Nature Walk {NGSS Patterns in the Sky}

 

Nature Walk

Nature Walk

It’s fall around these parts! That means a lot of scarves, a lot of leaves, and a lot of fun! 🙂

We’ve fallen right into our new science unit, which is about patterns in the sky. It’s really stated as “Make observations at different times of the year to relate the amount of daylight to the time of year”.  Additionally, students should be able to observe, predict, and describe the amount of sunlight and patterns of sunshine/sunset.

What does this look like in first grade?

We have a driving question in this unit, which is “How does the sun affect the seasons?” Since we’ve been talking about what makes us scientists, this is what is our question. So now, we’ve been collecting data to help us answer this question. (This relates to the NGSS standard because once we know about the seasons, we will be able to describe how the seasons are driven by the sun and tilting of the Earth. Each season has a different amount of sunlight, relating back to the standard)

To start, we took a nature walk around the school, to learn more about the season we’re in {fall} and to talk about how the changes we are seeing are being fueled by the sun.

Garden

Garden

First stop, our school garden. We noticed changed in the plants and flowers there. Why are they dying? What’s causing these changes?

Tree changes

Tree changes

We stopped to look at the trees. What changes were happening to the trees? Why are the leaves falling off?

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Dandelions

 

 

As we walked, we saw dandelion plants that were all white and fluffy. Weren’t these yellow a few weeks ago? How are they changing? What’s making them change?

Leaves

Leaves

Leaves

Leaves

As long as we were outside, we made a detour to the playground field to pick out a leaf. In math we are doing measuring, so we each picked a leaf that we would measure back inside. I’ve blogged about this before, so more details on this activity can be found HERE!

Class Mural

Class Mural

The next day, we used what we are seen yesterday on our walk and made a collaborative class mural. Each table group was assigned one of the things we’d observed outside yesterday (grass, rocks, leaves, plants, trees). We talked about making this mural as a team, showing the things we saw and that shows our current season.

Cutting paper

Cutting paper

Making our mural

Making our mural

Honestly, those were the only two pictures I took because the rest of the time I was helping groups with ideas, arranging things, and helping glue. But take a look at how it turned out….

Our Fall Mural!

Our Fall Mural!

I mean, it’s is just amazing!? I love it so much! As we worked, the kids would stand back and say, “Wow, this looks really good!” And they are right!

As they worked, I also asked kids to make labels. Their inventive spelling was just awesome and right on! I think this really turned out to be a wonderful group project, showed our knowledge so far, and helps us see the season of fall.

We will of course relate all of this knowledge back to our essential question- how is the sun affecting these changes we see in fall?

Mural

Mural

Thanks so much for checking in to our adventure!

We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt!

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…

Our trees

Our trees

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.

A tree of all seasons!

A tree of all seasons!

 

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!

Leaves!

Leaves!

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.

But first,

Book

Book

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.

Going on a leaf hunt!

Going on a leaf hunt!

There's some!

There’s some!

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.

Gluing

Gluing

Gluing

Gluing

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.

Measuring with cubes

Measuring with cubes

Measuring with Cubes

Measuring with Cubes

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!

Using crayons to measure

Using crayons to measure

Paperclips

Paperclips

Paperclips

Paperclips

Paperclips

Paperclips

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.

Project

Project

The standards covered

The standards covered

All done!

All done!

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