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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL video cameras can preserve children’s scientific interactions and allow them to revisit and ana- lyze their experiences. Finally, the inclusion of nonfiction books written for young children can help them understand the connection between their explorations in the STEM center and the professions of adults, including various types of engineering. Chapter 2 provides a variety of ideas for creating STEM learning centers. Exploring STEM throughout the Classroom Science and mathematics are embedded in all areas of the classroom, and teachers should take advantage of these learning opportunities throughout the day. Cooking experiences in- troduce children to simple machines through a variety of tools and gadgets. Children also dis- cover changes in materials caused by heat, cold, or combination with other materials. Children use measurement and quantification as they add ingredients. In the block area, children can explore simple machines, such as inclines and pulleys, while they engage in engineering-related projects. They can also investigate natural building materials and compare a variety of rigid, soft, and semirigid materials. The application of geometry and mea- surement concepts is strongly related to play in the block area. At the sensory table, children can compare the characteristics of liquid and dry materials and ex- periment with air and water pressure. Through art activities, children can investigate the behav- ior of materials, create patterns, and engage in explorations that involve earth science, physics, and life science. Finally, through music, children can create patterns and explore the physical properties of instruments. STEM activities in all of these areas are presented in chapter 3. STEM in Outdoor Areas Outdoor areas provide opportunities for STEM explorations that are not available in the class- 12 c ha p te r 1 room. Children can investigate shadows, wind, and bubbles and observe insects, birds, and neighborhood animals. The outdoor area allows children to explore simple machines on a larger scale. Pulleys can be used to move materials to areas that are too far to reach. Inclines can be ex- plored through activities that use the whole body. Outdoor planting activities can often be longer in duration than those conducted in the classroom, and they can be connected to natural light and weather cycles. Designing STEM activities for out- door areas is the subject of chapter 4. Integrating STEM into Class Projects Many preschool and kindergarten teachers have become interested in fostering learning through class projects, particularly following widespread interest in the Reggio Emilia schools in Italy. Whether introduced by the teacher based on the perceived interests of the children or initiated by a group of children who share a particular in- terest, projects focus on inquiry. Often there is a central question that children hope to answer through their investigations. Teachers provide support and guidance by mediating discus- sions, providing needed materials, introducing new but related experiences, and documenting learning. Regardless of the nature of a class project, sci- ence is almost always involved, and mathematics often adds an important dimension. Sometimes a project may center around an area of science, as when a class wants to build a life-size dinosaur or discover seasonal changes in the environment. At other times, the project may seem unrelated to science, such as a class that wants to produce a play. However, even when science is not the focus of a project, it is often an important com- ponent. In the play project, backdrops and props may be desired. As children select materials and use them to construct props, they will encoun- ter science and engineering situations related to balance and the properties of materials. They may also need to measure as they develop cos- tumes and stage sets. For this reason, teachers COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL