How to set up and organize a Science Center in your preschool, pre-k, Head Start or kindergarten classroom.
Why should I include a science center in my classroom?
For preschoolers, daily life IS science. Research indicates that all children can learn science and should have the opportunity to become scientifically literate as early as possible. Effective science learning requires hands-on contact with materials, time to investigate and manipulate those materials and time to contemplate the results. In order for scientific learning to happen, we must introduce children to science in the classroom at an early age. Many of us remember science as a boring subject in grade school involving lots of memorization, however, we are now beginning to see science as a way of thinking and trying to understand the world. Researchers now realize that active, hands-on learning provides the most meaningful and relevant learning experiences for children.
Some of the items included in the science center:
Two boxes of non-fiction books are available for students to read. They also enjoy looking at Zoobooks, Ranger Rick, and other science magazines.
Science Sound Shakers
I made these sound shakers using dime storage tubes and an ice cube tray, you can find the directions and a free printable recording sheet HERE.
Listening to Sounds FREE Printable Activity
You can read more about the Listening to Sounds activity and download the free printable at PreschoolSpot HERE.
Plastic Safety Test Tubes
I used these Plastic Jumbo Test Tubes to create some of my discovery bottles.
Science Discovery Bottles
I found the protective goggles at the local Dollar Store, the students love to wear them and pretend they are real scientists. See the resources section at the bottom of this page for links to discovery bottle recipes.
Science Magnifying Board
You can make your own inexpensive magnifying board using the directions found HERE.
Science Magnetic Board
You can make your own magnet board using inexpensive items, the directions and a free printable recording sheet can be found HERE. Children run the attached magnet wand over the surface of the board and objects like paper clips are attracted to the magnet while rocks and erasers stay put. Kids love predicting the outcome and exploring magnetism via hands on learning.
Science Smelly Bottles
I used Ozarka Aqua Pod bottles with sports caps to create these scented bottles, you can read more about it on the blog HERE. See the resources section at the bottom of this page for discovery bottle recipes.
Science Texture Boards
Find out how to make your own texture board for one dollar HERE.
Learn how to make your own inexpensive safety mirrors on the blog HERE.
View Masters and Mini-Binoculars
Children love to look at pictures in the view master or the world around them with binoculars. I found all of my View Masters at Garage Sales or Thrift Stores for less than $1 each. You can buy science related View Master reels at stores like Wal Mart and Target. The mini-folding binoculars are super durable and the perfect size for little ones, see link below.
Another popular item with the boys, you can find cheap plastic bugs, snakes, turtles, and sea creatures at the dollar store. They love to examine these under the magnifying glasses and sort them by species.
Science Observation Notebook FREE Printable
Printable science observation notebooks. Print one per child, assemble, and place in the science center for students to record their observations of science experiments or things that are living or growing. Click on the picture above to download the printable Science Observation Notebook.
Scientist of the Day FREE Printable
You can download a copy of the Scientist of the Day sign and read about how to incorporate this concept into your classroom on the blog HERE.
What types of materials should I include in a science center?
- Discovery Bottles
- Magnetic Wand
- Mini Folding Binoculars
- Color Paddles
- Books about science (see links at top of page)
- Things children can use their senses with: things they can smell, touch, hear, and see
- Nature: grow plants, sprout a sweet potato in a clear container, have a class pet like a fish or a Hermit Crab
- Science related puzzles (Lakeshore)
- Tornado Tube
- Safety Goggles
- Bug Jars
More Centers from Pre-K Pages
- Dr. Jean
- Marcia’s Lesson Links
- Steve Spangler Science
- Teachers.net science bottles 1
- Teachers.net science bottles 2