It’s almost time for the Fall Equinox! A time when the days and nights are perfectly balanced, and it marks the official beginning of autumn. Here at STEAM Powered Family we love connecting our lessons with the natural world and syncing them with nature. By being in tune with the natural cycles students can feel greater connection and wellbeing. It also provides a wonderful flow to the lesson plans throughout the year. These engaging, hands-on activities will not only teach kids about this celestial event but also create lasting memories of the season’s beauty. Let’s dive into the fun!
Celebrating the Fall Equinox in the Classroom
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What is the Fall Equinox?
Before we start with the fun, let’s explain what we are talking about here. What is the Fall Equinox?
The Fall Equinox marks the beginning of fall or autumn (it is also call the Autumnal Equinox). It is a time of cooler days and beautiful colours everywhere as the leaves start to change. As the first day of fall, it is an important time in many cultures around the world, as it is strongly associated with the harvest, giving thanks for bountiful harvests, and preparing for the coming winter months. In many cultures, it is celebrated with rituals and festivals that honor the changing seasons and the natural cycles of the Earth.
When is the Fall Equinox?
The Fall Equinox occurs every year around September 22nd or 23rd in the Northern Hemisphere. However, the exact date can vary slightly from year to year due to the way our calendar is structured and the Earth’s orbit. The actual moment of the Equinox is the exact moment when the Sun crosses the celestial equator from North to South, marking the official start of fall in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of spring in the Southern Hemisphere.
Fall Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is approximately September 22 or 23.
Fall Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere is approximately March 21 or 22.
The 2023 Fall Equinox will fall on Saturday, September 23.
The Science Behind the Fall Equinox
During this special day, something pretty cool happens in the sky. The Earth is tilted on its axis, and for a brief moment, our planet is neither leaning away from nor toward the Sun. This means that, for most places on Earth, day and night are roughly equal in length during the equinox.
After the Fall Equinox, the Northern Hemisphere starts tilting away from the Sun, which results in shorter days and cooler temperatures (don’t worry, we have an experiment to demonstrate this!). This tilt in our planet’s axis is responsible for the changing seasons. In simple terms, the Fall Equinox is the official signal that autumn is here, bringing with it cozy sweaters, pumpkin spice everything, and the beautiful spectacle of leaves changing colors before they fall from the trees.
Fall Equinox Printable
Looking for a printable activity pack to use for Fall Equinox? Check out this resource in the STEAM Powered Family Shop. It includes information pages, cool facts from around the world, plus a variety of activity pages.
Or grab the entire Solstice and Equinox Bundle here. That way you will be ready for not only the Fall Equinox, but also Summer Solstice, Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.
Four Seasons Codebreakers Printable
Want something else to celebrate the seasons? Try this Four Seasons Codebreaker Printable Challenge.
Equinox Science Experiment Sun and Moon Exploration
Explain the science behind the Equinox in simple terms: the day when day and night are nearly equal in length due to the Earth’s tilt. Then create a simple seasons experiment using a flashlight to demonstrate this concept and make this major celestial moment easily understandable.
Make a Wheel of the Year Craft
One of our favourite STEM crafts is to make a Wheel of the Year Craft. Kids love this wheel and like to reference it with every changing month and season. Best of all it spins, so kids always know exactly where we are in the constant turn of the wheel of the year.
Explore how leaves change colour in the fall with this fascinating chromatography leaf experiment that explores the colours in the fall leaves. Not only is it cool science but it also makes gorgeous fall art.
Leaf Art Adventure
Encourage kids to explore the outdoors and collect colourful fall leaves of all colours, types, shapes and sizes.
With these leaves, they can create beautiful leaf art. Think leaf rubbings, leaf mosaics, or even leaf animals. Or make a beautiful fall wreath. Get creative!
This activity not only celebrates the changing colors of fall but also teaches them about the importance of trees in our ecosystem.
Harvest Season Exploration
Head out on a walk or hike and explore the changing seasons in person. Have the kids collect cool items like leaves, pine cones, acorns, abandoned nests, berries, feathers, and more. Then create a wonderful fall themed sensory bin as a play centre in the classroom.
Create a Fall Wreath
For your older kids, collect old branches, leaves, feathers, berries, etc. and create a beautiful fall wreaths with their finds. All you need is some twine and a glue gun and some time in nature, then start creating!
Create a Wreath of Thanks
Fall is a time of giving thanks for the bountiful harvest. What are your students thankful for? Provide each student with a square of construction paper, on it they should write what they are thankful for. It just needs to be one thing, even one word. Then assemble all of those pieces into a beautiful wreath of thanks for your classroom that everyone can enjoy throughout the fall.
Build a Fall Harvest Fruit Battery
This is a fantastic project for your older kids. Build a battery using harvest fruits such as squash and pumpkins. Then light up an LED. Using harvest fruits to create light is a wonderful way to explore energy and the longer nights.
Natural Balance Challenge
The fall is the perfect time to seek out abandoned nests. If you are lucky enough to find two, you have the makings of a really cool fall STEM challenge. Without weighing the nests, use a long stick and hang one nest off each end, then challenge students to fill each nest and get the weight balanced. Ensure you connect back that the Fall Equinox is a time of balance between day and night as they try to achieve balance with the nests.
Nature Scavenger Hunt
Create a list of autumn-themed items for kids to find in nature. Encourage them to observe and appreciate the unique characteristics of fall, from acorns and pinecones to migrating birds. This activity promotes outdoor exploration and awareness of seasonal changes.
Autumn Glitter Slime
With the changing seasons, often the kids want a new slime recipe to play with, and this fall slime recipe is so much fun! It is glittery, slimey and smells amazing!
Make a Volcano
Select age-appropriate books that explain the Fall Equinox in a friendly and engaging manner.
Gather the kids for a cozy story time session, complete with hot cocoa or apple cider. This combines education and entertainment, fostering a love for reading and learning. Here are some of our favourite picks for the Fall Equinox.
Equinox Craft Time
Set up a crafting station with supplies like colored paper, markers, and scissors. Go on a walk and explore how nature is changing with fall. Then, back in the classroom, invite the kids to craft and create based on what they discovered about the fall equinox and their favourite part of the walk. Crafting allows students to express their creativity while reinforcing understanding of the changing seasons.
Equinox Celebration Picnic
Host a picnic in a local park or even your backyard. Pack a basket with fall-inspired treats like apple slices, pumpkin muffins, and carrot sticks. Locally grown, or maybe grown by your kids throughout the summer, is the best. Take this opportunity to discuss the Equinox’s role in the changing seasons.
We can’t forget that fall brings with it one of the most popular days of the year for kids, Halloween! We LOVE Halloween around here, and have so many ideas for projects, activities and experiments for your kids. You can get started with our 31 Days of Halloween STEM Activities.
The Fall Equinox offers a wonderful opportunity to educate and entertain kids while celebrating the beauty and balance of autumn. By incorporating these engaging activities into your blog or teaching materials, you can inspire young minds to connect with nature, science, and the magic of the changing seasons. Remember, the key is to maintain a friendly, conversational tone, making learning both informative and enjoyable for your young readers. Happy Fall Equinox!