Science

Young children are naturally curious about the world around them. They are keen observers. They ask questions about how things work. They initiate their own experiments to determine how they can make things work differently.

At Sunshine Academy, we build on children’s natural curiosity by introducing them to a broad range of materials with different colors, textures, shapes, smells, and sounds and helping them learn to observe, describe and experience them. As the children gain experience, we help them compare, predict, test and revisit predictions. We emphasize life sciences (gardening, farm and zoo animals, fish and marine life, insects), earth science (weather, seasons, water), and engineering (blocks, lenses and light). In addition to our class materials, we use our aquarium and outdoor classroom for our science curriculum.

LEARNING EXPECTATIONS EXAMPLE ACTIVITY

Explore a variety of materials of different sizes, shapes, textures, smells

  • Paint on different texture materials such as sandpaper, wax paper, aluminum foil, rocks, and with different materials such as brushes, foam rollers, sticks, string, play cars, ice cubes
  • Use contact paper to make collages with different materials such as feathers, foam shapes, leaves
  • Explore water, leaves, sand, hay, tree bark and other materials in the sensory table

Use all five senses to observe materials and objects

  • Do taste tests of different foods to explore sour (pickles, lemon), salty (crackers, pretzels), sweet (orange slices), bitter (horseradish)
  • Guess different materials from their smell
  • Make texture drawings and texture books
  • Do listening walks, imitate sounds from nature
  • Observe natural materials (leaves, sea shells, flowers) and art materials (playdough, goop, flubber)

Identify and use simple tools for observation

  • Use a magnifying glass to observe soil
  • Make pinwheels and kites to observe wind
  • Use color palettes to observe and discuss light

Design simple experiments to test ideas

  • Explore toys that spin, squeak, pop-up, roll
  • Freeze water into ice, watch it melt
  • Build ramps of different lengths and roll balls or cars of different sizes down them
  • Design simple “sink or float” experiments
  • Build block structures and discuss which is bigger, longer, heavier, more stable and why

Develop an appreciation for the natural world

  • Grow plants and flowers in the outdoor classroom; observe their seasonal changes
  • Feed and observe the aquarium fish
  • Observe and discuss life cycles of butterflies, frogs, birds

Learn about the earth and weather

  • Observe the weather, seasonal changes, sunlight and shadows during outdoor time
  • Make collages of different seasons
LEARNING EXPECTATIONS EXAMPLE ACTIVITY

Gain an introduction to scientific observation

  • Draw items from nature (leaves, shells, fish)
  • Discuss how to use all five senses to observe (e.g., texture drawings, taste and smell tests)
  • Design simple experiments (e.g., balls down ramps of different lengths); test predictions
  • Revisit experiments with new variations

Learn to use descriptive and comparative words to discuss the properties of objects and their relationships

  • Observe water in solid, liquid and gas form
  • Use balance scales to weigh objects; discuss which are heavier and why
  • Design simple “sink or float” experiments
  • Build block structures and discuss which is bigger, longer, heavier, more stable and why
  • Make, use and describe flubber, goop, dough

Identify and use simple tools for observation

  • Use a magnifying glass to observe soil
  • Blow bubbles with a straw into liquids
  • Make pinwheels and kites to observe wind
  • Use color palettes to observe and discuss light

Learn to use surveys, maps and charts to record observations and comparisons

  • Make a chart to compare hair color, eye color, height, or family members among classmates
  • Chart how many days of sun, rain, clouds and snow
  • Draw maps of the classroom, the parks, the neighborhood

Learn to use estimation in meaningful ways

  • Estimate and test the length of the classroom, the distance to a park, the volume of a jar and other containers
  • Estimate and then count the time (in seconds) to clean up activities or settle for circle time

Develop an appreciation for the natural world

  • Grow plants and flowers in the outdoor classroom; observe their seasonal changes
  • Feed and observe the aquarium fish
  • Observe and discuss life cycles of butterflies, frogs, birds

Learn about the earth and space

  • Observe the weather, seasonal changes, sunlight and shadows during outdoor time
  • Discuss the planets, stars, solar system
+ Infants & Toddlers
LEARNING EXPECTATIONS EXAMPLE ACTIVITY

Explore a variety of materials of different sizes, shapes, textures, smells

  • Paint on different texture materials such as sandpaper, wax paper, aluminum foil, rocks, and with different materials such as brushes, foam rollers, sticks, string, play cars, ice cubes
  • Use contact paper to make collages with different materials such as feathers, foam shapes, leaves
  • Explore water, leaves, sand, hay, tree bark and other materials in the sensory table

Use all five senses to observe materials and objects

  • Do taste tests of different foods to explore sour (pickles, lemon), salty (crackers, pretzels), sweet (orange slices), bitter (horseradish)
  • Guess different materials from their smell
  • Make texture drawings and texture books
  • Do listening walks, imitate sounds from nature
  • Observe natural materials (leaves, sea shells, flowers) and art materials (playdough, goop, flubber)

Identify and use simple tools for observation

  • Use a magnifying glass to observe soil
  • Make pinwheels and kites to observe wind
  • Use color palettes to observe and discuss light

Design simple experiments to test ideas

  • Explore toys that spin, squeak, pop-up, roll
  • Freeze water into ice, watch it melt
  • Build ramps of different lengths and roll balls or cars of different sizes down them
  • Design simple “sink or float” experiments
  • Build block structures and discuss which is bigger, longer, heavier, more stable and why

Develop an appreciation for the natural world

  • Grow plants and flowers in the outdoor classroom; observe their seasonal changes
  • Feed and observe the aquarium fish
  • Observe and discuss life cycles of butterflies, frogs, birds

Learn about the earth and weather

  • Observe the weather, seasonal changes, sunlight and shadows during outdoor time
  • Make collages of different seasons
+ Preschool & Pre-K
LEARNING EXPECTATIONS EXAMPLE ACTIVITY

Gain an introduction to scientific observation

  • Draw items from nature (leaves, shells, fish)
  • Discuss how to use all five senses to observe (e.g., texture drawings, taste and smell tests)
  • Design simple experiments (e.g., balls down ramps of different lengths); test predictions
  • Revisit experiments with new variations

Learn to use descriptive and comparative words to discuss the properties of objects and their relationships

  • Observe water in solid, liquid and gas form
  • Use balance scales to weigh objects; discuss which are heavier and why
  • Design simple “sink or float” experiments
  • Build block structures and discuss which is bigger, longer, heavier, more stable and why
  • Make, use and describe flubber, goop, dough

Identify and use simple tools for observation

  • Use a magnifying glass to observe soil
  • Blow bubbles with a straw into liquids
  • Make pinwheels and kites to observe wind
  • Use color palettes to observe and discuss light

Learn to use surveys, maps and charts to record observations and comparisons

  • Make a chart to compare hair color, eye color, height, or family members among classmates
  • Chart how many days of sun, rain, clouds and snow
  • Draw maps of the classroom, the parks, the neighborhood

Learn to use estimation in meaningful ways

  • Estimate and test the length of the classroom, the distance to a park, the volume of a jar and other containers
  • Estimate and then count the time (in seconds) to clean up activities or settle for circle time

Develop an appreciation for the natural world

  • Grow plants and flowers in the outdoor classroom; observe their seasonal changes
  • Feed and observe the aquarium fish
  • Observe and discuss life cycles of butterflies, frogs, birds

Learn about the earth and space

  • Observe the weather, seasonal changes, sunlight and shadows during outdoor time
  • Discuss the planets, stars, solar system

Sunshine Academy

Coolidge Corner North:
617-232-6600

Coolidge Corner South:
617-264-4404

Washington Square:
617-734-5250