I had been looking at great photos of science centers in classrooms and wanted to start off the year with some interesting things in mine. Thinking of how to gather a selection of various objects with everything else I was trying to set up in my room got me thinking. I also wanted a connection to the children coming in for their first day to ease nervousness and give them a sense of ownership of their classroom. I combined these two needs in to one, and ended up with a fantastic science center.
I wrote a note to each family asking the children to bring in an object from nature for our science center on their first day. This way when the children arrived, they immediately had something concrete to show me and we had a conversation piece. The parents and children enjoyed finding and talking about what to bring in.
Some children brought something found on a summer vacation; others went in to backyards or on walks to find something, while others chose an object from a treasured collection.
We received shells, rocks, flowers, feathers, tree bark, insects, a bird house and more. The children have been enjoying looking at them with magnifying glasses. It has been a nice connection point for the children as well as they are the expert on their particular piece and can “teach” the others about it. We plan on sharing them this week now that we have settled into our routine a bit.