level of awareness about your product.

In the first group a consumer has no awareness about a product. In this case your video must educate, and the questions must be addressed in a logical progression starting with an introduction – an overview that tells them what the product does and outlines the value proposition, then moving on to the basic features – the segment of the video that shows the specific parts, features and functions, and what comes “in a box”, and finally the video needs to have a quick start – the “getting started” segment that walks consumers step by step and shows the product in action. This demonstrative validation is essential to reassure the consumer on one hand, and to reach a much broader base on the other. You cannot expect to have a baby boomer rush to buy a new smart phone by simply promising him or her that it is easy to use.

In the second group a consumer has some level of awareness and is familiar with a product. In this case the video must allow selective access to the information we have just mentioned above. They don’t want to see the introduction, but they might need to review the features of the product to make sure they are making the right choice. And of course they might be looking for more in depth instructions on how to use the product and would expect additional videos even beyond the simple quick start tutorial. It is no longer acceptable to force the consumer to sit through a long presentation that always starts with a value proposition that they might already know and don’t want to hear.

We must respect consumer’s level of awareness. But how do you talk to both groups using one video? You can’t. Unless you structure your video in a way that the parts we have mentioned above (value proposition, differentiation, and demonstrative validation) are not mixed together in random order, but are distinct and can be accessed individually. It means that your video must have these parts clearly separated. Make sure to have your video split into chapters or have a way to skip forward to a specific part of the video. Don’t let your viewers “drive blind”. Give them a way to navigate your content. Some players are chapter based, some have a way to jump to “cue points” that you can designate. If you only have one player or if use YouTube for all your videos, then you have to place multiple players on one page, or have links to the separate players. Make sure to label the videos correctly, so the viewers know exactly what each video will cover.

Education based marketing with video is easy when you put yourself into consumers’ shoes and try to answer the questions about your product as if you yourself had no prior knowledge of it. You don’t want to be insulted and tricked by videos designed simply to trap you into buying something, so why do it to your customers?! Education based marketing is much more fun and much more rewarding, and at the end everyone wins.