During free play a few weeks ago I was sitting at a table with 4 young children examining rocks and shells with magnifying glasses. The conversation went like this:
Girl: What’s this?
Her sister: A chambered Nautilus.
Boy: (examining the ridges of another shell) This looks like a road!
Another Boy: This rock smells like green beans!
One 4-year-old wanted to take home the smooth shell she was holding, rubbing it gently against her cheek. Instead she drew a picture, first tracing then coloring the shell. She showed it to her table-mates.
“We’re being scientists!” she pronounced. And this was so: the children were using their senses of smell, touch and sight, taking field notes and drawing what they saw. This is preschool science.