Icy Hearts & Shapes STEM Exploration// Introducing children to different hands-on experiences in environments that young children are both enveloped & engaged in their own exploration as they discover & enjoy #STEM concepts is truly fascinating. Open ended explorations help children get exposed to & become familiar, while beginning to understand the properties & features of shapes in a way that is enticing.
So how do we motivate children to love learning even when it is something they may not be interested in like shapes? Through intrinsic motivation. When we elicit their curiosity in an engaging way, the information sticks because their intrinsic motivation is activated. How do you get the intrinsic motivation activated? By giving children time & encouragement to play & the freedom of making their own decisions about how they play. Teaching young children through worksheets, flashcards, & memorization is a type of learning that is pushed by extrinsic motivation. Research shows that this type of learning has been proven to be detrimental to the child’s attitude towards learning and school, because it is rote learning. They are simply memorizing information based on repetition which leads to lack of comprehension & retaining the concepts.
Exposing children to shapes where they are given agency to explore freely, honors their intrinsic motivation through igniting their curiosity and creativity. This type of learning sticks. Using the power of discovery, wonder, and curiosity in our classroom environment (indoors and outdoors), is how a child learns their alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors etc. on their own timelines. When this is made possible the child will learn these concepts with ease and the knowledge will stick.
This invitation to explore was created by simply freezing colored water (Colorations liquid watercolors, bicolor, tempera paint) in different shaped molds. The children were invited to explore, build, and create with the icy shapes.
"If it hasn't been in the hand and body, it can't be in the brain." Bev Boss