Archives for the month of: February, 2014


Things are in full swing here with Next Generation Preschool Science!

We’re growing plants, sketching out curricula, wire-framing apps, and asking four-year-olds to video each other’s comments on some funky bean seeds.
Next Generation Preschool Science consists of three preschool science modules that integrate touch-screen tablets to help improve children’s science practices and knowledge. Right now, we’re working on plant growth. Up next: ramps and shadows.

Through this project, we are building the research base on effective use of tablets in early childhood education. All of our development moves forward with careful research and hand-in-hand collaboration with preschool teachers and children.



Next Generation Preschool Science (NGPS) is a 4-year, NSF-funded research and development project. The NGPS team includes a group of education researchers and early science experts at SRI International and the Center for Children and Technology at EDC, a team of developers at WGBH with substantial experience developing apps and resources for classrooms, expert advisors, and partner teachers. Together, we are building out the research base for effective use of technology to support science learning in the preschool classroom.

NGPS 1) integrates established classroom activities with digital learning resources to promote young children’s engagement in science practices and understanding of science concepts, and 2) includes professional development resources to support teachers and guide classroom implementation.

The program will include 3 modules that promote engagement in science practices such as observing, predicting, experimenting, and recording and analyzing data to develop deep understanding of three big ideas:

  1. Change and transformation by exploring plant growth
  2. Force and motion by exploring ramps and pathways
  3. Light and movement by exploring shadows

Under this grant, we are developing:

  • Whole group activities: circle-time discussions, book readings, and short live-action video segments
  • Small group activities: hands-on investigations and reflection experiences
  • A tablet-based data collection toolkit that allows teachers and children to document and record observations and measurements and compare data as they discuss findings
  • A tablet-based game or simulation that provides unique ways for children to engage with science phenomena
  • A tablet-based Teacher’s Guide will feature professional development resources and videos to:
    • Provide background information on featured science practices and concepts
    • Promote the developmentally appropriate use of technology
    • Offer step-by-step instructions that support classroom implementation
    • Help teachers align activities with early childhood standards

Research and development work began in the fall of 2013.

Our team of researchers and game developers is off and running with researching, designing, and developing traditional and digital science activities and teaching materials for preschools! We’re thrilled to share our journey and learnings with the world through this blog. Stay tuned!

Wondering what we were up to before Next Generation Preschool Science? Take a look at our Next Generation Preschool Math blog!