Four Year Old Program Curriculum
Each month a different science theme will be studied, allowing the students the opportunity to explore, discover and create from the knowledge they gain. Each student maintains a science discovery journal to keep records of their observations and discoveries.
September Insects- Through observation and exploration of a variety of insects the students discover how to identify an insect by counting its legs and body parts. They compare insect mouthparts to discover what each insect eats and they observe insects to see how they move and protect themselves. Students are introduced to the idea of metamorphosis by observing the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. Camouflage is introduced through I Spy activities and hide-and-seek games.
October Trees/Leaves and Forestry- Students identify the parts of a tree and learn the function of each of its parts. They discover the importance of seeds as they investigate the life cycle of a tree. Students investigate, sort and compare various leaves and learn to identify local trees by their leaves and bark. Students observe a tree and marvel at the changes that each season brings. They learn to appreciate the forest as they discover the abundance of life that counts on it for survival.
November Ecology/Caring for the Planet- Students experiment with various pollutants to see the harmful effects they have on our ecosystem. They investigate the plight of endangered species and what they can do to help raise awareness. The students sort trash, practice conservation and make interesting use of discarded materials as they investigate the three R’s of ecology-reduce, recycle and reuse.
December Simple Machines- Students explore the workings of various toys and gadgets to discover the simple machines that enable them to make work easier. They explore ramps, pulleys, wedges, levers and wheels and axels. They utilize simple machines in the classroom to complete a variety of tasks. Using the classroom recycling center they create their own machines and vehicles.
January Astronomy/Planets/Solar system- Students design a map of our solar system and then take a “journey” to each of the planets to determine if life could exist on any other planets. As they encounter storms, poisonous gases, freezing and boiling temperatures, they discover that the only planet that can sustain life is the earth. They come to realize the value of our natural resources and how important it is to care for them. They learn about the excitement of space travel and the thrill of observing the night time sky and all of its wonders.
February Human Body/Similarities & Differences to the Animal World -Students learn the various systems of the body and how to take care of their bodies to keep the systems operating in a healthy manner. They explore the bones of various animals and compare them to their own. They learn the importance of healthy eating and how the digestive system works. They become familiar with the scat of various animals and learn to identify the animal by what it has eaten.
March Birds- Students use binoculars and field guides to become bird watchers and learn to identify the birds that are common to our area. They work in cooperative learning groups to research a native bird. Together they investigate how to build the bird’s nest and use natural materials to build one themselves. They learn to look at the bird’s beak to identify how the bird catches its food and what the bird likes to eat. At the conclusion of the unit, each group presents their findings to the parents and Museum staff at the Bird Presentation.
April Life Cycles- Students learn about the life cycle of various animals through observation, stories and explorations into the woods and fields. They observe the development of worms, beetles, butterflies and frogs inside the classroom. They discover which animals are born and which hatch from eggs and become experts at identifying oviparous animals. They are witness to mating rituals as they explore the fields, woods and ponds at the Outdoor Discovery Center and observe birds, toads, frogs and snakes involved in the rituals of mating.
May Planting- Students investigate seeds, sorting them according to different variables. They perform experiments to determine what a plant needs to grow. During excursions to the fields and gardens at the Museum students observe butterflies and bees feasting on flowers, discovering the wonder of pollination first hand. The students start plants inside and transplant them into a butterfly garden at the Museum. They identify and press wildflowers and dissect flowers to investigate the seed making parts. They discover which critters are friends to the garden and how to naturally deal with pests and weeds.
June Pond & River Explorations- The students use what they have discovered throughout the year to explore ponds and wetlands. They encounter water insects, birds and plants and try to identify them using what they have learned and various field guides. They compare the animal and plant life of the pond to that of the river and stream. They come to appreciate the beauty of the ponds, streams, wetlands and rivers.