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Why do leaves change color in the fall?
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Why do leaves change color in the fall?
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DISCUSS:

Why do you think leaves change color in the fall?

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Overview
Grade K-5
Topic Current Events And Trending Topics
Focus Biodiversity, Plant Life Cycle
Print Prep
Activity Prep

In this mini-lesson, students discover how and why some tree leaves change color when the weather starts to get colder. In the activity, Falling for Leaves, students make crayon rubbings of tree leaves, then take a closer look to observe the characteristics of leaves in their own neighborhood.

Preview activity

Number of students:
Community Tree Branches (Grades 3-5) printout
The template has 2 pages that are the exact same except for orientation of the branches. We suggest giving half your students one template and half the other template so that your final Community Tree will have an equal number of branches on both sides of the trunk.
Print 15 copies
Community Tree Trunk (Grades 3-5) printout Print 2 copies
Leaf Shapes (Grades K-2) printout Print 30 copies
Leaf Thanks Card (Grades K-2) printout Print 30 copies
Leaves In My Town Guide (Grades 3-5) printout Print 30 copies
Crayons
90 crayons
Glue Sticks
Only needed for Grades 2-5
Details
30
Leaf
Fresh, flat leaves work best.
Details
30
Rulers
Only needed for Grades K-1
Details
30 rulers
Scissors
Only needed for Grades 2-5
Details
30
Scrap Paper (8.5 x 11")
60 sheets
Prep Instructions

We suggest students work in pairs. Homeschool students can complete the activity on their own.

Have Students Gather Leaves

We find that fresh, flat leaves work best. After a few days, the leaves dry out and become brittle and difficult to use for leaf rubbings. If students collect their own leaves and bring them into class, we recommend choosing leaves that are smaller than the size of their hand. If you have trouble finding leaves in your area, you can always use lettuce or other leafy greens from the local supermarket.

Prepare Your Community Tree Trunk

  • Cut out the pieces of the tree by cutting along the dashed lines of the Community Tree Trunk printout.
  • Arrange the pieces on your wall using tape or sticky dots to hold the paper in place. Watch this video to see how we did it.
  • Each student will need a piece of tape or sticker to attach their Tree Branch to the Tree Trunk.

A Note on the "Leaves In My Town Guide"

In Grades 2-5, students will try to identify their leaf using the "Leaves In My Town Guide." The guide can help to identify leaves that are collected from trees. The guide focuses on the leaves of deciduous trees so it does not include any evergreen conifers.

Overview
Grade K-5
Topic Current Events And Trending Topics
Focus Biodiversity, Plant Life Cycle
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