The autumn air brought a burst of learning opportunities to local classrooms.
Dozens of Long Island schools have used the season as a tool to teach, using apples, pumpkins and scarecrows in everything from math lessons to art activities.
In Elmont and Copiague, Stewart Manor and Susan E. Wiley elementary schools celebrated the birthday of Johnny Appleseed, the pioneer nurseryman credited with introducing apples to several states in the late 1700s, by having students sample different types of apples, vote for their favorite and graph the class results.
The lesson was also "a great way for students to review the properties of science," said Wiley kindergarten teacher Claudia Nakash said.
In East Setauket, Minnesauke Elementary sixth-graders competed in a scarecrow contest coordinated by the Ward Melville Heritage Organization. The students collaborated to create designs resembling "Wizard of Oz" characters, and the scarecrows were displayed last month along the sidewalks in the Stony Brook Village Center.
In Riverhead, Phillips Avenue Elementary School kindergartners incorporated their observations of pumpkins into original drawings and writings. They also measured the height of pumpkins using cubes and experimented to see if the pumpkins would sink or float.
In Hicksville, Old Country Road Elementary pupils compared the size, shape and weight of different apples and sliced them into segments for a lesson in fractions.
"We want to make education enjoyable for children while incorporating the Common Core into our everyday lessons," said Eloise Eisenhardt, a teacher at Charles A. Reinhard Early Childhood Center in Bellmore.
Walk to School Day
Hundreds of Babylon Elementary School students, parents and teachers skipped traditional transportation last month as part of the school's celebration of International Walk to School Day, a global event organized by the National Center for Safe Routes to School.
This was the school's sixth straight year participating in the program, which is designed to promote safe walking, fitness and energy conservation.
Filling empty bowls
Sayville High School's Art Club and the Sayville School Employees Charitable Foundation recently raised $1,400 for the Greater Sayville Food Pantry through a sixth annual "Empty Bowls" fundraiser, part of National Hunger Awareness Month in October.
The event, which had a $10 entry fee, included a dinner of soup and salad, with patrons receiving a ceramic bowl created by the club.
Local eateries donating food for the fundraiser included 5 Points Cafe in Sayville, Idle Hour Deli in Oakdale and Wenner Bread Products, with offices in Bayport and Ronkonkoma. Club members also prepared dishes such as chicken barley soup and black bean soup.
Autism and airplanes
Students and staff at three Eastern Suffolk BOCES facilities recently raised $700 for autism awareness through a walk around the Islip Academic Center's perimeter.
The event, which attracted 300 people, included participants from the academic center, the Islip Career Center and the Edward J. Milliken Technical Center in Oakdale.
In other news, students in ESBOCES' Suffolk Aviation Academy in Shirley recently learned about aircraft inspections and the repair and restoration of single-engine and twin-engine planes during a tour of A&P Aircraft Maintenance in Ronkonkoma.
College, career fairs
Local school districts are preparing students for life after high school with college and career fairs focused on the many opportunities available to them.
In East Islip, about 700 families attended a college fair at the high school that included representatives from more than 130 colleges, universities and branches of the military.
The evening featured financial seminars and workshops about NCAA rules for teens planning to pursue sports in a Division I or Division II college or university.
In Merrick, Sanford H. Calhoun High School hosted a districtwide college and career night with representatives from more than 100 two- and four-year colleges who discussed everything from academic requirements to campus life.
In Carle Place, the high school hosted a series of mini- fairs on five consecutive Fridays that consisted of informational booths from 20 colleges and universities each week.
"This is the time of year when our seniors are experiencing the application process and juniors are really beginning to concentrate on their college search," Carle Place High School counselor Gail Vlacich said.