"Play is the highest form of research" – Albert Einstein
Orlando Science Center’s mission of inspiring science learning for life applies to even our youngest scientists! You may be all too familiar with the dreaded ‘Why?’ stage of childhood and the under seven crowd are certainly capable of asking some real head-scratchers. We know that children have a natural curiosity, and nurturing that love of learning can help set them on a path for success.
In our early childhood exhibit, KidsTown, there are lessons to be learned everywhere. Here, we’ll explore some discussion topics that you can use to enhance the educational impact of your KidsTown visit. Even if you don’t know the exact answer to all of those inevitable ‘Why?’ questions, it’s valuable to talk about possibilities together. Children will see that, while grownups don’t have all the answers, you both can learn more about the world we live in.
Here are some conversation starters for your time in KidsTown:
- At the sorting station, sort ripe and unripe oranges. How many ripe (orange) oranges do you count? How many unripe (green) oranges do you count? Are there more ripe or unripe oranges in our Orange Grove?
- At the packing station, you can pull one lever at a time to move the oranges up the ramp. What do you think will happen if you pull two levers at once? What happens if you pull three or more at once? What do you notice?
- The plants that we eat need a few things to grow big and healthy – can you think of anything that’s important for plants in a farm or garden to have? What do you think would happen if the plants didn’t have those things?
- Your heart does an important job in your body. Do you know what job your heart does?
- Test your heart rate. What do you think will happen to your heartbeat as you climb and play?
- Do you notice any differences in how your body feels after playing or working hard? Test your heart rate again – is anything different?
- Think about the job your heart does. Why do you think your heart rate is different now?
- Use the blue panels to create a path for the water. If we make a thin pathway, do you think the water will flow faster or slower? What if we make a wide pathway?
- How do you think we can get the water to flow in a different direction? Are there any tools we can use? Let’s try that together and see what happens!
- I’m noticing that some of the toys in this area float, and others sink. I wonder why that is. What do you think?