Science Drawing: Warty Gourds and Smooth Apples
Autumn brings all sorts of fun new shapes and textures for children to explore. Encourage your little scientists to make careful observations with some orange pumpkins, warty gourds, shiny apples and other wonders this fall. In this activity you will give kids the chance to observe, describe and draw like a scientist.
Never underestimate the potential and focus of an early childhood learner! If framed correctly, they will very carefully examine an object and draw its details. Pair this with a descriptive word exercise and you will have sharpened these natural scientists’ STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) skills.
Collect some items that you will be able to pass around for kids to touch, smell and look at. I love having them compare little decorative gourds in autumn because of the myriad of shapes and textures, but you could bring just about anything into the classroom or home to observe. Feathers, rocks, small toys and seashells are all great for this exercise.
Challenge the kids to say a word that describes, or tells you, how the object feels or looks. Sometimes this can start off slow, so model what you expect. For example, “This gourd feels bumpy.” Or “This apple looks red and yellow.” “Let’s see how many different words we can say to tell each other about these things.”
If you have early readers, you can create a list as they come up with ideas. Once you have exhausted their descriptive vocabulary, model how a scientist might examine one of the objects. “If I look closely, I notice that this one has little green spots. I didn’t notice that before!” If you have magnifying glasses, or other types of magnifiers, this is a good time to use them. Give the kids time to make a discovery they did not notice originally.
To take this one step further, model how you might draw a picture of the object. Your first drawing should be a creative one. Show that it is ok to draw something using different colors or shapes. “My favorite color is purple, so I’m going to color this pumpkin purple when I draw it.”
Then show how a scientist might make a science drawing of the object. Model how you would pay attention to small details and try to draw using colors that matched what you are looking at. For example, “When I use my science eyes to observe this gourd, I noticed little green spots. When I draw my science drawing of the gourd, I am going to draw it with a green crayon.”
Use the artist and scientist printable to give kids the space to draw a creative drawing and a science drawing of the same object. You will be amazed at how carefully preschoolers will examine and draw something if given the direction and opportunity to do so!
Fine-tuned technical drawing is not what is expected here, age-appropriate drawing is fine, the emphasis should be on observing and attempting to draw what you see. Explain that it is great to be creative and it is great to be scientific! (And remember- it is also often important to be both at the same time!)
Finally, one note to set your children and students up for success in this activity is to provide writing implements that allow for different shades, such as crayons or colored pencils. Using markers for science drawings is often frustrating for young children because the colors come out much bolder than they anticipate.
Sarah Benton Feitlinger, M.Ed. is a former Preschool-6th science teacher, mom, blogger and science writer, curriculum consultant and developer. She is passionate about educating children and loves anything and everything science! Check out her blog, Share it! Science for fun science, STEM and STEAM activities, lessons, science news, book reviews and other resources for kids, teachers, homeschoolers and parents
Ms. Beth https:www. adventuresofscubajack.com