We started our Ice Castle unit this week! We were excited to dive into winter projects. The children returned to school on Monday with a Christmas tree and new toys on the shelves to go along with our new theme. They have been busy making ornaments for the tree, a special gift for their parents, and learning all about ice and snow this week. I have used Experience Early Learning Curriculum for the past seven years and was excited to see a brand new theme this year!
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We started off our week with a science experiment! We will be experimenting a lot this month. Our first topic was Snowflake, and our Snowstorm in a Jar science experiment paired perfectly with our first topic from our Ice Castle unit with Experience Curriculum. I found this idea on Pinterest from One Little Project. I have attached the link to this experiment in case anyone wants to do it with their little ones! We needed a mason jar, iridescent glitter, baby oil, water, white paint, and alka seltzer. The children learned that oil and water cannot mix, and that water is more dense than oil!
We filled our jar 2/3 of the way with baby oil, mixed white paint and water and then poured the water in with the oil. The children took turns mixing the paint and water and adding the glitter to the jar, then predicting what they thought would happen. The children loved watching the water sink through the oil and settle at the bottom because the water was added last! They first thought that the water would stay on top of the oil, not the other way around. This was a great lesson in density. We broke up the alka seltzer, added a few pieces in, and watched as the white water bubbled up through the oil making a snowstorm. They learned that the alka seltzer has baking soda and citric acid in it and when those mix with water they form bubbles of carbon dioxide which rise up through the oil to the surface. They continued to watch as the carbon dioxide was released into the air and the remaining water fell back down through the oil. We created a perfect snowstorm!
While we were learning about snowflakes they learned that no two snowflakes are alike, that they are all different and unique - just like them! During the second day of our Ice Castle unit we learned about snowmen! There was a fun winter-themed literacy activity with this lesson, Snowman Names. I wrote the letters of their name on white circles and they practiced putting their name together. Experience Curriculum saved me a lot of time by providing the white circles that we needed to compete their snowmen. We practiced sounding out the letters in their name to help them figure out which letter came next. They built a snowman when their name was complete! We practiced several literacy skills with Snowman Names, like letter recognition, letter sounds, and how to spell their name. If you are looking for a fun preschool activity to help with name-building this is a great winter-themed one.
We completed another science experiment this week involving salt, ice, and liquid watercolor. I let me preschoolers conduct their own experiment with this one! I gave them a few ice cubes and some salt to start out and they made predictions on what they thought the salt would do to the ice. We learned that salt can melt ice. They watched the salt dissolve in the water. When salt is added to ice, it first dissolves in the film of liquid water that is always present on the surface. I had the children touch their ice cubes to see if they could feel the liquid water present on the surface of their ice cubes before adding the salt. When the ice was in contact with the salt it began to melt, creating more liquid water, which ended up dissolving more salt. I then gave them liquid watercolor and they began painting their ice cubes. I kept hearing "The ice is cracking!" and as they painted the ice with the liquid watercolor their ice continued to crack and melt.
My preschoolers are loving this theme! Stay tuned next week as we begin to explore the Alpine Tundra!