K - High School
Are you a science teacher looking for simple, low-cost ideas for the first day of fall? Ward’s has you covered.
Now that the first month of the new school year is almost over, you may be looking for some new inspiration. Try these 5 fun science ideas for the September equinox on the 22nd, or throughout the fall. Don’t worry: most are pretty easy (and free!).
1. A Stroll through Nature
Now’s the time to take your class outside (while it’s still dry). The outside environment can provoke lessons and conversations about a bunch of different subjects, depending on what you teach.
You could also have your students collect leaves, rocks, flowers—anything they find interesting or that represents the new season. This stimulates experiences that are meditative or expressive (especially in a culture of constant cell phone use and staring at screens like zombies).
2. Fun with Leaves
Have your students take those leaves they collected, add different kinds of lettuce and coleus or hosta, and do a leaf chromatography activity! Before the activity, students can form a hypothesis about the pigments they’d expect to see based on their leaf selection. Just use a variety of leaves with a higher water content.
Leaves and Seeds of Common Trees Identification Mount Set
Sixteen species of trees are represented (both leaves and seeds) in this stunning collection.
Teach elementary students? Try this leaf pigment activity oriented toward younger students.
3. Fall Around
Your students can search for pictures throughout the world of different places during fall. It would probably be best if they have pictures from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Have them make a collage and encourage them to be creative.
This could be a great way to launch into why the seasons change. Use a solar system model. Or you can have the students act as the Earth and the Sun. Close the curtains and give a flashlight to the one playing the Sun. Tell them about how the Earth is tilted forward. Try to question them so they find out by themselves how this causes a difference of seasons depending on whether you’re in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere.
Solar System Model
This three dimensional model is a great way to explain the solar system to students.
4. Out-of-This-World Equinoxes
The September equinox is occurring at 3:50 am on the 23rd. The sun will cross the celestial equator, and there will be (roughly) equal amounts of day and night on the Earth. But what about other planets? They have equinoxes too.
You could have student groups pick different planets and have them report on their tilts and equinoxes. After all, the universe doesn’t revolve around the Earth.
5. Might Makes Right
Physics teacher? You can use the change of seasons as a starting point to explain centripetal and centrifugal forces. Have a ball on a string (the Earth) and swing it around (just don’t don’t hit anyone!). The next trick you could try is swinging a bucket of water in a circle.
Or, just for kicks, students always love a flying pig.
Add some excitement to your lessons on circular motion with the Flying Pig.
There you have it. Five fun science ideas for the first day of fall. You can also use these as inspiration for your own ideas. Science activities don’t have to be fancy or expensive. Sometimes you just need a bit of creativity (and a little courage).
As always, if you have any questions about lesson plans or anything else, just ask the Ward’s Science Plus Us team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our in-house scientists and technicians are ready to answer even the toughest inquiries.