Hanukkah-Inspired Science in PreK!

As our kehillah learns the story, rituals, traditions, and songs of Hanukkah, our room reflects our discoveries. Glittery sv’ivonim (driedels) hang from our ceiling, hanuki’yot are on our bulletin boards, and pictures of levivot (potato latkes) are tacked to our doors.


Even our Science Table is Hanukkah-inspired! First, our table was filled with different objects that create and reflect light –  like flashlights, candles and prisms.


We had a wonderful time exploring the different objects. We even created a “PreK Light Box” (complete with illustrations and directions collaboratively created and written by our kehillah) so that we could experience the full power of our flashlights!


Ilana has helped us to connect our scientific discoveries to the holiday of Hanukkah by teaching us about the importance of light to the story. In addition, we have talked about how darkness can feel powerful and overwhelming . . . but just a bit of light can break through and illuminate our spaces. Ilana illustrated this by striking a match – and showing us how the darkness immediately fled from the light!

*   *   *   *   *

In addition to learning about light, we have also been experimenting with oil and water.


Oil is also an important symbol of the Hanukkah story, so we have been busy exploring the many different containers on our Science Table that are filled with oil.


During one of our Circle Times, we investigated oil – and also water – by tasting them, smelling them, touching them, and observing them closely.



After a while, we wondered what might happen if we mixed the oil and water together. First we made predictions (most of us thought the oil and water would combine). We then decided to check our predictions against an observable result. So we mixed some oil with water (in which we had added food coloring – purple, blue, and green).

*   *   *   *   *

And then we waited!


Slowly, we saw the oil rising to the top and the colored water sinking to the bottom. And no matter how often we shook the jar, the water and oil kept separating – the oil floating to the top and the water sinking to the bottom. We realized that this experiment helped us to better understand the liquid motion toys on our Science Table.


Oil and water are both liquids, but they are very different substances and because of their chemical composition they do not “like” each other. Molecules of oil are attracted to each other and repelled by the water molecules (that’s part of the reason that the water turns a color but the oil does not; food coloring has water in it, so the drops go to the water layer). In addition, oil is less dense (weighs less) than water, so it floats above the water.


We invite you to come into our classroom and check out our Science Table, as well as read our predictions and observations on our “Big Board!”