This Fall STEM Challenge will not only get kids outside and engaged with nature, it will also encourage them to use their creativity and problem solving skills to create a leaf sculpture greater than 6 inches tall.
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FALL STEM Challenge for Kids: Leaf Sculptures
Objective: This lesson will engage early childhood children (Preschool to 3rd Grade) in STEM skills to design and build a leaf structure that is more than 6 inches tall.
STEM Skills Presented in this Lesson:
Science: Children will explore their natural world and learn about photosynthesis and chlorophyll.
Technology: Watch a video clip to introduce children to the terms of colors changing.
Engineering: Design and Build a leaf sculpture that is over 6 inches tall.
Math: The students will measure their leaf sculptures and record their height to the nearest inch on a group chart.
STEP 1: Nature walk and collect fallen leaves
Go on a walk. Observe the changes fall brings to the natural world. Talk about it.
- What colors do you see?
- How are the leaves changing?
- Where are the leaves?
Collect leaves of varying shapes and colors.
Teacher Notes. Even the youngest child may enjoy and learn from using correct terminology. This helps them to develop a deeper vocabulary base and understanding of scientific concepts. It’s OK and even encouraged to use the BIG words for science. Photosynthesis is the name for the way that plants use sunlight to make sugars for their food. Chlorophyll, gives leaves their basic green coloring. As the weather cools, leaves shut down their food making process. The chlorophyll, the green from the leaves – leaves.
STEP 2: Video
Watch a short video clip about the colors changing in the fall. Brain Pop Leaves Video. We use Brain Pop in our classroom, but I am including a free video clip from YouTube that I felt best described the process. It does contain ads. Sorry, I couldn’t find one without ads that was free!
STEP 3 : Set up the FALL STEM Challenge
1. For this challenge, the children will be asked to design a fall leaf sculpture that is greater than 6 inches high.
2. Solve the challenge
First brainstorm ways that you can solve the problem.
- Will you twist?
- Use sticks?
- Build a shape?
Then, try some of these ideas.
Step 4. Test your sculpture to see if it is greater than 6 inches.
If the sculpture is greater than 6 inches, then the child will record the data on a group T chart. This can be written on the white board or chart paper. On the left will have the student name, on the right, the height of their leave sculpture.
For more STEM + Art activities for young learners, I have co-authored the ebook, STEAM: Preschool Activities for STEM Enrichment, a collection of 25 hands-on STEAM challenges for young learners.
Bambini Travels says, “STEAM is an amazing collection of ideas for teaching science, technology, engineering, art, and math principles to young children. An easy to read format that is perfect for busy parents and teachers, this is a valuable resource for anyone working with young children. The wide variety of activities are carefully designed to appeal to a range of ages, interests, and abilities. I can’t wait to explore trains and magnets, create our own rainbows, and more. STEAM is thoughtfully written, creatively designed, and overall inspiring. “Read more about the book here