Fun outdoor project: Using recycled crayons to identify leaves

Botany or the study of plants is a great way to introduce simple and basic plant concepts. Plants have many components like leaves, which make parts of trees, bushes, and flowers. When plants grow, they can produce seeds, fruits and leaves. But leaves are powerful producers of photosynthesis. They harness the sunlight energy in the presence of carbon dioxide and water to manufacture sugars necessary for plants to live. Without leaves, trees and plants would not be able to exist.

Leaves are present in different shapes and sizes. Botanists are experts that can distinguish between the various types of leaves. Some leaves can be long, oblong, or short, circular. But these can vary. From simple to complex ones, most leaves have veins. These channels carry nutrients and water to plants.

But young nature explorers can also identify and distinguish the different types of leaves. In this project, children along with adults can explore backyards or parks for several leaves. Children should always be along side adults when exploring unknown places.

Recycled crayons and leaves

How to use broken pieces of crayons?

Materials:

  • Pieces of crayons
  • Aluminum muffin liners
  • Oven

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Collect as many broken pieces of crayons
  • Separate them by color or color tones
  • Place them on separate muffin liners
  • Insert into oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Warning: Only adults should take the muffin pan out.
  • Let the crayons cool
  • Once cool, gently take them out and place on a paper plate or other suitable place
  • Use to color, draw or to do the leaves project below

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How to use crayons to identify types of leaves?

Materials:

  • Crayon slabs
  • Various leaves
  • Construction papers
  • Glue

Instructions:

  • Collect fallen leaves in your backyard or park
  • Select leaves with various shapes and sizes (tip: Make sure to not gather crunchy leaves. They tend to break for this project)
  • Place them on a plastic bag
  • Arrange them on construction paper
  • Color the side with veins
  • Paste them with glue and let them dry
  • Study the veins and contour arrangements

Did you notice the different shapes of each leaf? Did you notice the veins as you color the leaf? When doing this project, make sure to study the structures, forms, and color of each leaf.

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Hibernation: How animals prepare for winter

Many animals are getting ready for the long, cold months of winter. They’ve probably have spent most of the fall season gathering all the food they could possibly collect to prepare for hibernation. But what are the preparations for the winter?

According to Webster dictionary, hibernation is

“to be or become inactive or dormant”

or a better way to look at this is animals take a very long winter vacation. During hibernation, animals that perform this condition have lower body temperature, conserve energy by decreasing physical mobility, and decrease metabolic rate. These types of animals conserve energy by reducing their metabolism, a chemical process that converts stored fat into energy.

Studies have shown that animals, which hibernate, have a decrease in heart rate, causing a slow down of their metabolism. And, in this way, these animals are able to use their stored fat and convert it to energy. That’s why bears, in particular, eat sufficient foods like nuts, berries, insects, fish, roots and other foods to increase their body mass and fat. Foods rich in fat content are salmon and nuts.

Hibernating bear sleeping in a cave

Fatty acids, special components in these foods, are biochemically converted to energy precursors like glycerol. Fat also serves as a great insulator. Since the cold winter months lack the provision of food due to weather change, these animals must hibernate in secluded areas to keep warm and survive until the spring season.

For some animals, it is also a reproduction stage, where they await the birth of their offspring. Examples of animals that hibernate are mammals like bears, bats, hamsters, skunks, and raccoons. In particular, bears that hibernate are polar bears, black bears, and grizzly bears to name a few common species. These animals live in very cold weather where the winter season can last up to 6 months.

The places bears like to hibernate are caves or dens to keep other predators away and protect their offspring when spring comes. Bears and other animals get ready for winter by gathering and hunting for food.

Easy Science Project for Kids: How to Grow a Lima Bean Seed

School science projects can be an exciting time for students who like to explore the wonders of nature. For children, it is a great time to explain the many natural processes that occur around us. A very simple science project, to begin with, is the process of growing a Lima bean seed.

Lima bean seeds are easy to grow and resilient to climate changes. They have a fast growing rate: most beans will sprout in about 14 days. If you’re planning on performing this science project, please be aware of the time it takes to complete the project and the deadline of the science project.

Lima bean seeds are also called ‘butter beans’. It is believed that Lima beans or Phaseolus lunatus originated in South America around 2000 BC. By 800 AD, Lima beans were exported to different parts of Europe and America. Lima bean seeds have a characteristic kidney-liked shape. They are about 1-3 cm long and are usually white. As legumes, Lima beans provide good fiber content and other nutritional minerals.

How to grow a Lima Bean Seed
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