My preschool will be virtual until at least winter break, and I am trying to keep things fresh but secure with my students for our zoom meetings. That means having some predictable elements like our good morning song and letter sharing. This must be combined with novel activities like this sink and float activity for virtual preschool. Shifting my tried and true lessons to a virtual model takes a little reimagining, but it’s possible, especially with adult help. Engaged caregivers are a must. Here is how I have adjusted this classic preschool lesson and turned it into a virtual preschool science activity.
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Virtual Preschool Science Lesson for Zoom
Gather your materials, for this float and sink activity you will need a plastic cup, a small container, items like pom poms, beads, marbles, and buttons, water, and I made a printable of all our items to sort during the lesson. I love this mini pocket chart I got on Amazon. It’s perfect for zoom. Also, Who Sank The Boat by Pam Allen is a wonderful book to read for this lesson.
To prepare for this lesson, I made a simple printable that I cut into cards for my pocket chart. I sent home a plastic cup and a small container with a pom-pom, button, bead, plastic pumpkin, and marble. I just looked through our supply closet at school for items we had extra. If you do not send materials home for your class, you can ask each child to get one item, a plastic tub of water, and take turns over zoom. “Ok friends Leanne has a toy car, do we think it will float or sink in her container of water? Yes, it sank!
Before the experiment, read this book to help give your students a clear and recent understanding of floating and sinking. The book is about farm animals that want to go for a boat ride, but as they each get in the boat, we aren’t sure if it will stay afloat. Each page ends with WHO SANK THE BOAT? It’s a fun read-aloud in person or over zoom. Eventually, it’s not the big animals but a tiny mouse that finally sinks the boat.
Sink and Float Lesson
After reading, I like to explain why things sink or float. I will ask the children if they know. Then I’ll say that big and little things can float or sink, size doesn’t matter. What matters is if things have a lot of air inside them. If they are probably going to float, but if the stuff they are made of doesn’t have a lot of air we call it dense and it will probably sink.
Show the kids the chart and how you’ll record your results.
Now it’s time to experiment.
Start by having each child hold up the same object. We started with the pom-pom. I asked my students if they thought it would float or sink.
Pop it in! Using this small cup was perfect for zoom because I could hold it up. After they all yelled out that it was floating, I popped the card in the float column. Can I say again how much I adore this mini pocket chart?!
When you are all done with the experiment, count each column together, and announce that more items sank than floated, or however your experiment turned out.
My students had so much fun doing this virtual preschool science activity, and it was almost like being at circle time. I’d love to hear from you about what activities you have tried over the zoom that your students have loved.
More Preschool Science
These are some of my very favorite science activities for preschool!