Welcome to our weekly blog post - Sharing the Storytime Joy! Today's post is by Pamela, who works with children and families at the Shawnee Branch Library.
Storytime is the perfect time to play with science. As part of background knowledge, science concepts and vocabulary help children understand the world around them, which helps them read with understanding when they are bigger.
Oh and did I mention it is fun?
Take snow, for example. I brought in some snow and measured its volume in a cup. I then posed the question:
“What will happen to the snow now that it is inside? What do you predict will happen?” (a prediction is a guess, based on prior knowledge.) Some children predicted the amount of snow would increase, or get bigger, while others predicted it would get smaller.
I thought that sharing some books on snow would give them some hints. We read an information book to give them some of the scientific information about how snow is formed in the sky.
It was impossible to pass up this classic, especially because Peter’s snowball disappears. (“What happened to the snowball?” I asked. “It melted,” they shouted.” But they didn’t make the connection between the snow in Peter’s pocket and the snow in the cup’s diminishing size.)
Midway through storytime, we checked on the snow.
And no! It wasn’t “getting bigger!” It was shrinking!
Next we shared “little books” which are multiple copies of one boardbook, perfect for little hands to hold, with most children having his or her own copy. We enjoyed reading this favorite, by Lois Ehlert.
By the end of storytime, our cup of snow had turned into something resembling an iceberg, floating in a body of water.
Yes, water! The children delighted in touching the water, and seemed to have been amazed by the entire process.
It was fun for me, and for them, to observe, predict, and then discuss what we had seen. Tying experiences to books expanded their understanding of some scientific ideas and processes, giving them a different way of understanding what exactly had happened to Peter’s snowball.