With all the natural changes going on in the world, fall makes for a great time to bring STEM activities into your classroom. From the changing and falling leaves, to temperature drops and plenty of interdisciplinary opportunities, fall STEM activities can help your students explore the changing world around them during this wonderful time of year.
Looking for STEM activities around specific dates? Check out our full STEM holiday event calendar.
To help spark your creativity we’ve compiled a list of great fall STEM activities below to get you started:
The leaves changing colors is one of the first signs that fall is here! Use this activity to help show your students what gives the leaves their amazing fall colors.
- Leaves of different colors
- Beaker or drinking glass
- Rubbing alcohol
- Plastic wrap
- White coffee filters
- Pens or pencils
- Gather leaves of different colors.
- Tear leaves into smaller pieces, sort them by color, and place them in a beaker or glass and add just enough rubbing alcohol to cover them. Then cover the beaker with plastic wrap to keep the alcohol from evaporating.
- Put the beaker or glass into a dish of hot water for about 30 minutes, or until you see the alcohol starts to turn colors as the pigments from the leaves are being absorbed.
- Cut a strip of your coffee filter about half an inch wide and tape it to a pencil. Suspend the pencil across your beaker/glass and let the strip just barely touch the alcohol and pigment mixture.
- Wait 30-90 minutes and you’ll start to see the color of the leaves travel up the coffee filter.
After the experiment you and your class can talk about photosynthesis and chlorophyll, the main pigment it uses!
Apple Oxidation Experiment
Fall is the time for apple picking, apple sauce, and apple pie! But isn’t it weird how an apple sliced in the morning turns brown by lunch time? You can use this next experiment to show students how oxidation works on one of their favorite foods.
- Sandwich bags
- Lemon juice
- Apple slices
- Permanent marker
- On your plastic sandwich bags, write the name of the different liquids you are going to test. You’ll also want one bag with no liquid in it as a control test.
- Put the various liquids in their respective bags.
- Put two apple slices in each bag, ensuring that the liquids coat each slice. Let the apple slices soak for two to three minutes.
- After two or three minutes have passed, pour the excess liquid out of each bag.
- Check the bags every 10 to 15 minutes to see which ones turn brown and which ones stay fresh.
Before the experiment starts you can have your students guess which liquids will cause apples to oxidize faster or slower. Then afterwards, talk to your students about the why behind oxidation and what causes the appearance of the apples to change.
Code a Corn Field Maze
In this activity, your students need to help Kodable’s BlueFuzz explore Fuzztopia’s Corn Maze without getting lost!
- Drawing supplies
- Fuzz Fall Harvest Worksheet
- Print out worksheets for your students
- Watch the Fuzz Fall Harvest YouTube video above.
- Have your students draw a maze that connects the start and finish together.
- Students can cut out Fall harvest treats from page two of the worksheet to glue them to their maze.
- Finally, have students add any other fall decorations and then solve the corn maze!
This activity is a great unplugged coding activity to help introduce your students to think like a coder without having to use a computer.
You can give your students more opportunities to learn to think like a coder by using Kodable! This free programming game introduces your students to the basics of programming with engaging and fun self-paced lessons available on ios devices and online. Create your own Kodable account today to explore more programming activities for your students!
Open and Close The Pinecones!
Help your students investigate what happens when pinecones become wet and why they respond to moisture!
- Three mason jars
- Warm and cold water
- Place one pinecone in each of your three jars.
- Pour cold water into one jar and warm water into another. Leave the third jar without any water.
- Observe what happens to the pinecones when they become wet.
- Take the pinecones out of water and observe what happens to them as they become dry.
Before starting the experiment you can have students predict what they think will happen with the pinecones and then react afterward once they see it happen in real time.
Pumpkin Seed Secrets
Pumpkins can get messy, fast, but they also contain plenty of fun learning possibilities for your class. In this fall STEM activity, you and your students will measure, weigh, and estimate the number of seeds in a pumpkin. Note, for this activity it’s helpful to have already gutted and cleaned the pumpkins you’ll need to reduce the cleanup time necessary. But leave the seeds inside!
- A scale
- Measuring tape
- Measure the circumference and height of a pumpkin.
- Weigh the pumpkin on a scale and record the measurement.
- Estimate the number of seeds in the pumpkin before actually counting the seeds.
- Then, using another pumpkin repeat the process using the information you gained from the first pumpkin to improve your estimating.
This activity can be done in small groups after you do the initial demonstration with the whole class. You can also use this as an introduction to talking to students about ratios or general correlation between objects of different sizes. For example, helping students understand why a smaller pumpkin should have less seeds than a larger pumpkin.
Candy Corn Patterns
Fall means Halloween is approaching and Halloween means candy corn time is here! Use this fun worksheet below to get your students in the Halloween spirit while also helping them understand pattern recognition.
- Candy corn pattern worksheet
- Art supplies
- Print off worksheets for everyone.
- Go through the first example to demonstrate how to recognize what shape should go in the final spot.
- Let your students finish the worksheet and color all their candy corn in.
Pattern recognition is an important part of many STEM activities, especially coding where recognizing patterns can help developers reuse and reduce the amount of code they have to write.
Pumpkin Sink or Float
Isn’t it cool how some things float while others don’t? This next activity can be a great way to use pumpkins to introduce students to this concept.
- Pumpkins of different sizes
- A large container filled with water
- Fill up your container with water.
- Predict whether each pumpkin will float or sink when placed in water.
- Then test your student’s predictions by placing each pumpkin in water.
- Discuss which predictions were right and wrong.
This activity can be a great way to introduce or talk to your students about buoyancy and learning about what makes things of all shapes and sizes float.
Pumpkin Life Cycle
Help your students understand the life cycle of a pumpkin using visual aids and a discussion about what it takes for plants to grow.
- Pictures or props of pumpkins at various stages of development including seed, sprout, flower, green pumpkin, and orange pumpkin.
- Use your pictures or props to show your students the various life stages of a pumpkin.
- Ask your students to help you place the stages in order from beginning to end.
- Help your students get the stages in the right order and discuss how pumpkins grow from one stage to another.
Another variation of this activity is to plant your own pumpkin in your classroom to help your students experience some of this growth with their own eyes.
This next activity is one that you can introduce and then come back to over the course of a week or couple of weeks. By charting and graphing the changing weather outside of the classroom, you can help your students be more curious about the world around them.
- Chart paper
- Using graph paper or on a section of a bulletin board, create a graph of the days of the month and the temperature.
- Each day have a student or multiple students take a thermometer reading and update your chart to see the changing temperature day after day.
This can not only help your students be more curious about the world around them, but also makes for an easy and free classroom reward for a student or students.
STEM activities make for great classroom activities all year round! Create your own Kodable account today to make integrating STEM learning into your classroom easy and fun for everyone.