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EDUCATION REPORT - Ideas for Teaching Young Children - 2004-01-29

Broadcast: January 29, 2004

This is Steve Ember with the VOA Special English Education Report.

Experts say students are never too young to think creatively about science. Educator Karen Meador says early education can help children become creative science students later in life. Mizz Meador offers some suggestions for activities. She recently shared her ideas with Gifted Child Today Magazine.

For example, she describes how students between the ages of about four and eight can explore the movement of liquid on wax paper. The wax keeps the water from disappearing into the paper.

In addition to the wax paper, students need small tubes called eye droppers for the experiment. The students also need water containing red, yellow and blue food coloring. Using the eye droppers, they place the colored water onto the wax paper. Then they blow softly into the water. Or they can blow through a straw, a thin hollow tube, to move the water drops.

The students observe the tension on the surface. They see how it affects the way the water moves and shapes itself. Even when students blow the drops of water across the paper, the liquid keeps its round shape. Mizz Meador says the children like to see how the colors mix when one colored drop slides into another.

The shape and movement of the water is similar to that of mercury. But mercury is dangerous to handle.Mizz Meador also says children can study how water acts on aluminum foil. They can find out if the water will act the same on a metal surface as it did on wax paper. Before doing the new experiment, they can write their ideas about what they think will happen. Or they can record their ideas on tape. Mizz Meador says this activity prepares them for more difficult experiments.

The children again move the colored water around by blowing directly onto it or through or a straw. But this time they move it on the foil. Then they test their theories about how the water would act against what really took place. Similar experiments can be carried out with other kinds of paper or glass.

Karen Meador is writer of the book “Creative Thinking and Problem Solving for Young Learners,” published by Teacher Ideas Press.

This Special English Education Report was written by Jerilyn Watson. This is Steve Ember.