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Science Kids on the Loose

Learning Goals

Sid the Science Kid is a television series and interactive website for children 3-6 and the adults who care for them. To support science learning, Sid takes advantage of kids’ instinctive quest to figure out the world as well as their growing sense of humor. The desire to understand underlies all scientific exploration, and preschoolers’ questions often involve the same big ideas that scientists investigate. Kids who ask, “Why are the leaves falling off the trees? Why are my shoes too small? Where’d my snowman go?” – are wondering about transformation and change. “What’s hair for? Why are my teeth different shapes? How do birds fly, and why can’t I?” are questions about form and function. Research tells us that young children already know something about these big ideas. Sid is ready to help them learn more.

The main goals of Sid the Science Kid are:

  • To encourage children to think, talk and work the way scientists do by building on preschoolers’ natural curiosity about the world.
  • To show that science is all around us – we all interact with and are capable of learning about scientific concepts.
  • To contribute to school readiness by fostering children’s intellectual skills, motivation to learn, and confidence in themselves as learners.
  • To support children’s learning by partnering with parents and teachers to create a “climate of curiosity” for children.
  • Although we use humor to teach, the entire Sid team is very serious about children’s learning. We’ve carefully designed the series and website so that children have repeated opportunities to think about a specific scientific idea. Within an episode, we explore Sid’s latest science question from daybreak to day’s end, illustrating the concept in as many ways as possible. In addition, each week’s episodes are connected by a big science concept. For example, we explore transformation and change by investigating questions about growth (Why are my shoes shrinking?), decay (Why’s my banana all yucky?!), the effects of freezing and melting (Where’d my popsicle go?), and the effects of heat (How DO you make the perfect pancake?). Friday shows review what’s been learned during the week, giving viewers another chance to consolidate understanding.

    The conceptual content of Sid is based in national science learning standards, cognitive learning theory, and on the preschool science curriculum, Preschool Pathways to Science ©. By connecting experiences conceptually and exploring topics over an extended period, Sid increases learners’ opportunities for discovering important ideas. For example, children find out that some changes are reversible and others are not, or that living things grow and decay. Understanding is a critical goal in itself, but the benefits extend even further, since children who experience the joy and satisfaction of discovery will want to savor it again. Early exposure to science can inspire positive lifelong attitudes towards it, empowering children to see themselves as capable learners, and motivating them to learn and do more.

    To appeal to young children, the science content in Sid is both meaningful and relevant to their everyday lives. To achieve this relatability, the characters pose questions and investigate objects and events that can be directly observed and explored. Based on age-appropriate developmental concepts, this approach embraces the idea that kids can “do” their own science, not just read about and discuss what others have observed.

    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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