Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Autumn Leaves, and supports the standard of applying scientific ideas to understanding the chemical properties of leaves and how they create color change. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of creative projects.


Encourage students to use their experience of the changing seasons to help them make sense of this natural phenomenon.

Prompts for regions where leaves change color in fall:

Ask questions like:

  • Where we live, leaves change color in the fall. What are some things we know about or experience in the fall that can help us understand this phenomenon?
  • What types of changes do we experience in the transition from summer to fall that can help us understand this phenomenon?

Students may recognize that the days are shorter in the fall, there is less sunlight, and the temperature starts to drop. Have students hold onto these ideas as scientific evidence that helps explain why leaves change color in the fall.

Prompts for regions where leaves do not change color in fall:

Display an image of a leaf that has changed colors and is no longer green.  Say:

  • We know that in some parts of the world leaves change color in fall? What do you know about these places? How do they differ from where we live? 


  • Read aloud the description below the Movie player.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding.
  • Have students read one of the following Related Reading articles: “Did You Know,” “Mother Nature,” or “Trivia” Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY
Students synthesize their ideas and express them through one or more of the following creative projects. They can work individually or collaborate. 

  • Make-a-Movie: Choose a region (maybe where you live) and make a movie explaining why leaves do or do not change color during fall.
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map connecting the chemical properties of leaves to the visible phenomenon that they create.
  • Creative Coding: Code a digital museum of differently colored leaves from different seasons and explain the chemical and seasonal factors that caused them to change color.


  • Reflect: After sharing creative projects with each other, students reflect on what they’ve learned about autumn leaves. Prompt them by asking questions such as: 
    • Why do leaves in some regions typically turn shades of orange, brown, and red in fall?
    • Why are there some places where leaves change color in fall and some places where leaves don’t change color?
    • Why do you think some years the autumn leaves are more vibrant than others?


Learn about other seasonal changes with BrainPOP’s Seasons Topic

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments