Friday, April 1, 2022

The Science Lab

It's not at all a playground, it's a science lab! 

The children helped pull shotweed, purple dead nettles, dandelions, and California poppies to make space for fresh soil and new plants. 

We discussed the parts of the plant, and the children talked about what they thought the purpose was for each part. 

They used the weeds to decorate the little house, now referred to as the science lab, they also decorated the table, now called the science table, where they discussed why the shotweed started to wilt. They discussed that the weeds were wilting due to the lack of water. 

They also discovered a mollusk, which beautifully displayed the Fibonacci spiral, and noticed its eye stocks and muscular foot. We observed how quickly the animal moved and realized it had an important job to do - to help break down the weeds! 

The conversations were as priceless as their observations, and they seemed to move non-stop from one place to another. 

Everyone was involved and engaged! 

It was quite a spring day in the outdoor science lab!  

Monday, March 21, 2022


The Fibonacci sequence is a sequence of numbers in which each number in the sequence is equal to the sum of the two numbers before it. Starting with 0 and 1, this sequence is a wonderful way to introduce and practice concepts such as patterning, addition, building sets or multiplying, and squaring. 

Within these golden rectangles, you can see these numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, and 8 squared.

The sequence naturally occurs in plants and animals, such as fiddleheads, snails, moon snails, and cherry blossoms. 

During recess, the children look for spiral shapes in nature. 

0,1,1,2,5,8,13,21... ask your child what comes next? 



STEAM time continues to be a daily activity in the pre-k classroom. During STEAM time, the children choose from a variety of activities that satisfy their gross and fine motor skills, as well as their math, engineering, art, and science skills. Along with these individualized activities, children have the opportunity to move freely around the room, get creative, and socialize.

While one child might be working on percentages and addition with a bead frame into the thousands, others might be working with base ten blocks, geo boards, or using measuring tools.

You might see children measuring with rulers and comparing objects, using the language of the discipline: taller, shorter, wider, thinner. 

Somewhere else in the classroom a group might be collaborating on a racetrack, designing ramps and cars that move on the track using gravity.

You might see children designing unicorns on the geoboards.

Here is a child who chose double digit addition using the base ten blocks while celebrating the 100th day of school! 



Animal Classification

Pre-k is classifying animals. I placed several plastic animals on the children's tables and I asked them to simply sort and  classify them. After they discussed with their group how they sorted their animals, we discussed vertebrates and invertebrates. Once they discovered that all of the animals on the table were vertebrates, we continued to sort the vertebrates into new groups: mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds.

The children discovered that some animals were trickier than others to classify, such as platypuses, bats, and ptarmigans.  

I asked them inquiry questions: where does each animal belong? What makes you think so? Discuss what you think with your group.

They seemed to have tremendous fun working together and discussing their thoughts and ideas.


Thursday, February 17, 2022

Lunar New Year

The pre-k children have been studying moon phases, the lunar calendar, and celebrating the Lunar New Year, with a focus on calligraphy, traditional stories, and cultural symbols such as dragons, lions, lanterns, the color red, and pagodas. 

The children have been tracking February's moon phases using the Almanac, as seen from Tacoma. We attempted to recreate the phases with a small sphere representing Moon, a globe representing Earth, and a flashlight representing our Sun. We discussed the connection between festivals, celebrations, and the moon's phases.

"The New Moon!"

We discussed dragon and lion dances and their significance. I gave them the STEM challenge: build a lion using STEM materials. 

We took the opportunity to study some of the Chinese culture through folklore, learned some Chinese phrases, practiced counting to 10 in Chinese, and we even dabbled in calligraphy using one of my favorite books, Long is a Dragon, by Peggy Goldstein, for guidance. 

We first worked with markers then moved on to more traditional paintbrushes. 

We wrapped up the lunar celebration with red lanterns and building pagodas. The children were given the STEAM challenge: build a pagoda with materials available to you. We discussed the traditional tiered designs and the children used words such as decks, layers, floors, and stacking to describe their structures. I think they did an outstanding job of meeting the challenge! 

We also discussed Moon Bridges, which this crew incorporated into their structure. 

                                                           Xin Nian Kuai le! Gōng xǐ! 

The Science Lab

It's not at all a playground, it's a science lab!  The children helped pull shotweed, purple dead nettles, dandelions, and Californi...