Easy Ways to Add Science to Your Fall Homeschool Lessons
Seeking a relaxed approach when it comes to fall homeschool lessons? The following activities can be used in lieu of or as a supplement to your current science curriculum if you are looking for practical ways to teach fall science principles.
Leaf Color Change
Young learners will be beyond excited if you simply tell them one morning that you are taking school outside! Give them a paper bag or bucket and have them collect as many leaves of different colors as possible. Lay out a blanket in the grass and have your child sort the leaves by color. While outdoors in nature with your child, discuss the science of leaf color change. Why do leaves change color in the fall? Teach your young ones about how in the fall the days become shorter and the temperatures cooler causing the leaves to stop their food-making process. This causes the chlorophyll to break down. The green color begins to disappear, and the yellow and orange colors then become visible. Explain that due to chemical changes some leaves may even turn a purple color due to the development of red anthocyanin pigments, which you can show them if you have dogwood or sumac trees nearby. Then, have your children record leaf color change with nature art journals throughout the season. Remind them that the length of this beautiful display varies from year to year. Temperature, light, and the amount of water available to the trees will have a large effect on the length of your beautiful fall foliage. If you happen to have an early frost this fall, your trees that usually have bright red vibrancy might be a bit on the dull side. Encourage each child to keep a fall leaf notebook journal throughout your fall season regardless of how long or short it may be!
Temperature Changes Affected by Earth Rotation
As you study fall weather, keep track of daily temperatures in a journal. Research record highs and lows for each day and see where your daily temperatures fall. Also consider tracking the length of daylight and the distance of the sun from your hemisphere.
Track Migrating Birds through Your Area
My family is blessed to live in the mountains surrounded by a plethora of trees. Over a decade ago when we moved here, we were eating breakfast and became startled by a loud noise in the backyard. When we stepped out on the back porch, we noticed that our beautiful trees were completely black! They were covered in birds, and the sound of them was deafening! Year after year, we wait for these birds to begin their migration journey, and we enjoy watching them flit from tree to tree throughout our yard. Are you able to witness birds migrating in your area? If so, keep a journal! Record the date of migration through your area each year. Include the common name of each type of bird as well as the scientific name. You can also use this as an opportunity for your children to work on their art skills. Encourage them to draw the birds they witness traveling through the area in their nature journals. Hesitant artists can use online videos or step-by-step PDFs. Regardless of your child’s age, you can research each bird’s migratory pattern and track on a map.
Bring Fall Indoors
For the days you need to stay indoors, consider sensory bins for the younger ones and science experiments, lapbooks, and unit studies for the older ones. Prepare ahead of time for rainy days with bins filled with pine needles, acorns, leaves, and the like for your preschooler to enjoy. The older ones can be kept busy with fall-related lapbooks or unit studies on pumpkins, apples, or leaves. Experiments could include dissecting a pumpkin, an apple volcano, or sprouting Indian corn. You also can consider bringing science into the kitchen and teach your children the science behind making popcorn. Corn is a favorite fall treat so why not teach them the science behind making popcorn! Discuss whether a physical or chemical change is taking place while asking the question, “What makes popcorn pop?” Explain how there is a tiny droplet of water inside of each popcorn kernel. This droplet is encased by the hull, a hard shell. When heated up, the water droplet turns to steam. Pressure is built up inside the hull, and it explodes, causing you to hear it pop! What you are hearing is the water suddenly escaping the kernel.
Whether indoors or outdoors, you can enjoy fall time with your children while organically adding some science into the mix!