Here is a hands-on STEM exercise for your preschooler. It is fun for the kids and very easy to set up. Use everyday items around the house to illustrate science ideas and theories.
Explore volume, shape and size
The size of a three-dimensional space is called volume. One simple way to find out which container has a bigger volume is by measuring the amount of water it holds.
In this measurement and math activity, compare the volume, shapes and sizes of different containers. It is a fun way to practice fine motor skills, too!
- various containers of different shapes and sizes
- a pitcher of water
- food coloring (optional)
- measuring cup
- adult supervision
There are two ways to compare volume of different containers.
Before starting, guess which container is the largest and which the smallest. What are your reasons?
- Pick a container that seems to hold the largest volume.
- Fill this container with water up to the rim.
- Add food coloring (optional).
- Carefully transfer the water from this container to a smaller container.
- Observe if there's water remaining after fully filling the second container, or if there is not enough water to fill it up.
- The container that holds more water has a larger volume.
- Fill each container completely with water.
- Transfer the water to the measure cup and take the measurement.
- Repeat steps 1-2 with each container and record each measurement.
Did you guess correctly the relative sizes?
In addition to comparing volume, you can also compare the shapes.
Now that you know which container is the biggest and the smallest, explore the relationship between volume and shapes.
- Measure 1 cup of water using the measuring cup.
- Pour this into a container.
- Repeat steps 1-2 with each container and put them side-by-side for comparison.
The scientific method
This activity introduces the idea of science exploration to kids. Science is not just about knowing information. It is a way of trying to make sense of the world.
Scientists observe, ask questions, hypothesize, design experiments, collect data and use it to try to understand the world around us. Children can learn all of these in experiments such as this volume comparison.
Using the various comparison methods, kids learn to explore and observe in different ways. They will learn that it is possible to arrive at the same conclusion using different methods. A problem can often be solved or investigated from multiple angles. To systematically explore, investigate, observe and understand is the scientific method.