Story Time & Earth Science
The three branches of science are: Life Science, Physical Science, and Earth Science. Life Science is probably the one kids will be most familiar with when they’re heading toward junior high, the studies of living organisms, life processes, and biology. Physical Science deals with inanimate matter and energy, like physics and astronomy. Earth Science studies our earth, our planet, from its core to the very outer reaches of our atmosphere and into space.
That’s pretty cool, to my big kid imagination. Now try explaining that to a little person: they’re flabbergasted this is one of those sciencey things. The best example of this: after explaining earth science to a story time kid, she turned to me and said “But I’m always looking at the grass and trees, that stuff’s everywhere!”
Yeah, it’s everywhere. And that’s the point of Earth Science. Teaching children to be conservational heroes while they’re young and susceptible to habit forming behaviors is crucial for the survival of our planet. As far as we can tell (at least until we figure out near light speed travel as great as J.J. Abrams has), this planet is all we’ve got. And we’re pushing her past the point of no return.
To be fair, this planet is theirs. Children are the future, as corny as that sounds. Let’s give them all the tools to experience, observe, understand, and save the world. Keep kids curious and you’re creating little future conservationist heroes, one story at a time!
Cloudy Day Story Time Plan
Brochure/Parent Hand-out Example:
Books to Read: Feedback Books
It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw
This is a great book to bring out first. I would preface it by suggesting that the clouds in the sky can look a lot like different things– animals, toys, people.
I asked my story time kids to shout out what they thought the cloud looked like. In this book (especially on the great horned owl and the angel) we got some creative answers!
Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld
This is a great book to get your story time kids thinking about the purpose of clouds. Little cloud Cloudette feels important when she helps a garden grow. Letting the little ones know that no matter how small, they can make a difference.
Next Time You See a Cloud by Emily Morgan, an NSTA Kids book
I love the “Next Time You See…” series, you can’t go wrong when adding them to your non-fiction children’s section. Bold, easy explanations to complex ideas, and fantastic National Geographic-level pictures.
This book is out March 1, 2017, so I didn’t get to use it for my Story Time (I did this program the last week of February), but if I could have pushed it back, I would have done it JUST to be able to use this book. I’ve inserted the book trailer later on in this program, so you can take a peak at how great the National Science Teachers Association really is.
Songs, Rhymes & Activities
Song: C L O U D (To the tune BINGO)
inspired by preschoolexpress.com
“There is a mist that’s way up high
and we call it a CLOUD
C * L * O * U * D (x3)
the cloud is in the sky!”
I wrote the word CLOUD on a white board and progressively erased the letters, like you would for BINGO, and had the kids clap out the syllables as we went.
Song: The Rain Is Falling Down (to the tune of Farmer in the Dell)
Inspired by Storytime Katie
The rain is falling down, (flutter fingers down) SPLASH (clap once
The rain is falling down SPLASH (clap)
Pitter patter pitter patter
The rain is falling down, SPLASH (clap)
(Second verse: SPLISH SPLASH & two claps)
Next Time You See A Cloud preview video from National Science Teachers Association
Craft: STEM-centric Cloud Chart
Before I brought out this Craft/Activity, I had drawn on a white board the three layers of cloud levels. I didn’t take a picture of it, unfortunately, but I did my best to replicate the information in the pamphlet I created above.
The lowest level of clouds are called CUMULUS: they’re puffy, little white clouds that dot the sky. The middle level of clouds are called ALTO: they’re usually gray or dark, like blankets that cover the sky. The highest level of clouds are CIRRUS: they’re thin, wispy, and float on the wind. Whatever direction they’re blowing in can tell which way weather will be coming from. I had the kids create fists to replicate cumulus clouds, interlock their fingers to create blanket-like alto clouds, and slide their fingers apart and wiggle them to make wispy cirrus clouds.
This is obviously a very simplistic explanation, but I found that this was information at a 3-5 age level comprehension. If you go into the chemical make-up of clouds, that leans a little older.
So this craft is pretty easy, I created this sheet and feel free to download and use it yourself. All you need is a glue stick and just one or two cotton balls. Have the kids pull the cotton balls apart (fine motor skills), and glue them to the page mirroring the shapes of the clouds at that level.
For the Littlest of my Littles who were too young to grasp the STEM activity, I provided little cloud outlines to create fluffy cotton ball clouds.
If you’re in the mood for a science demonstration for your Story Time, check out playdoughtoplato.com:
All it takes is a glass jar with a lid, warm to hot tap water, a match/hair spray (just something to make the particles visible), and some ice cubes to sit on top of the lid.
Click the photo for a step by step and some more awesome visuals. Also for a great explanation for what clouds consist of.
Helpful Resources for Teaching Earth Science
As always, leave me comments below with any questions, concerns, or great cloud ideas for future story times!