Cycles and Seasons:
Collector’s Corner – A Seasonal Display

“In a heartbeat the golden season is upon us. Blueberries, cranberries and cloudberries are everywhere underfoot and in the span of 48 hours we have seen the tundra change from vibrant green to a muted yellow-orange. Flowers have gone to seed overnight, the mountain tops where we sweltered two short weeks ago are dusted with snow and the caribou that have been harassed by biting insects for a long month are resting.”
Karsten Heuer, Arctic

The earth and sun have a special relationship. Because the Earth rotates around its axis at an angle just a bit off of straight up and down, we travel in a path around the sun that heats the Earth differently at different times of the year.

We divide the year into 4 seasons based on these kinds of changes. What changes in weather have you observed over the past year?

Create a Seasonal Classroom Display

Set aside a place in your classroom for your seasonal display. This is a place to celebrate the season with natural objects you have collected, and art and writing pieces you have created.
Once a month go out for a nature walk to feel and observe the natural world. Find and collect some objects from your walks at school or home.
Some things you might include for fall:

  • acorns
  • leaves
  • abandoned cocoons or nests
  • flowers
  • old cast off insect exoskeletons

Some signs of the season aren’t those that you can pick up and bring in to the classroom. How could you show the sky and its clouds, or the rain, snow or wind? These conditions also reflect the seasons.

Be sure to return the objects outside when the seasons change.

Reflect and Write
Begin the writing process by creating a class concept map about the season and what changes it brings.

  • In the center of a big piece of paper write the season and circle it.
  • Share your thoughts about what the season brings as offshoots from the center.

Now re-read Karsten Heuer's description of seasonal changes in the Arctic (above).
Use your writing and reflecting time to describe what the season brings to you.

Journaling Questions:

  1. What kinds of objects would you expect to find outside during the present season? Were they there this time last year? Do you expect them to be here next year? Why?
  2. What happens to the objects when they are left outside? Do they change over time? How are they useful for the natural world?
  3. What do you expect to find outside in the coming season? Describe changes in the weather, plants, and or animals.

National Science Education Standards

Earth and Space Science
Objects in the sky have patterns of movement. The sun, for example, appears to move across the sky in the same way every day, but its path changes slowly over the seasons. (K-4)

The sun is the major source of energy for phenomena on the earth's surface, such as growth of plants, winds, ocean currents, and the water cycle. Seasons result from variations in the amount of sun's energy hitting the surface, due to the tilt of the earth's rotation on its axis and the length of the day. (5-8)

The sun provides light and heat necessary to maintain the temperature of the earth. (K-4)