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Investigating Autumn with Your Students Part I

Fall is a season of anticipation. Excitement hangs in the air as the temperatures cool off and the leaves blow down from the trees. Taking time to explore the change of seasons will make fall even more fun for your family.

Science is all around us this time of year, from weather patterns to apple picking to the decomposition of leaves in the backyard. You don’t need to be a scientist to explore the science of autumn with your kids.

Today and tomorrow we’ll share five easy science projects that you and your kids can do together at home.

1. Leaf Hunting
Take a walk through your neighborhood, a park, or your own backyard, collecting leaves together with your kids. Bring your collections home and compare the leaves you’ve gathered. How many types of leaves did you find? Can you identity the trees they came from?
Variation for Younger Kids: Collect as many different colored leaves as you can. Talk about those colors and about how the leaves are the same or different (for example, how many blades are there on each leaf?)

2. Sprout-Your-Own Indian Corn
Place a cob of Indian Corn in a small dish (a rectangular baking dish works well) filled partway with water, and leave the dish in a sunny location.

Write down your hypotheses about what will happen to the corn (Will the cob grown new corn? Will it float or sink? Will the corn mold?), and come back each day to see if your hypotheses held true.

3. Apple Tasting
Apples come in a variety of colors and flavors, and their peak season is the fall! Purchase or pick several types of apples, comparing how they look and feel with how they might taste. Slice each apple into pieces and taste the together. Talk about their textures (crunchy, mushy), flavors (sweet, tart) and colors.

Questions for Kids: Where do you feel sweetness on your tongue and where do you feel sour flavors? Do red apples all taste the same? What about green apples? Why do you think this is?

Come back tomorrow for two more easy fall science experiments; “Dew Into Frost” and “Fall Decomposition”.

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