Math Fun with Fall Leaves

Math Fun with Fall Leaves

October 2, 2013

The air is getting crisp in many areas and the leaves are quickly changing colors. Families spend a lot of time outside looking at and collecting the beautiful leaves. Why not utilize Mother Nature’s bounty for some math extensions with a creative twist?

Count Observations and Tally Up

Head out for a walk and take time to talk about the environment. Be sure to bring a  bag to collect leaves. Older children may want a notebook to keep track of the items they see like the colors on the trees in your area. Think about questions that you can ask as you are out and about.

  • Do all of the trees with orange leaves look the same, or are they different?
  • Are there more trees that have red leaves than yellow?
  • How many trees still have green leaves left?

If you have a drawing pad or notebook, sketch a picture of each color or shape of leaf that you view. Go up and down your block and make tallies. Younger children can keep score, while children in early elementary school may want to make colorful graphs later on.

Collect and Sort Leaves

As you walk around, be sure to collect handfuls of leaves. When you get back home, empty the bag into a pile. Before you begin to sort them, ask questions based on the leaves that were collected. Include some that will predict an outcome.

  • Do you have any orange leaves?
  • Which color do you think will have the most before you count them?

Sort the leaves by color first. Count and record how many of each you have. Older children can attempt to sort the leaves by tree type. Younger children could practice making patterns with the leaves. If you place two red leaves, then a green one, what would come next? Have them continue patterns or make some of their own. Preserve your pretty patterns and hang them in the window for a sense of autumn cheer or make placemats for Thanksgiving dinner.

What other ways do you use the autumn elements to get creative with math?

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