ICS Early Years Center Blog

Inter-Community School Zurich, Switzerland

June 2, 2013
by Heidi Harman
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Learning About Mathematics and Science Through Cooking

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Cooking is always a popular learning experience for our Early Years students. Not only is it a fun activity where we get to eat and enjoy what we have made, but it is also a wonderful way to learn some mathematical and scientific concepts and skills.

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As we read the recipe together, we do a lot of counting out loud. We count how many people we are cooking for, how many items are on our list of ingredients and how many spoons, cups etc. of each item we need. The children are also involved in measuring out the ingredients., whether it be spooning them out or placing them on the weighing scales. We use mathematical language, such as ‘more‘ and ‘less‘, which when used in context, helps the children gain a better understanding of these terms.

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Each cooking lesson is like a science experiment. Solids sometimes become liquid if we heat them or mix them with other ingredients and vice versa. We also like to make predictions as to what we think may happen when we add or combine ingredients. We experiment and learn together. Some of our experiments work out and taste better than others, but the whole cooking experience is usually a happy one where everyone is involved.

Participating in these real life maths and science experiences helps the children to learn in a meaningful way.

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May 6, 2013
by Heidi Harman
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Encouraging and Supporting Children’s Individual Inquiries

Supporting Our Personal Inquiries and Wonderings — Cracks in the mud inquiry

In the Primary Years Programme, we believe that optimal learning takes place when it is genuinely connected to the world around an individual student. Acquisition of both knowledge and skills and the search for meaning and understanding are most successful when done in relevant contexts.

Edward, Karson, Daniel, Villum and William found some cracks in the ground and wondered how they got there.

 

Karson, “there must be some pipes under the ground, and they’re getting bigger, so the ground is opening up”.

Edward, “no, there is something bad under there and it wants us to fall in”.

Daniel, “I think someone has been digging. Come, look. There is mud under the cracks. Maybe someone used their nails”.

Mrs. Harman is wondering if the ground is dry and that is why the cracks are there. Maybe if it had rained, the cracks wouldn’t be there? Karson has the idea to put water on the cracks to see if they stay or go away. Karson and Villum went to fetch the jugs of water while Edward, Daniel and William guarded the cracks in the earth. Karson and Villum poured water onto the cracks and we all noticed the cracks begin to disappear!

We could make the cracks disappear even faster by rubbing our fingers over them.

Edward began digging with his stick once the earth became wet mud and decided to dig for treasure.

He says he will continue to keep digging every day until he finds the treasure.

Edward, “we need to put lights on our hats so we can see when we go down”.

Karson, “when we see an X on a treasure map, that is where the treasure is”.

The children  felt inspired  to create treasure maps to help them find the ‘Diamond Castle’ under the cracks.

 

The cracks remain a source of inquiry to us. Why are they only located in this part of the playground at the top of the slope under a tree and nowhere else in the playground? This led to discussions about shelter from the rain and where rain water goes.

Collaborative Problem Solving – Water Play

March 18, 2013 by Heidi Harman | 0 comments

Water play is a daily learning experience available to our EY1 students. It fosters creative learning in all areas of their development and, because it is such an open-ended activity, it provides opportunities for extended learning. Providing a variety of materials with the water encourages the children to try out new ideas and find solutions to problems.

    

We posed a challenge for the children, which was to transfer the coloured water from the water tray in the upstairs classroom to a large bucket located down on the stairs. As the children began to manipulate the water play materials, they quickly started to problem-solve and work out how best to transfer the water. The children were incredibly creative with their ideas about how to move the water. They communicated well and worked together to achieve their goal. Their encouragement of each other was truly inspirational! The children were experimenting with mathematical concepts throughout this learning experience and were using mathematical language such as more, less, empty, full etc. New vocabulary was also quickly learnt and it was wonderful to hear words such as funnel, syringe and tubing being used so confidently.

It was delightful to see our students further developing their social skills as they played cooperatively, negotiated together and shared space and materials!

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