Fall Science Activities for Elementary Students
Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. It starts off a little crazy with all the back to school chaos, but by mid-to-late September, things start calming down, the weather gets cooler, and the leaves change color. And that means it’s time to break out all the fun fall-themed activities! If you’re a teacher who loves fall like me, then you’ll love these fall science activities!
4 Fall Science Activities
#1: Apple Oxidation Experiment
Materials needed: 1 apple, a variety of liquids (such as water, lemon water, lemonade, sugar water, pure lemon juice, orange juice, water with honey, etc.), containers labeled for each liquid, 1 plate
Prep: Before starting the experiment, slice your apple into several pieces (1 slice for each liquid you are testing). Fill each container with your different liquids and label the containers accordingly. You may also wish to talk to your students about oxidation and why apples turn brown due to exposure to the air.
- Place one slice of apple into each container of liquid. Leave one slice that does not go into liquid as a control sample.
- Allow each apple slice to soak for about 3 minutes.
- Remove the apple slices and place on the plate. Set the container of liquid each was in behind each apple so you remember where each apple came from.
- Wait about 5-6 minutes for the apples to start browning.
- Observe and discuss. Which liquids were most effective in keeping the apples from browning? Why might this be?
#2: Dancing Corn
Materials needed: dried corn kernels, baking soda, white vinegar, clear glass jar
Prep: No prep is need for this experiment other than gathering your materials.
- Pour some corn kernels into your jar.
- Fill the jar about 2/3 full with white vinegar.
- Start pouring in baking soda. This WILL make a mess so do this part over a sink or bowl. Continue adding until the mixture gets fizzy and starts flowing out of the jar.
- Wait until the majority of the bubbles die down, then watch the corn dance!
- Observe and discuss. What is causing the corn to move up and down? See how long the corn will dance for!
#3: Candy Corn Dissolve
Materials needed: candy corn, a variety of liquids (such as water, vinegar, oil, and milk), clear containers labeled for each liquid, paper towels
Prep: Fill each container with a different liquid, using the same amount of liquid for each (such as one cup). Clearly label each container so you know which liquid it contains.
- At the same time, drop a piece of candy corn into each container.
- Watch as the changes immediately start taking place!
- Wait 5-10 minutes.
- Remove the candy corn and place on a paper towel.
- Observe the changes that occurred for each candy corn. Which liquid dissolved the candy corn the most? Which one dissolved it the least? Discuss theories on why these changes happened.
#4: Pumpkin Catapult STEM Challenge
Materials needed: popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, candy pumpkin
Prep: There is no prep needed for this fall science activity other than gathering the materials. You may wish to place your students in small groups and have each group complete the challenge.
Note: Students will build a catapult using the materials provided. I highly recommend showing them examples of catapults, but not telling them how to build it. Teach them about the design process and how to test and improve their design. That said, the steps are provided below so that you understand how to properly build a catapult for the purpose of aiding your students.
- Stack several popsicle sticks on top of each other and secure the ends with pipe cleaners.
- Stack 2 popsicle sticks on top of each other and secure only one end with a pipe cleaner.
- Slide the larger stack of popsicle sticks in between the 2 popsicle sticks. Secure in place by tying a pipe cleaner in an “X” shape around the center (see picture).
- Test out the catapults by placing a candy pumpkin on the end and launching.
- Discuss. How could you change your design to make the pumpkin go even farther?
For more fall STEM challenges, click here.
Which of these fall science activities will you be trying first? I always love a good STEM challenge, but the I also really enjoyed watching the dancing corn!