Numbers, Science with Bread, and Flour

Children are naturally little scientists. They are curious about the unknown and enjoy investigating new ideas. The class’s study of bread began at the same time seasonal illnesses peaked. To help teach the children the importance of hand washing, I used bread to illustrate how quickly germs spread. A perfect way to introduce the scientific method and have a good time learning! We discussed the proposed experiment and defined the vocabulary. The new terms that were explained were: control, hypothesize, and purpose. First, the class and I made the observation that germs are everywhere, that there are good and bad germs, and that we pass a lot of germs with our hands. Next we asked how quickly do germs on our hands spread? The class decided that the germs will spread fast on the bread that they were going to touch with dirty hands. The class took a vote, and we tallied the votes, to decide how long we are going to watch the bread; the conclusion was to watch the bread for a month. The experiment called for touching bread with clean and dirty hands then to put the bread in plastic baggies for observation. There were three slices total. One slice was the control, the slice that nothing happened to and would be used to compare, it was handled with a glove. The second slice, the “clean” slice, I put in the baggie with freshly cleaned hands. The third piece, the “dirty” slice, was passed around the class; their unwashed hands handled the slice and passed it from one child to the other. After the handling of the dirty slice, the children cleaned their hands. The goal of this experiment is to see that germs spread quicker on the slice of bread handled by dirty hands. Therefore, germs spread a lot faster when we do not wash our hands. Hopefully the take away from this experiment is we all need to keep our hands clean to minimize the spread of germs!

Since we have begun our bread study, I added flower in the sensory bin. I have never seen the class this excited about the sensory bin, and we have had some fun things in it this year. Sensory play enhances learning through hands-on activities that stimulate the child's senses. This is a great way for children to explore the world they live in and take the bread study to the next level. Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction.

Number (and letter) recognition take a lot of practice. Ideally, the children learn and review the numbers and letters in many different ways so as to anchor it in their memory. Many parents have asked me over the years for ways to help their child learn their numbers and letters. The biggest tip I can give is to review them out of order. Yes, learning the order is absolutely important, however, by reviewing and learning the number/letter out of order, you can see that the child is really focusing on the number/letter and not just rotely counting or singing a song. Sometimes the songs and rote memorization can distract the child from focusing on specific number or letter.

The numbers 11-20 tend to give this age group a hard time, I have seen it year in and year out. I devised a game to help teach the individual numbers and order of the numbers. It also gives me the opportunity to include a number line in the conversation. Each child received a number card, out of order, and I randomly called numbers 8-20. As I called the numbers the children had to look at their card to see if it was the number I called. If it was the one I called, they had to look at the students already in line and find their place. This hits several skills we are working on in a fun new way. One of the joys of teaching is seeing the excitement on students faces when a concepts clicks.

The semester is ramping up and we are looking forward to making memories and learning as much as possible!

Mrs. Claire

Claire Gordon