Throughout the fall season, educators have the opportunity to create rich learning experiences for their student’s senses. There’s a plethora of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures in this wonderful time of year. A few favorite activities for fun in the fall include field trips, apple tasting, and pumpkin predicting. Get your students excited about the season with these Fall learning experiences!
Fall Learning in the Classroom and On the Go!
Scheduling a field trip to a local farm, pumpkin patch, or apple orchard is the perfect fall event for early learners. It gives students a chance to experience the season of fall in authentic setting with their peers and families. Many local farms have special programs this time of year for children. These programs include seeing, touching, and feeding the animals, along with harvesting, picking, and tasting fruits and vegetables. Teachers can seek programs that have additional fun, such as hayrides and mazes, to stimulate students’ interests even further.
A typical planned day may include a trip to the farm in the morning, followed by a classroom lunch at the farm or back at school, and ending with school activities such as nature walks, jumping in leaves, obstacle courses, and parachute activities, to reinforce the experiences of the day. Of course, these activities could also be done on a separate day. The most important thing is that educators seek opportunities for their students to explore the fall season in authentic settings with rich and engaging experiences that provide sensory learning.
Apple Tasting & Graphing
A great idea for an activity following a farm or orchard visit, is to conduct a project utilizing some of the farm products. For example, teachers can bring back apples from a trip and conduct an apple tasting and math-graphing lesson. This is an activity where students taste healthy snacks and compare data. Of course, if a field trip isn’t possible, this activity can be completed using produce from the local grocery store, as well.
– Apples by Gail Gibbons
– 3 different kinds of apples (preferably yellow, green, and red) cut into slices for each child, enough for each child to taste each apple. Keep one uncut apple for each kind of apple.
– 3 bowls for apples
– 3 blank paged booklets labeled “My Apple Tasting Book” for each child
– Small Paper plates for each child
– Small yellow, green, red cut out paper apples for graphing
– Large Graphing Paper
– Glue or tape
1. Over the course of the week, read the book Apples by Gail Gibbons to the class. Have students learn about apples by engaging in books and discussion about apples. If given the opportunity, take a field trip to a farm or apple orchard that provides an experience for students to pick apples and taste apple cider.
2. For each child, prepare a booklet by printing a cover page titled “My Apple Tasting Book” and stapling into it 3 pieces of paper. Distribute the booklets and ask each student to write their name on the cover.
3. Prepare a vertical bar graph titled “Our Favorite Apples.” Label the x-axis “Apples” and allow space for individual bars representing each of the apple colors in (ie yellow, green, red). Label the Y-axis “Number of Students”.
4. Prepare the apples by cutting them into snack sized slices and placing into 3 separate bowls, with each bowl containing apples of the same color (yellow, green, red)
5. Show students the first apple they will taste and have them draw the apple on the first page of their booklet. The distribute plates containing a slice of that same color apple to each child and allow then to taste it. Repeat the same process for the remaining two apples.
6. After the apple tasting is over, ask the students to secretly decide which color apple they thought tasted the best.
7. Then have students come up individually and glue the color paper version of their favorite tasting apple to the vertical bar graph.
8. Provide an opportunity for a class conversation about the favorite apple of the class using more, less and equal vocabulary.
Another project that can be used as an alternative to apples involves the use of three different sizes of pumpkins. Pumpkin predicting is an activity that enhances topics of vocabulary, predicting, and counting in groups.
– 3 pumpkins (small, medium, large)
– Labels ‘small, medium, and large’
– Carving knife
– 3 bowls
– Cooking tray
– One big box of plastic cups
1. Present the three pumpkins to the class and ask the students to describe them. Then label the pumpkins ‘small, medium, and large’.
2. Ask students to predict which pumpkin will have the most seeds as well as the total number of seeds.
3. Take the pumpkins home and label three bowls small, medium, and large. Carve around the stem of each pumpkin until you can pull the top off. Then, with a spoon, scoop out the seeds from each pumpkin into the correctly labeled bowl.
4. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. While the oven preheats, wash the seeds. Then bake the seeds in the oven for about 45 minutes. Once they are dried put them into plastic bags labeled ‘small, medium and large’.
5. Take the pumpkin seed bags back to class and instruct students to divide into three groups. Each group will be responsible for counting one of the pumpkin seed bags.
6. Distribute cups to each group and instruct the students to count out 10 seeds into each cup.
7. When groups are finished, count each group separately by 10s and then the leftovers by 1s.
8. Check and compare predictions with actual numbers.
Treat your students a variety of inside and outside experiences that bring full on the tastes, smells, sights, sounds, and textures of the fall season. It’s an exciting time for hands on learning! What fall fun will you provide your students this season?