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Child Study Center

Center of Excellence for Early Childhood Learning & Development

Reflections on Snow

When teachers asked the Ladybugs, "What makes the snow melt?" - there were several theories: 

Leon said, "Sun, lava, and salt…. I like to eat salt."
Aiden said, "Fire and soap."
Bryn said, "Heat."
Hayley said, "Candle."
Stella said,  "Water …hot or cold…"
Mina said "Rain."
Gage said  "Milk."
Deb said "Cinnamon."

As a provocation, the teacher set out some of the items the children had mentioned along with a written label. Although the children are not literally reading, they are recognizing letters, and letters make up words.

things that might melt snow

The children were asked how often we should check the melting process. Leon shouted, “Seven!” The teacher asked, “Seven minutes?” They all shouted, “YES!”

The teacher made a chart listing the various ideas they offered. The children observed the snow at seven minute intervals and reported on what they saw. The teacher recorded their findings. 

chart of snow-melting possibilities

At the end of the experiment, they counted the number of times they observed the snow melting. The children read the chart from left to right to understand which items melted the snow the fastest. They all agreed the results indicated the salt, cinnamon, and rain worked most effectively to melt the snow.

This experience is a prime example of children using a scientific model to make discoveries about their world.

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