Leaves changing colors, birds flying south, days getting shorter and chillier – each of these events signals that fall is upon us. It is one of the most beautiful times of the year, full of changes and transitions. You and your students can learn a lot about how Mother Nature prepares for winter by just getting out and observing. Before you do, check out these websites. They do a great job explaining a few of the changes we experience this time of year and can provide important background knowledge for you or your students.
- The Weather Channel provides a map of the United States showing the current color conditions in each region. Don’t miss the peak time to take in all the amazing autumn colors. http://www.weather.com/activities/driving/fallfoliage/
- Learn what the U.S. Forest Service has to say about night’s role in the brilliant display of colors we see, as well as the reason leaves fall. http://www.na.fs.fed.us/fhp/pubs/leaves/leaves.shtm
We call autumn fall because all the leaves fall off of the trees, correct? Help students understand that leaves are actually pushing themselves off of the trees.
- You’re not the only one who is busy this fall. Animals are scurrying around preparing for winter. Take your class out and observe all of these behaviors. Have them write and draw their observations in journals. http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/watching_wildlife_fall.html
- Twice a year we change our clocks, but why? Help students understand this event and ask how “falling back” makes them feel. Do they want to hibernate like a bear, or do they get up with the early rising sun? And what might be some of the effects if the U.S. were to get rid of daylight saving time?