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Weekly Challenge for #EnviroEd # 69 Be Leaf Inquiry & Art

September 20, 2015

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In the northern hemisphere we’re awaiting with bated breath the arrival of Autumn. Some of us are eager for the relief from humidity and mosquitoes while wistfully looking back on back porch dinners and trips to the beach. Still others are looking forward perhaps with some trepidation and perhaps a little stubbornness, avoiding the reality of packing up shorts and sandals and pulling out windbreakers and sweaters.

Either way, the earth is tilting once more – the air is getting crisper and the first frosts are likely only weeks away.

As the first geese begin their south bound migration and the fall harvests approach, many think of Autumn as a prelude to hibernation and for many the animal it is. Yet deciduous trees also see the proverbial writing on the wall. Days are getting shorter, the ground is getting colder and photosynthesis is becoming more of a struggle for them.

As the chlorophyll which tends to cause the green in the leaves breaks down – other chemicals in the leaves remain behind leaving many parts of the forest with a brilliant canopy of leaves. Here is a super table top experiment via Karen Dasgaard that depending on your classroom set up you may be able to try to show the pigments in your local leaves.

No matter the science behind it – the change in fall leaves is a magical time for outdoor exploration. From an artistic point of view you and your class can create some stunning art.

Autumn is also a perfect time for outdoor stories. Take advantage of the last warm weather under a painted canopy of leaves to read your favourite nature related stories.

One of my all time favorite fall leaf activities is to take daily photos of a tree changing day by day and this would be the perfect week to start such a project. You can then put this into a time lapse video or perhaps some other artistic form.

This week’s challenge is to “be leaf” that your students can find creative ways to study, hypothesise and inquire about the changing leaves – as always, if your class has questions feel free to send me a query via twitter. Share with the #EnviroEd hashtag what you and your students have discovered or created.

Whether your class is studying the seasons, plants, chemistry or just looking for new outdoor stories to tell – Autumn is a perfect day to day teaching tool.

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