Saturday, October 24, 2015

Investigating the Colors of Leaves

We have some beautiful Ash trees on our playground that turn the most amazing colors in the Fall! The kids started noticing them and bringing leaves from them into our classroom. We have also been noticing changes in the weather as we look at the data we collect each day about the weather. We quickly realized this meant one thing. It was finally Fall! I asked them what they knew and wondered about Fall.

Since most of their questions had something to do with the colors leaves can be in the Fall I set out experiences to help them find out answers. 

I lined up paper of every color and when we found leaves we glued them to the paper. We also mixed colors to try to match the colors of leaves. 

I also set up an area where they could look closer at leaves and use art materials such as watercolors and Sharpie Pens to document what they noticed. I love combining art and science!

I set up an area where my sculptures could use clay to show what they noticed about trees. 

We went outside to look closer and document what we notice about our beautiful Ash trees. 

I also had an area for the kids to put things that have been falling off the trees lately! 

I thought they would just look at them but they wanted to know what was inside so they broke everything apart! The Buckeyes were particularly challenging! 

For fun toward the end I read Leaf Man and set out materials for the kids to create pictures out of leaves. Unfortunately I forgot to get pictures of their creations!

Our school also had a Family Fitness Hike at Cox Arboretum! What perfect timing! 

During our hike kids were busy collecting our classes favorite leaves which were the Sassafrass (because they liked to say "sassafrass"),

Sweet Gum (because they were shaped like a star), 

and Ginko leaves (because Ginko trees were around as far back as the dinosaurs and they thought it was cool that some dinosaurs actually ate Ginko leaves)!

When we were finished, we looked at our colored papers and were very surprised to find that purple was a color that leaves could become in the fall! Some of the Ash leaves on our playground even turned purple! 

As our end project we painted a tree using only the Fall colors that we found leaves for....

and displayed it in the hallway. 

We enjoyed looking closer together at the world around us during this beautiful Fall season!  I enjoy discovering things right along side them!

Some other things going on in our room are:

-Learning lots of new sight words that keep popping up in our reading and writing! We are finding them in a lot of books! 

-Retelling our favorite parts of stories in our Library Area,

-Writing riddle books where kids have to guess the hidden picture. The kids had to write one clue on the front.

-Exploring measurement.

This was an invitation to explore measuring our friends bodies to see how tall they were.

-Exploring patterns,

-Another teacher and I got our classes involved in a friendly rivalry between us before the Michigan/Michigan State football game. Our class learned the words GO and GREEN! (Amazing game, by the way!)

Many other things have been going on, but you will have to wait for the next blog post to find out!


  1. Ah-ma-zing!

    Did you laminate leaves to sort? Did they paint om the leaves? or just try to match the colors? and where are your white cup cake/ color mixing trays from? So excited to try this!

    1. I do have some laminated leaves. They have so far lasted me 3 years! The kids did not paint on the leaves though I love that idea too! They used water mixed with food coloring to try to match the colors of the leaves. The mixing trays came from United Arts and Education but I have also seen them at Hobby Lobby. Good luck!!
      Darla Myers

  2. Good morning!

    I really enjoyed reading this post because my kids are doing a color study as well! I noticed that you were using liquid watercolors for mixing, but did you do a similar experience with tempera? Did children do any color naming with this project? That has been one of the most exciting things that I have discovered during this color study... children come up with the best names for colors. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks! I did not do the color mixing with tempra and have them name the colors this time but I have in the past! I'm so glad that it worked so well for your class! The names are always so creative for the colors they mix! The kids did have fun mixing tempra on paper on the easels this year though! Thanks for sharing!

  3. What brand are your watercolors? They are so vivid!

  4. Hi there!

    I loved this post! I just have a question, do you set up all your centres at once and let the kids choose where to go, or do you put out enough for each student to do the activity at the same time? I have 19 in my group and I'm not sure how I would like to facilitate something like this. Thanks!

    1. I set up the centers and let the kids choose where to go. They do not have to do everything I set out. If it is something I want all of them to do, I will put out a class list for them to check off their names, or I will call them to the station.

  5. Love reading this post! How do the kids know if a center is full and need to go to another one? Do you do a lot of pre teaching and explaining how to wait when it's your turn? Also, do you usually go through each station explaining each one before they can go to it or do you just let the kids explore on their own?

  6. Thank you! I spend a lot of time teaching them how many can work in an area but I have to revisit that lesson often. We go through the reasons for the limits such as not enough materials and/or space for more friends and that when that happens, problems arise. Sometimes, if they really want one more friend, I will let them with the understanding that if they have problems and can't solve them themselves that they will have to make another choice. If I notice some only going to the same areas, I guide them to try new things. Every once in a while, I will do a rotation of the learning areas so that they can get a taste of the fun at each one, because they might not realize how much they enjoy it until they try it. I do go through each station, but sometimes it is just to show them what is available there and tell them I'm excited to see what they discover, notice, create, etc. there with those materials.
    Darla Myers