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October 1, 2004

3-Year-Olds Learning the Scientific Method

Johanna, my 3-year-old daughter is learning the scientific method. She recently started preschool at the local Montessori school. After looking at a few schools we decided the Montessori had a great balance of fun, social and learning activities. She's been going for three weeks now and brought home some handouts yesterday about the scientific method that caught my eye. Apparently they are learning using apples in some experiments.

Research: look up recipes

Hypothesis: cooking apples is necessary to make applesauce

Materials: gather apples, sugar, cinnamon and tools

Method: choose a recipe, prepare a group of apples that will be cooked and a control group of apples that will not be cooked

Observation: watch what happens to the cooked apples and compare with the apples not being cooked

Results: Cooking apples turns them into applesauce

The more amazing part of this is my conversation with Jo this morning after reading the handout.
Me: Jo, is cooking apples necessary to make applesauce?
Jo: Yes
Me: How did you learn that?
Jo: Mrs. Hanley made two buckets of apples, a blue bucket and a purple bucket. The apples in the purple bucket got cooked. When they cooked they got soft and turned into applesauce.
Me: What color was the bucket with the uncooked apples?
Jo: Blue
Me: What happened to the apples in the blue bucket?
Jo: They didn't turn into applesauce.
Perhaps it's not revolutionary, but it has me thinking about when I first learned the scientific method and how a 3-year old processes experiments like this. Also made me excited for parent-teacher meetings to hear how Jo is responding to this stuff in class.

Posted by mike at October 1, 2004 7:37 AM