Teaching Ideas : Autumn Watch

During the first half of the autumn term, the children can spend time observing and recording how the natural landscape around the school is changing during this season of the year.

Working in science, the children can investigate different ways that seeds are dispersed from plants. The class can make hides to observe animal behaviour during the autumn season as they prepare for the winter.

Tree Colours
Get the class to track changes to some of the deciduous trees found in the school grounds or a local park. Tell each of the children to select one tree to record how they are changing. Help them select and use vocabulary to describe changes to the colour shades of leaves on the tree over a number of weeks. The children can practise mixing powder paints to create colour shades illustrating how the leaves are changing during the autumn. They can make a triptych of pictures showing stages of changes from the end of summer to the end of autumn. Provide the children with the template shape of a bare tree which they can adapt by adding leaf shapes using different coloured shades to create their artwork.

Animal Hide
Help the class observe how the behaviour of animals change during the autumn. The children can use a large cardboard box to make a hide to sit under in the school grounds or local park. Get them to cut out a rectangle shape in one side of the box. The class can decorate the boxes with some fallen leaves and twigs. Tell the children to place their box close to some trees or bushes. Get them to make observations about the behaviour of animals that they can view from the hide. Back in the classroom, get some children to share their observations. Discuss with the class preparations that animals are making for the forthcoming winter during the autumn.

Weather Data
The class can develop their measurement skills by recording data showing how the weather is changing during the autumn. The children can use an empty plastic bottle to make a gauge to measurement rainfall in millimetres. They can practise using thermometers to read scales to record how the temperature changes during this time of year. The class could also use some computer sensors to measure the speed of the wind on different days during the autumn. Help the children present their collected weather data using a range of different charts and graphs.

Seed Collages
Spend time getting the children to identify the main ways that seeds are dispersed from the mother plant during the autumn by wind, by explosion and by animal (eating and transporting) . Get the class to collect examples of seeds from around the school grounds or a local park. The children can use the collected materials to make a collage of an autumn leaf. Tell them to annotate their leaf showing how the seeds they have collected are dispersed from the mother plant. You can use the completed seed collages to create a display in the classroom showing how trees change during this time of the year.

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