TREES IN FALL – Shape, Line, Colour

Students create fall trees using torn paper and melted crayon on an overhead transparency.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 3


Language Arts
Visual Arts


deciduous line liquid matter shape solid warm colours


Crayola Crayons - red, yellow, orange Crayola Construction Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") - brown and black Crayola Glue Sticks Iron Parchment Paper Old Newspapers Write On Overhead Transparencies - 1 per student

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TREES IN FALL – Shape, Line, Colour - Step One

Step One

  1. Hold the construction paper flat on the desk with one hand.
  2. Gently tear a strip of paper about 3 cm wide with your other hand.
  3. This will be the trunk of your tree 
  4. Tear smaller strips for the branches of your tree. 
TREES IN FALL – Shape, Line, Colour - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Use a glue stick to glue the strips of paper to the overhead transparency.
  2. Make sure you use lots of glue.
  3. Press the paper onto the transparency and gently rub over it with your fingers to flatten it. 
TREES IN FALL – Shape, Line, Colour - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Use warm coloured crayons - red, yellow and orange.
  2. Remove the paper from the crayons.
  3. Use the blade of a scissors to scrape off small shavings of crayon onto a plastic placemat.
  4. Make about 1/3 cup of mixed shavings.
TREES IN FALL – Shape, Line, Colour - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Sprinkle the crayon shavings over the branches of the tree.
TREES IN FALL – Shape, Line, Colour - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the transparency.
TREES IN FALL – Shape, Line, Colour - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Set the iron to low.
  2. Gently iron over the parchment paper until you see the crayon shavings melt.
  3. Remove the iron.
  4. Let the paper cool for 30 seconds.
  5. Carefully pull the parchment paper off the transparency.
TREES IN FALL – Shape, Line, Colour - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Cut black construction paper strips and glue them to both sides of the transparencies to make a frame.
  2. Tape all the pictures to a window to let the light shine through.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • describe the appearance of deciduous trees in fall;
  • compose a mixed media picture of fall trees;
  • explain how heat affects wax;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the artworks.


Have students:

  • compare the changes of deciduous trees using the The Four Seasons lesson plan available on this site;
  • explore states of matter using a variety of materials to understand that: 
    - heat can transform a solid into a liquid and a liquid into a gas;
    - cold can transform a gas into a liquid and a liquid into a solid.


  1. Gather, and make available books about fall, for example, We Gather Together: Celebrating the Harvest Season, by Wendy Pfeffer, and Linda Bleck; We're Going on a Leaf Hunt, by Steve Metzge, and Miki Sakamoto; Leaf Man, by Lois Ehlert; Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, by Lois Ehlert; and Let It Fall, by Maryann Cocca-Leffler. 
  2. Download images of fall trees from the Internet, for example,
    Yellow Trees
    Small Trees
  3. Download and display the Colour and Line Posters available on this website.
  4. Create about 1/4 cup of red yellow and orange crayon shavings.
  5. If possible, take students out for a walk among trees that have started to change colour.
  6. Have students draw small sketches of details of the trunks of trees and the different colours of leaves they see, either on their walk or from viewing the images of trees.


  1. View the images of fall trees and discuss the ways in which trees change in the fall.
  2. View the trunks in image Trunks-Trees. Guide students to notice:
    -  the shapes of the trunks
    - how branches narrow as they go up the tree
  3. Demonstrate how to tear paper so it gets thinner from one end to the other.
  4. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Describe the appearance of deciduous trees in fall.
  2. Compose a mixed media picture of fall trees.
  3. Explain how heat affects wax.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - torn wide and thin strips of paper 
    - chosen warm colours for the leaves of my trees
    - scraped a small amount of crayon shavings
    - glued torn paper flat onto a transparency
    - glued strips of paper to look like branches on a tree trunk
    - melted crayon to look like leaves
    - kept the paper in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Tape all the pictures to the windows in your classroom.
  2. Gather students to view the pictures as a body of work.
  3. Ask them to choose a picture to talk about: 
    - Discuss the things that are especially effective in the picture and why.
    - Discuss what happened when heat was applied to the wax crayon. (Make connections to the states of matter.)

    - Talk about what they found satisfying about making their picture and why.
  4. Ask students to tell how they felt about doing this project.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their pictures – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the picture, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – FallTrees_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – FallTrees_self-assessment.pdf)