mystery The answer to the clues may be found at the bottom of this column.    Teachers and Parents: Enter to win an entire set of Dawn’s nature books of one title for your home or classroom. It's fun and easy!
Just read the clues below. They describe an aspect of nature—a plant, animal, mineral, habitat, or natural process.
When you're ready to make your guess about who or what I am, click ENTER NOW.
Who Am I?
spacerglass1 Clue 1:  I'm a member of the "dog family."
glass1 Clue 2:  I live throughout North America in deserts, prairies, forests, and even in towns and cities.
glass1 Clue 3:  You might hear me howling at night to communicate with my pack.
glass1 Clue 4:  Don't let me trick you—I am NOT a wolf.
Do you think you know who I am? ENTER NOW.
Entries should be submitted no later than noon on Friday.
If you guessed correctly, you’re automatically entered into the monthly drawing for a set of nature books from Dawn Publications.
A contest winner will be announced at the end of September.
Throughout the school year, clues for a new Who Am I are posted no later than Sunday night, so you can use them with your class on Monday morning.Good luck!
The answer to last week's mystery was: SEASHELLS Although Inside Outside Nature blog is changing it's focus, this weekly "Who Am I?" will remain the same! Teachers, click here to get ideas about how to use the contest with your students.  

Monthly Archives: October 2012

Delicious Autumn

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”  ~ George Eliot

I love autumn! Last week I enjoyed autumn in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The deciduous forests were vibrant with color as the leaves of maple, beech, and aspen trees  turn red, orange, and yellow.

But what makes tree leaves change from green to these incredible autumn colors? It all has to do with photosynthesis—how trees make their food using sunlight and a pigment in their leaves called chlorophyll. It’s the chlorophyll that gives leave their green color.

As temperatures drop and the days become shorter, trees stop making food and the amount of chlorophyll inside of leaves decreases. With less chlorophyll, the other colors in leaves (orange and yellow) become visible. These colors were in the leaves all summer, but the green color of the chlorophyll covered them up. When the chlorophyll leaves, the leaves show their other colors.

Red, purple, and brown colors are the result of other chemical reactions that occur inside leaves when the temperature drops. Leftover food (glucose) in leaves causes red and purple colors, and waste products in leaves cause a brown color.


Outside: Autumn Acrostic

Poetry is a natural form of writing to do outdoors. For example, such well-known poets as William Wordsworth and Robert Burns wrote poetry outside. Have children write an acrostic poem about fall. An acrostic poem is a poem that uses the letters of a word to begin each line vertically. Off of each vertical letter, another word or phrase is written that begins with the same letter. For example:


F alling temperatures
A utumn activities
L osing leaves
L eaving summer behind


Get specific directions for writing autumn acrostics at Teacher Vision.


Inside: Leaf Rubbings

The only materials you need are leaves, crayons, and white paper. If possible have children collect fall leaves of all shapes and sizes. If that’s not possible, you can bring in a variety of leaves you’ve collected. You can use green leaves.

Directions for students:

  1. On a piece of plain white paper, position leaves vein side up in a pattern that you find pleasing.
  2. Lay another sheet of plain white paper over the top of the leaves.
  3. Select the crayons that you would like to use to create your rubbing and peel off the paper wrappers.
  4. Turn a crayon on its side and gently rub over the top sheet of paper.
  5. The leaf images will magically appear on the paper! This is a great way to see the veins and differences in leaves!
  6. Experiment with different crayon colors and leaf arrangements.


More Leafy Fun and Facts

Find out more about photosynthesis and chlorophyll at the Real Trees 4 Kids.

Help kids use their imaginations (and some paper, glue, and a pen or pencil) to turn leaves into a whimsical menagerie with these directions from Family Fun.


Get lots of ideas for inside and outside leaf activities and projects at Kid Activities.

For young children, Martha Stewart describes in detail how kids can create a “Leaf Alphabet” display for the classroom.