October 28

Learning and Doing-A Fall Experience!

Why do deciduous leaves change color and fall from the trees each Autumn? Look at these leaves carefully. What happens to the green pigment in the leaves? Are the orange, red, and yellow colors always in the leaves or are those pigments created in the fall ?

Click here for the  Safeshare link for the following video.

Click here for the Safeshare link for the following video.

Try this easy chromatography experiment to determine which pigments are in the leaves you find or in house plants. Chromatography is a process that can be used to isolate the various components of a mixture based on the different rates of absorption. Paper chromatography uses capillary force to move the solvent and the sample up the paper strip. The most soluble compounds of the sample will go farther. The number of bands tells you how many compounds are in your substance.

Watch the video for directions. I used filter paper, but coffee filters will work too. Click here for the Safeshare link.

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October 26

Diversity and Young Children

How can you introduce the concept of diversity to young children? I like to begin a discussion through observing creation. Examining items from the natural world is a simple and effective way to see the variety and uniqueness of both living and nonliving objects. I collected oak leaves from a single branch and cockle shells from a small area on the beach. The apples are all Gala apples. Although they are the same, they are different. What do you notice? Take a walk and look for diversity. Of course, discussing the similarities and differences in siblings is fun too!

The richness of diversity adds to the beauty of our world!

October 21

Ideas for Young Scientists

North Fulton Master Gardeners present lecture series every year on a variety of subjects. I’ve become a fan! This presentation is filled with creative gardening ideas for families and educators. At the end of the video, she presents valuable resources.
Click here for a Safeshare link for the following video.

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October 21

Previous Post Extension

I especially enjoy connecting science with art. In my previous post, I made a bouquet of fall leaves. Afterwards, I was inspired to collect foliage and create seasonal bouquets. This activity would be fun to do with your family or students. As you collect items, look at the plant parts. Fall is an opportune time to look at seeds, especially in grasses. I only had white chalk, but use colored chalk to design a variety of vases to display your collection. Discuss color and composition. Take photos of your arrangements and create cards or transfer the arrangement to a jar or vase to display inside or outside.

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. Maya Angelou


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October 9


After all the rain, I discovered a variety of mushrooms or toadstools, during my morning walk. They seem to appear overnight. Why? What do you know about mushrooms? Although they have some characteristics of plants and animals, they don’t belong to either group. Be a mycologist and learn more about these decomposers in the video below.

Click here for the Safeshare link for the following video.

Mushrooms are usually not studied in elementary school, but they would make for an interesting multidisciplinary study. Look for mushrooms with your children when you go grocery shopping and add this healthy fungus to favorite dishes, such as pasta, omelets, and pizza. Hunt for them on a nature walk, but remind your young scientists never to eat wild mushrooms. Click here to order organic mushrooms to grow at home.

Mushroom in the Rain
Mushrooms are fun and simple to draw. Students will enjoy designing their own mushrooms and adding small animals or insects in their compositions.

October 5

Interesting Plants

In my garden, I try to have a few unusual specimens each year. These are my favorites:

Shrimp Plant- Click here to find out more. My shrimp plant died back last winter, but regrew this spring.

ChenilleClick here to learn more. It’s the perfect hanging plant!

Turks Cap-“This is one shrub that grows really fast and grows about 6-7 ft. tall and about 4-5 ft wide.  It is a hardy shrub that can tolerate the hot southwest sun or the cold 20-18° degree cold weather.”