Science Ideas Print
Delightful Surprises



Fall is an excellent time to study the weather because there are so many changes taking place. As you study, record daily sky conditions, temperature highs and lows, humidity, and precipitation. After studying the different types of clouds (cirrus, cumulus, and stratus), have the children reproduce each kind on posterboard using cotton balls.


What insects help each other out, hold meetings, follow leaders, dump their trash away from their living quarters, get each other’s attention by tapping their antennas on the head, and bury their dead? Not sure? Solomon recommends that we study these insects to learn important lessons about work, resourcefulness, covenantal living among our brethren, cleanliness, and generosity. You got it—ants!


Now I know that I always tell new homeschoolers that insects should be studied in the summer when you have insects to study, not in the winter when most textbooks have you study them, but when you can bring a community of ants into your own home, why not study them when every other insect has gone underground or died. Besides, when shipping ants, the safest time for them to travel is between October and April. So I recently surprised Josiah with a colony of ants. He and Jon put together his ant farm and then gently shook the ants into their new home. After traveling all the way from California, they were raring to roam their new abode, which made our first acquaintance quite enjoyable. Ants are truly amazing creatures and fascinating to watch!


We purchased our ant farm from Nature’s Workshop Plus! (888-393-5663 or When it arrived, we took out the ant order form and sent the form and minimal fee to Uncle Milton for our ants. They arrived safe and sound and quite ready to inhabit their new home.






[reprinted from There’s No Place Like Home book]


Make fall tissue paper trees. Using paint or marker, have children make a bare tree on posterboard. Then glue scrunched up fall-colored tissue paper on the branches for leaves.


Make a fall handprint tree by tacking up a long piece of freezer paper on a tree outside in the yard. Then using brown paint, have the children paint a tall bare tree on the paper. Let dry. Fill three bowls with tempera paint, one for each color—yellow, orange, and red. Then have the children place the flat of their hands on top of the colors of their choice. Allow the paint to drip off and then start making colored leaves all over your bare tree.







Use acorns and leaves as counters for addition and subtraction problems.


Make graphs of the fall months’ temperatures and precipitation.






My favorite fall book is Brambly Hedge Autumn Story, which tells a story about how mice make fall preparations for the winter. The illustrations are just adorable and have been a favorite fall tradition since my first child was very young.


Cut pretty shaped fall leaves out of orange, yellow, red, and brown construction paper. Each time a child reads a book, have him write the title on a leaf and hang on a bare tree on a bulletin board or just place on your refrigerator.


Make pretty shaped fall-colored leaf bookmarks out of construction paper; then cover with contact paper.