EC STEM Lab - May/Jun 2021, Newsletter, #20

For Educators

Free Workshop



Changes and Mixtures in Preschool
Virtual Workshop #4 in 2020-2021 Preschool STEM Workshop Series

Saturday, Apr. 24, 9-10am Eastern

Topic: Changes and mixtures in preschool. We'll explore the what and why, virtual learning considerations, and activity ideas.

Registration Required

Check our website or follow us on Facebook for more information. Approved for professional development hours in TN by DHS.

Drawing for FREE stuff for those who attend!


Preschool STEM Institute

Grant Applications Due April 30, 2021

Join us!

Grant applications accepted now, registration open soon.

Coaches, center directors, trainers, master teachers - check out our Preschool STEM Institute on July 9, 2021.


Check it Out

Sustaining and Scaling Professional Development


Our professional development model for science and math learning in pre-kindergarten dual language learners was recently spotlighted along with other promising approaches. Read about our work designing and expanding a professional development system here



Activity Ideas

Try It Out!


Changes, Mixtures, and Gardening

There are plenty of opportunities for children to experience changes and mixtures! Here are a few ideas...

Creating Play Dough
Involving children in the process of making play dough gives them a hands-on opportunity to view the changes that occur from this mixture! They can see and feel the changes occurring as they create their dough. This simple recipe will help throughout the process and it can be fun to experiment with what happens when you add different amounts of the ingredients! Try this out and work to discover what makes the "perfect" dough. And revel in the messy "mistakes" that are not mistakes at all, but are a critical part of science.

Simple Playdough Recipe
2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Salt
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Water

Observing the changes that occur in water is a simple way for children to begin to understand the states of matter. Freezing ice and watching it melt allows them to observe the changes and to make sense of what is happening. Involving children in this process could look like this:

Have children pour water into a container and put it in the freezer 
Once the water is solid, take it out and put it in a bin or place it outside to watch it melt and talk about it. 
 Ask...What changes do you see? How is this happening? How can we get it to melt faster? What can we do to make the water solid again? How can we get it to melt faster?

 Creating a garden is special for children and adults. It is also an incredible opportunity for children to witness other kinds of natural changes that occur, such as the life cycle of a plant. When you create a garden, involve children in all of it. Have them brainstorm what they want to plant and research what those plants need to grow. Have children be responsible for the care of the garden. Ask them what changes they are noticing and why they think those changes are happening. Graph the life cycle of your plants and add to it as they grow! There is so much you can do with a garden, indoors and outdoors! 

CHECK out our Preschool STEM Institute to explore more STEM in the context of the garden, plant, and growing.



Books and More


On the Web
Tips for Gardening
Important reminders and tips for establishing a garden with young children
10 Tips to Support Children's Science Learning
Helpful reminders as you work through investigations with children

Sesame Street Properties of Matter
A fun introduction to the properties of matter with young children

Books for Kids

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
This book describes the lifecycle of a plant through the story of a small seed.

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner
This book describes what we see in our gardens and under them, highlighting creatures that we may not always notice.

Grow! How We Get Food from Our Garden by Karl Beckstrand
Follow a grandfather and grandchild as they till, plant, and care for their garden. This book also has tips for growing your own garden. 

Change it! Solids, Liquids, Gases, and You by Adrienne Mason

This book introduces the idea of the properties of matter to young children.


Matter by Andi Diehn
This book helps young children begin to understand what "matter" is. It describes how everything is matter and includes some experiments as well. 



Eagle Cam Stuff

Following up on our Eagle Cam collaboration from last year's newsletter, we've started to post resources to use for free with the ETSU Eagle Cams.

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Early Childhood STEM Lab · Department of Early Childhood Education · East Tennessee State University · Johnson City, TN 37614 · USA

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