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Outdoor STEAM Expeditions: Leaf Sorting

Marnie Forestieri
Written by Marnie Forestieri

National S.T.E.M./S.T.E.A.M. Day on November 8th kicks off a week of S.T.E.A.M. ahead!  

The day inspires kids to explore and pursue their interests in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.

Get your child excited about STEAM with an outdoor adventure to find out the job of a leaf.

In this activity you will gain an understanding of what leaves have in common and what makes them different and find out the job of a leaf: to make food.

You will need to the following materials for the expedition: water, cameras, measuring tools,(rulers, Unifix or cubes) plants and plastic bags for the expedition.

During the expedition you can  listen to your child's ideas and discuss with them while gathering leaves of different shapes and sizes.

Learning Together

Here's How to begin the Expedition

 

  • Head outside with your child and ask, "Do you know what the job of a leaf is? Engage your child in a conversation about different parts of the tree (roots, trunks, branches, leaves) and record your child's initial ideas.
  • Engage your child in a conversation about the initial observations while collecting leaves from different kinds of trees with different shapes and colors.
  • Bring the collection inside and make comparisons and observations. You can sort leaves by size, color, and texture.
  • Add some math activities by measuring leaves using unifix cubes or a ruler.
  • At the end of the activity, you will discover that plants need three things to make their own food. They need Water, Carbon Dioxide, and Light for a process called photosynthesis. Regardless of their shape or size,  all leaves have the same job - to help make food for the plant.

 

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