Simple and Fun: How to Make Autumn STEAM Leaves

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This science meets art project is almost magical, at least that’s what the students will think as they watch fall colors transform their plan white coffee filters into a work of art.


  • Coffee Filters
  • Markers
  • Cup of water
  • Scissors
  • Leaf template (Download the template here)


Place the coffee filter on top of the leaf template and trace it out. The leaf template is available to download here. If you are unable to print the template you could always use a cookie cutter or draw a leaf shape on your own. I would grab about 5 coffee filters at a time, trace the leaf on the top filter, and then carefully cut 5 coffee filters at one time.

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Have students use the markers to make a doughnut ring in the middle of the leaf. Make sure the inside of the circle is not filled in as well as the rest of the leaf because you want to leave room for the color to travel up the leaf. Experiment and try several colors at a time if you want!

Fold the leaf 3 times (in half, in half and in half again) making a point in the middle of the circle.

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Have students carefully dip their leaf in the water so that only the white tip of the circle touches. The water should start to travel up the coffee filter leaf and spread the ink throughout. It only takes a minute for the leaf to be completely saturated. You may want to have a few extra coffee filters on hand just in case you accidentally drop the leaves in the water.

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Remove the leaf from the water and let it dry. I taped them to a box but you could always clip them on a clothesline.

Once the leaf is dry carefully unfold it and enjoy. I love how the color traveled to the outside of the leaves because they look so lovely and it is a perfect visual representation of how water travels through leaves as it carried the marker to the ends of the leaf (transpiration) making it soft and supple like our wet coffee filter, and exists through holes (stomata) making the leaf crisp like our dry coffee filter.

Share your Autumn Leaves!

Share your projects with us at rcs@edupix.org so we can share it with everyone!

Attention all RCS parentS

Due to the forecast of increment weather on tomorrow, Friday, January 21, 2022, tomorrow will be a Remote Learning Day for all students, teachers, and staff. This notification is also available on local news stations WBTV-3 and WSOC-TV. Students are expected to engage in “Interactive Remote Learning” with their classroom teacher at 9:00am via Google Meets or Zoom per teacher’s instruction, as attendance will be taken and recorded

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