October Changes

October is a month of change. At the start of the month, fall seems barely begun. By the end of the month, it almost seems like winter. What happens that makes the start and the end of the month seem so different? Why not keep a record of October's changes this year? Here are some ways to observe the month's many moods. Keep a journal of your observations.

The evening in early October can be filled with the sounds of calling insects. Keep a record of the temperature outdoors and how noisy the evening insects are. You can do this by counting the number of different insect sounds you hear, or by using a tape recorder to record them. Is there a difference in insect sounds when you compare warm evenings and chilly evenings? You might be able to identify some insect sounds by visiting the Singing Insects of North America Web site.

What happens to the evening sounds as the month goes on? Are there as many insects calling? Do they sound any different? 

Notice when trees change colors. Pay attention to 2 or 3 individual trees. Is there a difference between when the lowest and the highest leaves on a tree turn color? Do all the trees you are watching change color at the same time? If they don't, why do you think they don't? Do different kinds of trees change color at different times or is there a difference between the places they are growing? If they do all change at the same time, why do they? Why do so many trees change color and lose their leaves in the fall? How would this help the tree? Why do some trees stay green? Visit our Evergreens page to explore this further. If you have a camera you can use, take pictures as the trees change to record what happens.

When do you start seeing migrating geese? Why do they migrate? See Canada Geese to learn about our most common goose.

When is the first frost? What does frost do to people's gardens? What does it do to the fields and forests? Does a frost change what people are doing? Do frosts happen more often as it gets later in October?

Do you know how to find an average? Is it something you have learned in school? If you do, figure out the average high temperature and the average low temperature for the first week in October. Find the average high temperature and low temperature for the last week in October. Which week has the warmer average high temperature? Which week has the colder average low temperature? Is temperature part of the month's changes? 

Keep a record of when the sun rises in the morning and when it sets in the evening all month long. Are there more hours of daylight or fewer hours of daylight as the month goes on? Do you think this could have anything to do with the temperature outdoors? 

Think! Are there other changes you notice as October days go by? What causes them? How do they affect us? How do they affect the plants and animals around us? 

There you have it. If you pay attention to October's changes, you will find out just how the end of October becomes so different.

See our Signs of Fall page for other ideas of changes to observe during October.
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