Bi-Cultural Creates Early Childhood Exploratory Science Lab

Posted on: October 31st, 2016 by admin
Kindergartners Elena Kohl and Grant Bradley observe a lesson on the study of vapor and the water cycle in Frank Cronson’s Early Childhood science class. (Photo by Dora Salm)

Kindergartners Elena Kohl and Grant Bradley observe a lesson on the study of vapor and the water cycle in Frank Cronson’s Early Childhood science class. (Photo by Dora Salm)

Bi-Cultural Day School recently created a specially designed science lab in the early childhood wing, establishing a unique place in the school for budding young scientists to learn about everything from motors to magnets and rainbows to rockets.

Frank Cronson has been teaching science to the school’s youngest learners since he joined the school in 1984. Long-beloved for the sense of wonder, awe and scientific thrill he injects into every lesson, Cronson’s teaching explores such topics as light, energy, plant life, the weather and the seasons, nature, animal lifecycles, earth and space science, dinosaurs, fossils and physical science. Supplementary experiments are his forte, teaching science in an experiential, interactive way that is fully hands-on and weaves knowledge and understanding into fun student activities.

“I always try to use precise scientific words and model a researcher’s approach to science when teaching students how to learn about the world around them – not just the ‘what,’ but also the ‘why’ of science,” said Cronson. Before joining Bi-Cultural, Mr. Cronson worked as a research biochemist at Yale University and a researcher at the Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven.

Until now, Cronson had been operating as a mobile scientific unit – as adaptable as a weather unit on the study of wind – bringing his multiple bins of scientific equipment, tools, homemade science kits and customized models to any space in the bustling school that would temporarily accommodate his needs for that day’s lesson. Now in a new, dedicated space, Cronson has established a science hub where his contagious enthusiasm can take root, and like the experiments he shares, cause a chain reaction of fascination for our youngest budding scientists.

The science lab, which took inspiration from several leading children’s science museums and classrooms, incorporates the use of child-friendly microscopes, magnifying glasses and other lab supplies to encourage curiosity, study and experiments. Cronson controls the physical environment of the space, making experiments with light, rainbows and colors more effective and dramatic. He can also now assemble broad-form experiments such as learning about motors through the example of a set of motorized trains.

“This dedicated science lab allows for an environment of true scientific observation and exploration, and really gives our youngest kids a place to experience science and take part in learning in a hands-on way,” said Cronson.