Here are some fun fall experiments and projects filled with explore Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.
1. Pine Cone Weather Station
Did you know that pine cones can predict the weather? Well, sort of. Pine cones open and close depending on the humidity in the atmosphere. Check out this fun project from The Happy Scientist to make your own pine cone hygrometer (an instrument used for measuring the water vapor in the atmosphere). If you don’t have much humidity change where you live, try enclosing an open pine cone in a jar with some warm water. The warm water will increase the water vapor and the pine cone will close. Try putting closed pine cones in a dehydrator or very low temperature oven. Does the pine cone close?
Pine Cone Hygrometer – https://thehappyscientist.com/content/pine-cone-weather
2. Hidden Colors in Leaves
Ever wonder why leaves change colors in the fall? When the days start to shorten after the fall equinox it signals plants that winter is coming. With the reduced hours of sunlight, the chlorophyll in plants begins to break down. As the green chlorophyll breaks down, the other pigments that were in the leaves all along are revealed. See a rainbow of colors in the leaves in your area with this leaf chromatography project from Playdough to Plato.
Leaf Chromatography – http://www.playdoughtoplato.com/leaf-chromatography
3. Shrunken Apple Head
I still remember making shrunken apple heads in elementary school. This is a fun project for any age. Carve up an apple and watch it become a fun and spooky shrunken head. Try making the face of your favorite superhero or cartoon character. Check out the tutorial from Yet Another Mom Blog and make a family of shrunken apple heads of your own.
Shrunken Apple Head – http://www.yetanothermomblog.com/posts/shrunken-apple-heads/
4. Pumpkin Catapult
You had me at “catapult”. Not only is this a fun project build, it is also great for physics experiments. Build a pumpkin catapult and test how far different size pumpkins fly. How does the flight distance change if the crossbar is stops the catapult arm at different angles? Create a graph and chart the weight, circumference, and catapult position with the flight distance. This project will be fun year round! Find the steps to make your own pumpkin catapult at We Know Stuff.
Pumpkin Catapult – http://www.weknowstuff.us.com/2016/10/pumpkin-catapult-for-kids.html
5. DIY Fall Garland
I love fall decor and feeling festive as the seasons change. This easy DIY fall garland looks great and is a fraction of the cost of the garland at your favorite home decor store. Check out my tutorial and make your own DIY fall garland for under $5.
DIY Fall Garland – http://steampowereddiy.com/diy-fall-garland/
6 . Fall Star Gazing
If you are in the mood for some fall stargazing, check out Eyes on the Sky’s star charts for Autumn Constellations. For added fun, chart the path of the constellations week to week, make flash cards to match to the constellations, or draw the constellations and connect the dots to bring them to life. If you want to add a little tech to your viewing, check out these star gazing apps to help identify stars, constellations, planets, and satellites.
Constellations – http://www.eyesonthesky.com/StarCharts/AutumnConstellations.aspx
7 . Grow a Pumpkin
While I’m a huge fan of roasted pumpkin seeds, this year try using them to grow your own pumpkin. For even more fun, grow a pumpkin inside another pumpkin. Wait, what?!? Yes, you can grow a pumpkin without scooping the seeds out. This project is great for showing the life cycle of a pumpkin along with being fun and festive. You can also turn this into an experiment by testing different amounts of sunlight, water, soil make, etc. on the pumpkins to see which combination works best.
Pumpkin Life Cycle – http://www.lifewithmoorebabies.com/2013/04/growing-pumpkins-in-pumpkins.html