Autumn Leaves Curriculum Connections
Explore leaves through exercising estimation skills, expanding leaf-themed vocabulary, and moving like a falling leaf.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
Why Do Leaves Change Color?
To introduce children to the reason autumn leaves turn colors, provide the class with copies of poems about autumn leaves. Discuss the meaning of new vocabulary words, such as chlorophyll, hues, fades, flecks, etc.
Looks, Smells, Feels
Wrap up this lesson by bringing students together for a sharing session. Begin by asking students to suggest words that describe leaves. List these words on chart paper. On a second piece of chart paper, write the words looks, smells, and feels across the top. Display the word list and the chart, then invite students to take turns classifying the words, copying the words from the list on leaf-shaped cards, then pasting them under the correct heading. Challenge students to add new words to each column, too.
Like a Leaf
For a change of pace, invite students to dramatize falling leaves in different kinds of weather. Introduce the activity by looking at the weather outside. Is it a calm day? Windy? Pouring? If you can, play appropriate music. (Clips from a software program such as the Microsoft Composer Series on CD-ROM make it easy to jump from one musical selection to another). Ask students to "fall" the way they think leaves would in the kind of weather you describe.
Leaves Fall Off
A maple tree loses about 600,000 leaves in the fall! That number might be tough for students to work with, so look at leaves on one branch of a deciduous tree. How many leaves do students think are on a branch? Count the leaves on a low branch. Compare with the estimate. How can students use this number to estimate the total number of leaves on the tree? If possible, revisit the tree throughout fall to see how fast the leaves fall off.
Source: A Year of Hands-On Science