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All About Fall: Leaves, Corn Mazes, Thanksgiving, Pilgrims, and Holidays Around the World

Posted on November 20 2022

All About Fall: Leaves, Corn Mazes, Thanksgiving, Pilgrims, and Holidays Around the World


Dear Educator,

Many parts of the country have been unseasonably warm this fall, but still, leaves are changing color, pumpkins have been carved, and the season is in full swing with Thanksgiving feasts coming soon. This week, we look at all things seasonal for fall. One of the many interesting things about fall is that is has more than one name. We also call the season autumn, but in Middle English, the name for fall was haerfest, which meant “to bring in all the crops,” or harvest time. The term fall for the third season of the year is short for “fall of the leaf.” Speaking of leaves, dry weather and reduced sunlight lead to less green chlorophyll in leaves, allowing other pigments in the leaves to show. These include the yellows and oranges. Some trees produce chemicals that make leaves red. Freezing weather puts an end to that process. Students will learn more about why leaves change color, below. Let’s delve into more than just leaves as we celebrate the season that many people identify as their favorite of the whole year.

Deciduous trees are those whose leaves change color and then drop off, falling to the ground and creating leaf litter. The leaves may be yellow, orange, red, or a combination of colors. This article explains why leaves change color. It also introduces important vocabulary terms, such as chlorophyll, photosynthesis, and deciduous. Scroll down to the Supporting Materials to find open-ended questions for classroom discussion. You can also use the provided links in the Comments section, to extend the content.

For younger readers, we have GNN Junior. This week, this lower-levelled article is all about mazes, including the corn mazes that many people visit in the fall, after the corn is picked and the tall stalks remain. Farms often create elaborate designs for their mazes. These designs can be seen from overhead. The article introduces labyrinths to students, too. Ask students to pair off and create mazes they can then exchange with their partner. Can the partner find the way out of the maze?


Thanksgiving is a major American holiday. It is held on the fourth Thursday of November. President Lincoln made the holiday official, although the celebration began with the Pilgrims. Students will learn all about this holiday and the role Native Americans played in helping the colonists. Have students name foods their families enjoy during the holidays, if it is appropriate for your classroom. Students can compare and contrast different family traditions.


To better understand Thanksgiving, it is important to know more about the Pilgrims and Plymouth. This exclusive GNN article helps provide this further context for students, including information about their ship, the Mayflower, the dangerous travel to the Americas, landing at Plymouth, the illnesses that plagued the early colonists, and the help given to them by Native Americans. The article also discusses how tourism affects Plymouth today.


While we are looking at holidays in the fall, this Field Trip is a great tour of numerous holidays around the world—and it just so happens to include Thanksgiving. The Field Trip uses a world map to help students locate each specific holiday. Then there is explanatory text and accompanying images to illustrate the celebration that occurs there. Students can probably guess where on the map Thanksgiving is placed. (Yes, the tip of Massachusetts!)


Thank you for taking this tour of content about fall that is available on Maps101. We hope our weekly tour of topics in this GeoJournal helps not just inform you of themes you can focus on throughout the year, but that it also draws your attention to content you may not have realized is available. Happy hunting for more content that benefits your class this school year. And don’t forget to favorite to save what you use often for easy access.

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