Kindergarten Visit

I recently visited my daughters Kindergarten class. How to introduce physics to kids in kindergarten?

I'm not an expert, but I'll write down my experience so I have something to build off next time. This is a very fun and rewarding way to spend 20 minutes!

Get yourself in the right frame of mind:

  1. Kids know a lot.
  2. Kids like to share and participate.
  3. Kids like to move around.

Preparation: Use a color printer to print out big copies of these 4 images. Some solid color t-shirts (red, orange, green, blue) are also useful for explaining a rainbow.

The Sun. Thermodynamics question: How hot is the sun? How do physicists figure that out?
Rainbow. Optics question: Where do all the colors come from?
Galaxy. Astrophysics question: Is the galaxy spinning? Which way? How do physicist figure that out?
Atoms. Nanophysics question: Atoms are too small to see, so how can we take pictures of them?

General introduction: “Physics is about how things move, bounce off each other and stick to each other.”

Show the pictures one at a time. “Examples of things that physicists study”, class participation: “What is this picture showing?”

Biggest to smallest: Four volunteers hold the four pictures. Class figures out that Galaxy is biggest and atoms are smallest. Hold the pictures in the correct order.

While the kids hold up the pictures. Give the class a chance to answer the four physics questions. I was surprised how good the answers are!

Kinesthetic activities (be the objects that move, bounce off each other or stick to each other).

  1. Be the atoms in the crystal (whole class). Notice that the atoms are stuck to each other in a pattern.
  2. Be the different colors of light hitting a rain drop (different color shirts bounce in different directions). (Pick kids with good colored shirts, or bring some bright colored t-shirts).
  3. Be the stars in a spinning galaxy (whole class). Notice that stars on outside of the galaxy are moving faster.

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