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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

Time With Teeth

Today’s Sid investigation was a perfect recipe for a fun and successful science activity.
3 preschool people
2 moms
1 mirror
3 prepared lunches
1 Sid investigation on my iPad
Have children wash hands. Give them a mirror. Ask them to examine their teeth. Teach them the vocabulary for the types of teeth. Give them lunch. Ask them to think about and use their teeth as they eat lunch. Talk a lot about teeth. Laugh often.
Honestly, can it get any more delightful and simple to teach our children about teeth, supply them with academic vocabulary, and then put what they learn into action? I think not.
In all seriousness, I have stated MANY times on this blog that I appreciate the thoughtful academic design behind the Sid the Science Kid investigations posted online. Today we had a lunch date with our friends Devon and Morgan (returning guests to this blog) and it was so simple to incorporate the investigation into an ordinary activity. Let’s face it; feeding kids multiple times a day is less than glamorous. But if I bring learning into everyday activities a tedious time can become interesting and fun. Of course, I can’t pull this off in every tedious moment of parenting but it is totally worth is to sprinkle in the science every once in a while.
My friend Hillary filled in as my teaching assistant today. Ironically, Hillary is actually a teacher. It’s always a bonus to have her help. First we made sure the kids washed their hands. Then we asked them to show off their pearly whites for the camera.
Next, I pulled out a simple hand mirror and began showing them their teeth. It was interesting to see them touch and prod at their own teeth as if they had never seen them before. My guess is that Devon, Morgan, and Leo haven’t spent much time thinking about their teeth as individuals. But there we were with a mirror pointing out incisors.
I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful their tiny teeth are and reflect on the havoc those teeth caused on these preschoolers as babies. The trials of teething seem like a distant memory. It was sweet and a little strange to see my baby Leo looking at his own canines in wonder.
We talked about molars as they chomped down. Interestingly, the vocabulary was challenging to them. I kept repeating the names of the teeth, but for some reason the kids weren’t readily able to repeat them back. It must have been the mirror distracting them. I did tell them that canine is another word for dog and that struck a cord with the three of them. They won’t forget it now!
After looking in the mirror, we went to the kitchen for lunch. I prepared a meal with soft and crunchy foods, so we could continue talking and learning about our teeth.
As Leo, Morgan, and Devon eagerly dove into their pb&js, I asked them to tell me which teeth they used to get the job done eating. They knew for sure that the molars did the chewing but it was harder to narrow down the first bite. Incisors or canines? It took a few bites to figure it out: incisors! With the apples and carrots the kids knew for sure that they needed to use the canines…which they employed with gusto and giggles.
Then I asked them to try and eat a bite with only their front teeth. It was hilarious watching them try and figure that out. Not such an easy task and it led to some pretty funny faces.
I was grateful for Hillary’s help as we extended the conversation to the teeth and chewing habits of animals. We talked about elephants and sharks, which lead to a conversation about plant eaters and meat eaters. Talk about building on a concept!
Lunch today was a science adventure. I can’t say what will happen tomorrow, but I sure will keep my eyes open for other science opportunities. And Leo DID spend a little extra time brushing his incisors, canines, and molars tonight before bed.

Produced by: Funding is provided by:
Jim Hensen Corporation logo CPB ViNCi MetLife The Rosehills Foundation S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation logo The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations logo

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