October is the perfect month to start learning about the seasons. The kids have been in school during “summer” (I use quotes because it doesn’t really feel like summer at the end of August and September, even though it is!) and now the season has changed to fall.
We are covering one of our first grade Common Core science standards, which is about seasonal patterns and changes. We’ve spent the last week talking about the seasons, what they are like, and how they are different from each other. We also made a REALLY cute tree project that went home last Friday…
We used colored paper for the fall leaves. The kids got to tear the pieces, no scissors, and they thought that was so cool! Next, we stretched out a cotton ball and used it to make the “snow” on the winter tree.
For spring, we rolled up little pieces of green tissue paper and glued them down to make the buds. And the summer tree, we colored with our crayons.
This week, the first grade teachers thought it would be a great idea to combine what we’re doing in science (seasons) with what we’re doing in math (measuring)! It was all planned to go on a “nature walk” outside around the school building and look for leaves that the students could collect and then bring inside to measure! I was really excited to do this with the kids and I always look for activities that get us moving as we learn.
Unfortunately…. the last few days around here have been RAINY! A constant drizzle has been happening, which makes for wet leaves, wet grass, and would make for some wet students. Since that wasn’t really what I had in mind, I switched to plan B!
An indoor leaf hunt!!!! (Now, while this might not seem exciting for you, the kids were LOVING IT!) I told them that since it was wet, we wouldn’t be going outside. But, now we’re having a leaf hunt inside our classroom! I scattered fabric leaves (which I luckily had laying around from a craft project last year) in a circle around the room and told the kids we’d be walking around and they could pick the leave they wanted.
we read the book “Leaf Jumpers”. It’s such a great way to introduce looking for different leaves. The book talks about how leaves from different trees are different sizes, shapes, and colors. If we had actually gone on an outdoor leaf hunt, it would have been fun to come back and see if any of the leaves we found matched the ones in the book.
After the story, the kids lined up and walked around the room, pretending to be outside and finding leaves.
As they walked, they picked up the special leaf that they wanted. Then, we glued them down onto a piece of paper, along with our measurement paper.
Sidenote: If doing this in your classroom, really go over how much glue is a good amount to put on the leaf
because some kids used WAY too much and ended up with a glue puddle because you don’t want anyone to make a mess 😉
Our math Common Core standard 1.MD.2 says that students can measure objects using other objects. Meaning, we are doing non-standard measuring, using things other than a ruler to measure. For this activity, the students had to use paper clips, crayons, and cubes to measure their leaves.
I set up those units around the room in different areas and modeled how to go around to each one and measure the leaf. Then, the kids did it all on their own.
It’s wonderful to see them be so independent in their learning. Common Core really wants the students to learn from “doing”, not from teacher’s talking. You can see all the kids really engaging and on-task, they loved this!
If we had found real leaves outside, I think we might have had more of a variety on the sizes. Our fabric leaves were all a little different, but many were the same. Despite that, the kids really enjoyed doing this and also learned a lot. They thought it was very cool that we were doing math and science at the same time too!
After we were all done, we cleaned up and got to neatly color in the border. (We are working very hard on SLOWING down and doing a nice job, instead of rushing and scribbling. If you pass by my room, mostly likely you’ll hear someone say to someone else, “Slow down, no scribble-scrabbling!” 🙂
Here are our final projects hanging in our hall.
I hope you are enjoying fall as much as we are in our classroom! Keep working on the pumpkin projects at home, remember those are due at the end of the month. The kids love talking about them in class. I can’t wait to see them!
P.S. Looking for the LEAF WORKSHEET? I’ve made a new version (which gives you the same options as above, another worksheet with other units of measure, and a blank one if you’d like to have the kids pick their own units). CLICK HERE FOR THE WORKSHEETS