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Fall Nature Walks, Leaf Graphing Activity and Kinesthetic Astronomy to Welcome The Fall Equinox

What are your ideas for bringing the Fall Equinox to life in your classroom? If you have a story, tip, or resource idea -  please share!

Fall Leaf Chart With Fall comes the many outdoor nature changes of cooler temperatures, migrations of birds and the changing vibrant colors amidst the variety of deciduous trees. What a better way to celebrate this new season with graphing and charting the outdoor results through a fun-filled Fall leave graphing activity. Here you can collect leaf  data, chart your findings of color coded collections, analyze results, and discuss your unique discoveries of learning. I have included a Google Doc template located here, where it will force you to make a copy so students can take the activity with them on a nature walk with their mobile devices. 

If you would like to use this as a tangible activity with team's of students to maximize observations skills without the tech, I would recommend utilizing a clip board, paper/pencil/colored pencils, and printed a copy of the linked PDF below for your teams of students.

And a wonderful extension to take leaf graphing to the next level Don't "leaf" out fall's most valuable lesson

*Teacher Note: This activity works great for K-6 grade students.

Equinox SeasonsTo extend this activity for upper Middle School and High School students have students research the importance of the autumnal equinox. The autumnal equinox is the halfway point between our longest and shortest days of the year — a time when Earth and the sun seem to stand in geometrical balance. It’s the exact moment when the sun appears straight over Earth’s equator (zero degrees latitude) and our entire planet receives roughly equal amounts of daylight and darkness.

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  •  Foliage Tracker Data Activity (5-8)

  • Watch this Solstice and Equinox Brain Pop video, and choose an enrichment activity to discover more about these first days of each season, and why they are so important. 

  • Use the concept of  kinesthetic astronomy to help students understand the orbit and rotation of the Earth. The students use their bodies to model the objects and movements in the solar system, rotating and orbiting at the same time around a basketball “sun.” 

  • Demonstrate how latitude and the sun’s angle affect the length of shadows – Go outside at noon and have students partner-up to measure and record each other’s shadows. Bring them back each month for the same activity, at least through the winter solstice (December). Create a graph using the recorded lengths.

  • Using templates such as the sundial from the Sandburg Planetarium , students can create sundials to study the relationship between the length of the gnomon shadow and the time of day.

Whatever grade-level you teach, the Fall Equinox gives you a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy this nature event with your students. Also, encourage your students to reflect on their Fall achievements and experiences so far this year, and celebrate their “inner harvest.”

What are your ideas for bringing the Equinox to life in your classroom?

If you have a story, tip, or resource idea please share as we look forward to learning with you and your students!

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