Grade Levels: K-3

This page provides information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about fall. It is designed to complement the Fall topic page on BrainPOP Jr.

Ask children to describe the weather in the fall. Help them understand that fall days can be warm with cool breezes, and the nights can be chilly. Ask children what kind of clothing they wear in the fall. Many people wear pants and light sweaters and jackets, depending on where they live. Fall days become shorter as winter approaches. Hurricanes are rainstorms with strong winds and they often come in the early fall. Severe hurricanes can cause flooding, when the ground is unable to absorb more water. It is important for children to understand that weather varies in different places.

Remind children that it takes about 365 days for Earth to go around the Sun, or one year. Earth is also tilted at an axis as it orbits the Sun. The planet’s tilt and orbit causes the seasons to change throughout the year. Children should understand that different parts of the world go through seasons at different times. In the northern hemisphere, fall begins in late September and ends in late December. In the southern hemisphere, however, fall begins in March and ends in May.

Ask children what they do during the fall. Most children go back to school. Many fruits and vegetables grow throughout the summer and by the time fall arrives they are ready to be harvested, or picked, before the winter. Many autumn holidays celebrate the harvest. The United States observes Thanksgiving in November, a holiday commemorating the feasts the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people shared after they picked their crops. The first Thanksgiving was in 1621, but it wasn’t until 1863 that President Lincoln had the day declared a national holiday. You can review the Thanksgiving movie for more information. Sukkot is an important Jewish holiday usually held in the fall. Family and friends gather to build a hut and then spend time together sharing food from the harvest. Many East Asians celebrate the Moon Festival, or Mid-Autumn Festival. This commemorates the end of the summer harvest, and many families eat rice cakes and light lanterns to celebrate. In India and Nepal, many people celebrate Diwali, a holiday where people share food, light candles, and honor Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and abundance. Fall holidays often bring people together to share food from the harvest and celebrate the abundance of the season.

Fall is also a busy time for many plants and animals as they prepare for the cooler winter. Many animals use the fall to gather and store food for the winter. Hibernating animals, such as bats, hedgehogs and ground squirrels, eat in order to gain weight and live off their stored fat through the winter. Many animals grow thicker coats and gain many layers of fat to prepare for the oncoming winter. Migrating animals, such as some birds, whales, and buffalo travel hundreds of miles to warmer places where food will be more readily available. Children can watch the Hibernation or Migration movies to learn more. In addition, many plants begin to lose their leaves to save energy for the winter. Some trees, like oak, maple, and hickory trees, have leaves that dramatically change color before falling off. Remind children that even though trees lose their leaves, they do not die. They are saving energy and will grow again once spring arrives.

Learning about the fall season is a fantastic way for children to connect science to the world around them and make cultural connections. Have children share what they do during fall and what changes they see around them as the season progresses You may wish to watch the other movies in the Weather unit to explore further.