Child Development Tracker: Science From Age 4 to 5
Four-year-olds approach the world with great curiosity and use their imaginations to help understand it. Hands-on explorations help them to separate reality from fantasy. They can participate in the planning and implementation of simple scientific investigations, and over the course of the year, will increase their abilities to make observations, gather information, compare data, identify patterns, describe and discuss observations, and form explanations and generalizations.
- Continues to use exploration as an important means of learning. Is able to help plan and implement simple investigations to answer questions about how, why, and what if?
- Increases ability to observe and discuss common properties, differences, and comparisons among objects and materials. Can identify and sort by multiple properties (e.g., size, color, shape, function). Continues to use simple tools, gathering increasingly detailed information. May begin to use ruler or yard stick to measure length.
- Improves ability to record information through representational drawings by adding more details (e.g., long and short antennae on the snail). Can also contribute to adult-made charts and graphs (e.g., pointing out or drawing pictures of items that sink or float).
- Readily draws from past experiences to describe and discuss observations, and then form explanations and generalizations. Begins to compare data from multiple sources to see patterns (e.g., child may say, "Worms live in dirt. I have seen them in the ground at home and at school.") Notices form and function relationships (e.g., the columns on a building help to support the roof).
- Shares observations and ideas easily in conversation. May need some adult prompting to provide essential details, or may include a lot of unnecessary details.
- Engages cooperatively in planned investigations. Can contribute ideas to the planning of an investigation and work with others to carry out the plans (e.g., figuring out how to move water from a bucket on the floor up into the water table using a plastic hose).
Reprinted with the permission of PBS. © PBS 2003 - 2008, all rights reserved.
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