Using Early Childhood Literature to Engage Kindergarteners with their Physical World

 When it comes to professional learning in science education there’s no better place to go than the NSTA regional and national conferences. This was proven to me yet again when I sat in on a seminar run by Ruth Ruud and NSTA president, Juliana Texley modeling how she would use top notch illustrated trade books as a driver for a forces unit at the kindergarten level.

Recommended reads for kindergarten classes studying pushes and pulls!

Introducing physics to primary levels students is full of potential pitfalls. Texley’s frustrations with this stem most from playing a balancing act between keeping scientific concepts simple and avoiding the passage of false information. While few literary works are written for such a young audience that integrate physical science concepts, Texley shared a few titles that make the grade.

A common thread in all of these works is an emphasis on doing or modeling scientific work. Across the nation as science grapples for time with ELA and math common core juggernauts, more and more science is expected to be learned simply by reading about the content of interest.

This is in direct contrast to the expectations being brought forth by the Next Generation Science Standards for students to engage in rich activities that support student growth in the science skills or practices. For each title she introduced, Texley shared a foundational experiment that any early childhood teacher of could perform in their classroom (or on their playground!)

The recommended trade-books Juliana highlighted were as follows:

For Texley and Ruud’s powerpoint presentation visit the NSTA conference site here.

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About MrMusselman

K-5 Science Specialist for the Burlington Public Schools of Burlington, MA.
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