Take a walk down WMS's Aspen Wing corridor, and you may be surprised to find toddlers engaged in science and technology lessons. They're not exactly using Bunsen burners or learning Python programming, but they are getting their earliest exposure to science and technology through dissecting foods, learning about life cycles in nature and coding using the Bee-Bot robot.
Room 6, led by teachers Kirsti Forrest and Hillary McDonald, is one Toddler classroom embracing seasonal food and nature science. The toddlers began the school year learning about apples. They made observations about the apples' different colors and predicted what color the apples would be on the inside based on their outside color, which introduced toddlers to some basic steps of the scientific method. Students then helped cut open the apples with apple corer/slicers and studied their various parts. To reinforce their understanding of the apple parts, they put together an apple puzzle, and later learned how they could turn their apples into applesauce.
This month, Room 6 will repeat this lesson with a pumpkin. They will discuss the parts of the pumpkin - the stem, pulp, skin and seeds - and the children will have a chance to scoop out the seeds and later eat the roasted seeds.
Room 6 students have also been busy learning about farm animals and the life cycle of a chicken. Using music, videos and story stones, the children are becoming familiar with the names of various animals and their sounds. They have also been discussing how chickens grow, from egg to hatchling to chick to chicken, and peeled hard-boiled eggs (while honing their fine motor skills) earlier this week. Kirsti and Hillary plan to use Bee-Bot, a robot that advances to points on a mat based on directional coding, to reinforce students' understanding of how things grow and move through life cycles once the children become familiar with Bee-Bot through the Maker (STEAM) Studio.
In the spring, Room 6 students will revisit life cycles when they watch caterpillars form chrysalises and turn into butterflies, and learn how honey is made by honeybees.