A breeze blows by with just a touch of crispness after a long hot summer and you know Fall must be right around the corner. Visions of pumpkins, corn mazes, and colored leaves falling to the ground start dancing around in your head. You want to include these things in your homeschool, but wonder how can we study about Fall.
That’s where a nature study comes in – allowing you all to go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather and colors and study the world around you all at one time.
You can pick a subject, have your kids pick from some topics, or go on a nature walk and start a nature study from what you have observed during your walk.
Here are some ideas in how to conduct a fall nature study to get you started:
Apple orchards are picking apples and maybe even hosting festivals or farm days. What a great fieldtrip to take before or after your study of apples.
You might want to start off with cutting an apple open and looking at the seeds. From there explore the cycle of life of an apple from the seeds to the sapling to the tree to the apple blossom with the apple (fruit) growing behind it and back to the seeds.
From there, you could study how do seeds get dispersed and study the different ways they become dispersed to be planted and grow again, maybe a ways from where the original apple tree was standing.
You could read the legend of Johnny Appleseed and his contribution to the apple tree population.
Have a blind taste test of different apples and have a family survey of which apples are the favorites. Try some apple recipes – pies, breads, muffins, fritters and donuts.
Pumpkins can be studied in the same way. Visit a pumpkin farm that still has the pumpkins on the vine. Cut open a pumpkin and study the seeds and examine their life cycle.
You can roast the seeds or purchase a baking pumpkin and try different pumpkin recipes.
Birds migrate during the Fall, a perfect time to observe the changing population of types of birds in your backyard. Look at a book about local birds in your area and note which ones are native to your area during specific seasons or all year round.
Study the patterns of migration of birds, maybe one specific kind from your area and where it goes during the winter months and will return to your area in the spring. There are books about why birds migrate as well as how. They know the path to take every migration season and follow it without fail. Study the force of magnetism around the Earth and how it influences the birds’ behaviours.
Changing Leaf Colors
Here is a whole science study in photosynthesis and the role of chlorophyl in a leaf. There are a number of experiments you can conduct about chromatography. You can study the parts of the leaf and their roles, as well as the different shapes of different kinds of leaves. You can move onto why do some leaves change color while others stay green or are not leaves at all but needles.
Crafts are fun during this time of year with colored leaves too, from pressed leaves to leaf rubbings to preserving leaves and making your wreaths.
As you take your nature walk, you can observe squirrels or chipmunks gathering acorns. You can discuss where do the acorns come from and what they are (back to the cycle of life for a tree again) and how they assist these animals in preparing for winter.
These are just a few ideas to get you started in your Fall nature study.
If you are interested in more ideas with suggested book titles, activity and experiment ideas, links to printables, questions to ask on nature walks, and notebooking pages to make a nature journal you might be interested in Autumn Nature Study and More. For an extensive study of leaves and their change in the fall with activities, printables, and worksheets, you might be interested in Leaves Change Color in the Fall.
To assist you in preparing for you nature “hike”, as my guys used to call it, we always prepared for it with the proper supplies. I have a free printable Nature Hike Checklist of all the proper supplies to bring along.
If you wish to study science all year along, our Nature Study, Nature Journals, and Poetry Through the Year is an economical purchase providing you with everything you need for a year and more!