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Mrs. Christiansen's Class
West Ridge Elementary
Harlan, Iowa


We have enjoyed learning about autumn and discovering the changes that occur in our environment as the season changes. On the first day of school (August 18th) our countryside was green and the morning air was warm. A month later, children were wearing jackets and our fields of corn and soybeans were turning a beautiful golden color. During that month we also discovered that we were losing two to three minutes of sun time every day! Below is a table showing the weekly data we collected as we learned more about autumn in Iowa.


Dates Data



8/22 – 8/28

71 degrees F.

13 hr. 19 min.

8/29 – 9/4

73 degrees F.

12 hr. 59 min.

9/5 – 9/11

63 degrees F.

12 hr. 41 min.

9/12 – 9/18

57 degrees F.

12 hr. 22 min.

9/19 – 9-25

60 degrees F.

12 hr. 3 min.


Autumn in Iowa

Autumn in Iowa....

squirrels collect acorns,
geese and other birds fly south,
apples get ripe, and
leaves change colors.
The best thing about autumn in Iowa is
riding in the combine.

by Nathan

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 Autumn in Iowa …

nights get cooler,
leaves change colors,
daytime gets shorter, and
leaves lose their moisture.
The best thing about autumn in Iowa is
playing football.

by Brian

fallline.gif (3216 bytes)

Autumn in Iowa …

leaves falling and changing colors,
nights getting cooler,
pumpkins and apples getting ripe, and
frost in the morning.
The best thing about autumn in Iowa is
going to my grandpa’s house.

by Mark

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 Autumn in Iowa …

the leaves change to different colors,
the leaves fall from deciduous trees,
the nights and days are shorter, and
the leaves lose their moisture.
The best thing about autumn in Iowa is
jumping in the leaves.

by Sonoka

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Autumn in Iowa …

leaves lose their moisture,
the nights and days get shorter,
leaves change colors, and
the daytime is shorter.
The best thing about autumn in Iowa is
drinking hot chocolate.

by Janessa

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 Autumn in Iowa …

frost in the mornings,
the daytime is shorter,
nights get cooler, and
the deciduous leaves fall.
The best thing about autumn in Iowa is

covering myself with leaves.

by Christian

 fallline.gif (3216 bytes)

Autumn in Iowa …

the daytime gets shorter,
monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico,
squirrels collect acorns, and
leaves fall from deciduous trees.
The best thing about autumn in Iowa is
jumping into leaves.

by Brooke

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Autumn Tree and Its Leaves

Written by Carly, Jordan, Ryan, Tony


Leaves:  What’s that white stuff on the ground?
Tree:   It got cold last night and that is frost.
Leaves:  Why do we have frost?
Tree:   It is autumn and things are changing.
Leaves:  Am I changing?
Tree:  Yes, you are changing colors and then you will fall to the ground.             


An Autumn Tree and Its Leaves

Written by Britanny, Deidre, and Steven

Leaves:  What am I going to do? I’m drying up!
Tree:  You will change colors and fall off a branch.
Leaves:  I’m losing my green color. What will I look like?
Tree:  Your beautiful red and yellow colors will be pretty.
Leaves:  I’m afraid of falling. Am I going to get hurt?
Tree:  No,  it won’t hurt.


One part of our autumn study concentrated on the migration of monarch butterflies to their winter home in Mexico. Students created paper butterflies to send to Journey North's headquarters. Our butterflies will participate in a symbolic journey to Mexico and return in the spring. Students have written cinquains to share their knowledge and understanding of these amazing creatures.


black, orange
flying, drinking, eating
has bright colors

by Alisha



black, orange
resting, drinking, eating
butterflies are nice

by Kassie


little, pretty
flying, eating, sleeping
only flies when it’s 80 degrees F.

by Jon


fragile, thin
migrating, flying, eating
can fly

by Michael



orange, black
flying, eating, resting
is an insect

by Brandon


black, orange
eating, drinking, resting
only flies when it’s 80 degrees F.

by Kaitlin

This project was an exploratory unit for second grade students to experiment with writing in different genres, utilizing the Internet as a research tool, and developing seasonal science concepts. Organization of ideas and following directions were crucial to their individual and collaborative success. Students made oral presentations of their short plays and individual writing activities. The assessment rubric developed for the project is given below.

Students received a score of 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4 for each of the following criteria.

0 – Did not participate
1 – Unskilled, but participated
2 – Poorly skilled
3 – Moderately skilled
4 – Highly skilled


_____ Volunteered appropriate words, phrases, and notes to class brainstorming lists
_____ Independently completed examples of modeled/assigned writing genres
_____ Collaboratively wrote a play utilizing seasonal concepts
_____ Demonstrated use of appropriate writing skills (i.e. capital letters, punctuation, spelling)

Technology and Research:

_____ Independently navigated designated web sites
_____ Independently located answers to assigned research questions


_____ Demonstrated understanding of related science concepts
_____ Demonstrated appropriate use of new science vocabulary words

Oral Presentation:

_____ Enunciated words clearly
_____ Used proper speaking volume
_____ Used appropriate expression in reading/speaking voice