At-home and at school learning resources from Learning for a Sustainable Future
This week's theme focuses on the fall foliage that's taking place during this time of the year! As the days continue to grow shorter and sunlight becomes more and more scarce, the trees begin preparing for winter by pulling their nutrients back in for storage. As less and less sunlight is getting captured, we start to see greens fade and yellows, oranges, and reds emerge! The activities below will help you get outside and dive deeper into all the fascinating changes going on in the environment around us this fall season! As always during these times, be sure to practice outdoor learning in accordance with your local COVID guidelines and requirements.

Be sure to take a look at our Early October Step Outside Nature Guide to find out more about what the Monarch Butterflies, Golden-Crowned Kinglets, and Northern Canada Geese are up to during this time of the year!

Before you get outside and explore the beautiful fall season, we would love to hear your feedback! Let us know how Learning Inside Out has helped your learning & teaching from home or school and what you'd like to see more in the coming weeks! Click the button at the bottom of the page to fill out a brief form.
Grades K-2
Counting on Fall combines language, illustration, concepts of number sense, and information about animals and their habitats. This delightful picture book uses nature to engage students in learning about number concepts, including more or less, counting and simple addition. On each page is a colourful paper collage of a nature scene and a math problem to solve. Examples of the unique approach of the book include counting Monarch butterflies in groups of ten and recognizing the relative size of groups of milkweed pods. 

Activities
  • Read Counting on Fall and access the teacher's resource guide for activity suggestions link to math, language arts, science and visual arts
  • Explore the great outdoors with an Autumn Scavenger Hunt
  • Create your autumn art collage with this Squirrel and Acorn cut out. Create a new scene for the book!
  • Take the learning outside to play an easy version of the Migration Headache game for primary students
  • This Animal Seed Dispersal Game gets students outdoors to learn how some trees use squirrels to disperse their seeds
  • Have students design a new method of seed dispersal for an animal of their choice
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Grades 2-4
In this fall activity, students adopt a tree and observe it throughout the autumn months. The goal is to deepen students' awareness of individual trees and encourage a greater understanding and appreciation of their local environment. The students will observe their tree for changes by measuring, monitoring and noting the differences. They will choose a leaf a day from their tree to illustrate leaf colour and record the dates. They will create a colour timeline to show how the colours have changed and conduct an experiment to discover which colours are hiding in the leaves.


Activities
  • Go for a walk and look for Signs of Fall. Create leaf rubbings and investigate why the leaves of deciduous trees change colour in the fall
  • Read or listen to Leaf Man. After reading the book, take students on a nature walk to collect leaves in the schoolyard or neighbourhood. Remind students to be on the lookout for leaf people or other leaf pictures they might see as they collect their leaves. Have students create their own leaf man
  • Older students can arrange the leaves into animal shapes then photograph their art collage. Need some inspiration? Check out Look What I did with a Leaf! Share your photos with us at #LearningInsideOut
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This innovative activity pairs nature and math to reinforce area and perimeter concepts. Students locate leaf specimens and then use rulers, string and graph paper to calculate the area and perimeter of each sample. This activity helps students deepen their understanding of such measurements by calculating the area and perimeter of different leaves.
 


Activities
  • Organize the leaf tracings from smallest to largest in area and observe the results; guiding questions: Are you surprised by the placement of any of the leaves? Why? Look at the leaves with the largest area. How are they similar? Look at the ones with the smallest area. How are they similar? Are there any leaves whose shape is different but areas are similar?
  • Using perimeter measurements, reorder the leaf tracings from the shortest to longest and observe the results; guiding questions: How has the order changed? Does the leaf with the largest area have the greatest perimeter? Does the leaf with the smallest perimeter have the smallest area? Is there a relationship between area and perimeter? Why or Why not?
  • Have students participate in a Fall Leaf Scavenger Hunt. Using the leaves students have collected, have them divide the leaves into groups and create a leaf bar graph with sidewalk chalk or other tools!
  • Leaf Hunt has students learn to identify and label different types of leaves.
  • Autumn is an amazing time to move out of the classroom and create some Poetry in the Schoolyard by having student explore a local habitat with their senses.
  • Find out why leaves change colour and other activities to enhance the learning outdoors
  • Squirrels in your schoolyard, check out our Patterns of adaptation: Observing Squirrels at Home resource to discover many of the adaptive factors in squirrels' choices of nest sites
 
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Grades 4-12
Get outside to play Migration Headache, a highly entertaining game that simulates the fall migration of many of our shorebird and waterfowl species. Students become migrating birds, travelling between their nesting habitats and wintering grounds. Along the way, participants experience first-hand many of the threats that affect migratory waterfowl and shorebird populations. In addition to bringing meaning to the term migration, this activity provides real examples of limiting factors and demonstrates in concrete terms the significance of habitat destruction.

Activities
  • With middle and secondary students, play Precarious Paths and map the migration paths of mystery shorebirds
  • Imagine that students are migratory shorebirds and have them design an illustration that conveys the length and difficulty of their trip. Remind students to add in the landmarks, habitats, and stopover sites they pass over along their way with Bird's Eye View
  • Try the Migration Challenge to learn more about birds that migrate.
  • Learn more about migration with Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: Saving Migratory Animals
  • Download real bird migration and temperature data to analyze the habitats that the birds are using to determine which lands we need to conserve to protect the species
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Grades 9-12
Students examine decomposition processes in a package of leaves placed in a stream or pond. This lesson extends the exploration of energy flow in ecosystems. Students learn to identify species of invertebrate decomposers, and they observe the conversion of matter and energy from dead to living organisms. They discuss what happens to the leaf tissue after the invertebrates and bacteria do their work. Where does the energy go? Where does the matter go? To relate these ideas to earlier concepts, students build a new food web, including decomposers. They learn about trophic levels and identify them in their food web. (Page 49 of resource)

Activities
  • Have students design an experiment using leaf packs to learn more about what happens to a leaf once it is in a pond or stream and what types of invertebrates are attracted to the leaf pack. (p.54 of resource)
  • What are the functions of those yellow and orange pigments we see in the fall? Try The Hidden Colors of Autumn experiment to discover why leaves change colors in the fall and relate this to the function of a leaf and rate of photosynthesis
  • Learn to prepare some Leaf Slides to explore the unique features, details and functions of leaves. Repeat this activity in other ecosystems or habitats to compare/contrast leaves
  • Find the Hidden Colours of Leaves Complete this science activity, to uncover hidden colors by separating plant pigments with a process called paper chromatography.
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About Learning Inside Out

Above you will find a selection of activities, broken down by various grade levels. These guides will be released weekly and archived on our Learning Inside Out page, so you can always access the full catalogue.

All activities have been modified from resources on our R4R database, simplified and adapted for both outdoor learning in the school yard or at-home as needed. The activity descriptions below should contain all the information and links that you need!

If you'd like to view the full original resource on R4R, including curriculum connections for every province/territory, click the activity title.

We want this guide to work for you, so your feedback is invaluable to us.
Use the feedback button at the bottom of this Guide, or email us at info@LSF-LST.ca. We would also love to see photos of students engaging in the activities, please e-mail us any pictures or videos you have!
Let us know how this helped your learning and teaching from home or at school indoors and (hopefully) outdoors and what you'd like to see more of by filling out our brief feedback form!
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Please share widely with any parents and teachers in your life!
Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF) is a Canadian charity with over 25 years of experience working within the education system. Our Resources for Rethinking (R4R) database is an award-winning collection of resources that are peer-reviewed by certified teachers and connected to curriculum in all provinces and territories. R4R is recommended on many Ministry of Education websites.
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