Leaves and Gravity

Preschool Rascals met this week and we made a big mess of leaves. The leaves are just beginning to turn and fall in our area, so there weren’t a whole lot to choose from on the ground and I had to *gasp* buy fake leaves for this weeks lessons.  However, this week also happened to be Leaf week in our nature study curriculum so my Kindy hooligan also go to do some fun projects with leaves.

Booklist:

Main title: Leaf Man, by Lois Ehlert

Supporting titles:

Resources:

 

For Preschool Rascals, we started our day with instruments and ABCs, as usual. We then read Leaf Man and looked for the shapes within the pictures. The kids really enjoyed finding animals made of leaves. We used that interest to transition to our sorting chart and review shapes and sort them into categories. We did some beginning patterning, too. After that, we needed to get some wiggles out so we read our Emily Bronte poem (the shortened version) and at the end we threw our piles of fake leaves into the air. This elicited some wide eyes and big giggles! I’m pretty sure they were surprised I encouraged a big leaf-y mess INSIDE THE HOUSE.

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The abridged version of Emily Bronte’s Fall Leaves Fall.

I set out cardstock and glue sticks and we gathered the leaves up and prepared to make Leaf People of our own. I had the laminator on standby and once they were done arranging and gluing the fake leaves into leaf people on their paper, we put them in laminating pockets and sealed them. This may have been their favorite part. Once the leaf people mats were cooled, we marched to the big table to make our snack- Leafy Spinach smoothies! Each Rascal helped to load the blender with the ingredient of their choosing (strawberries, spinach, a banana and almond/coconut milk) and then chose a straw to slurp through.  Once their tummies were full, we trekked outside for a science experiment and leaf ABC hunt! The Rascals did a great job of seeking out and identifying the leaf letters I had hidden throughout the yard.

We started learning about gravity by climbing into the playhouse to read our book about gravity and then we briefly talked about gravity’s job of pulling all things DOWN. To illustrate the point, we dropped our leaf letters from the top of the playhouse and watched them fall to the ground like leaves fall from trees. I had gathered various sizes and weights of baseballs, foam hockey balls, giant inflated balls and balls of all kinds prior to class. Then each rascal got to throw a ball from the playhouse while we watched it fall down to the ground, even if it did go UP first. It was a chaotic and interesting experiment. Further discussion will be needed for sure!

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We wrapped up the day with some name practice art on big felt maple leaves. I simply wrote each child’s name on a maple leaf and provided fabric paints with which they could trace their names… or, as most chose, simply decorate the leaf as they wished. This was super messy, but really fun to watch them get creative. This activity was also great to help with dexterity and building fine motor skills, as well as hand strength- Those little fabric paint and glitter glue bottles were tough to squeeze!

For my Kindergartener, we added some leaf science experiments about Cholorophyll and further exploration under a microscope. We read My Leaf Book (I highly recommend!) and completed the That’s My Leaf worksheet for several different kinds of leaves. All of this tied in nicely to the week’s lesson from our nature curriculum! We read the complete version of Emily Bronte’s poem and used the first lines (pictured above) as our copywork for the week. Then we illustrated it using these great leaf  stamps and mailed it to Grandma, who is an eager recipient of any projects and mail we send. I also found this blog post to be a great resource for ideas, and a good reminder that knowing and being able to label the parts of a leaf is pretty key knowledge.

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