Building on Children's Natural Scientific Curiosity (Dec2018 Hill Rag)

Building on Children's Natural Scientific Curiosity (Dec2018 Hill Rag)
Debby Anker

Young children are natural scientists and engineers.

What happens when a wheel falls off a toy truck? What can the wheel do on its own? Children at Capitol Hill Day School are exploring these questions. Young children are natural scientists and engineers, and opportunities to engage in scientific exploration and engineering are integral to Capitol Hill Day School's early childhood program. Whether building bridges and tunnels out of blocks, or rolling wheels along various playground surfaces, children develop their scientific and engineering faculties daily.

Two CHDS Early Childhood teachers recently exchanged ideas on science and engineering in the early years with educators from CalTech's early learning center, the Boulder Journey School. At a symposium on Early Childhood STEM in Boulder, Colorado, these educators rolled up their sleeves to make Rube Goldberg machines, explore outdoor learning, and try screen-free coding with Cubelets. These engineering experiences helped the CHDS team see ways to extend children's interest in those playground wheels and offer new, broader questions for the children to explore. And so began a several week study of wheels. What makes a good wheel? What jobs do wheels do?

At Eastern Market Pottery, children explored how wheels are used beyond transportation - as rolling pins, pottery wheels, and gears. A visit from Head of School Jason Gray on his unicycle helped children gain appreciation for wheel's friend, the axle! Children are hard at work designing their own rolling creations, and there is truly no stopping them!

Learn more at, and register for the December 7 Admissions Open House.

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