Never miss a chance to engage in a little science.
As the leaves start to change color and the weather gets a little crisper, it’s safe to say that fall is officially in the air. With the changing of seasons, the doors open for you and your child to do some exploring STEM style. Remember, STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math education and there is a little of that all around as autumn begins to knock on the door.
One of the best parts about fall is seeing all the foliage and reaping the fruits of a summer’s worth of labor by visiting an apple orchard or pumpkin patch. Taking a family Saturday trip to your local apple orchard or pumpkin patch allows you and your children to get outside and it opens the doors for some fun science projects as well. To begin, make sure you bring a bag of apples home from the apple orchard. Once you are home, let the questions begin. Start by asking your child if they know why apple brown and whether or not they think apples float. Then, help them make a hypothesis and set up an experiment. Slice the apples and talk about what they think will happen. Add a little lemon juice to one, a little vinegar to another, and maybe a little water to a third, leaving the fourth one plain. Then observe the apples every day and talk about what might be causing them to turn brown faster or slower. According to Little Bins for Little Hands, you can also do projects with leaves and pumpkins. Learn how and teach students how to make “Salt Crystal Fall Leaves” or make a “Pumpkin-Cano” complete with green, ghoulish lava.
Research Fall Ideas
For little ones who thrive on technology, allow them to do a little research. Discuss different ideas about fall with your kids and then let them choose a topic to learn more about. At the next family dinner, you can talk about what they found during their search. This type of technology use is also a great opportunity for you to talk to your children about Internet safety.
Pick Your Favorite Pumpkin
I know many of us to have little tykes who are into Hot Wheels and we have just the project for you. Pick out your favorite pumpkin from the pumpkin patch and with the help of an adult, make a sweet pumpkin tunnel. To add to the fun, make it a competition between friends or siblings. You can judge based on design or ability to get through the tunnel with ease and no goo. For advanced kids, you can have them use technology and engineering to put together a tub that circulates water so when people bob for apples it’s not as much of a germ problem.
Another way to use engineering and math with the flavor of autumn still in the air is to have your kids build structures out of candy pumpkins. Incorporate math by only giving them a certain number of pumpkins with the engineering challenge of making those pumpkins hold an object that weighs a certain amount.
There are so many ways to make STEM fun all year round but with the changing of the season, science is all around us. Getting your kids excited about STEM learning at a young age has so many benefits and we should capitalize on them when the opportunity is ripe. So get out there with your kids and as Miss Frizzle would say, “Get messy, make mistakes!”