Apples, Fall, and Science!
By Kristen Antosh, Blogger at Momgineering the Future
It’s fall! Maybe you’ve done some apple picking or bought some apple cider and cider donuts from your favorite orchard. Did you know there is actually a special area of scientific study for growing apples and other fruits? It’s called pomology!
Beyond the fun of taking the family apple picking and enjoying some tasty apple flavored treats, did you know that apples can be used to spark curiosity in your little scientist? Check out these fun activities you and your child can do with apples, and explore some “core” STEM concepts!
How can apples be sorted?
Apples come in a variety of colors - red, yellow and green. Depending on the varieties of apples, each can have slight color variation and they can also be different sizes. Let your pint-sized pomologist sort the apples by color or size. Ask your child if they can think of other ways to SORT the apples.
Use apples to grow math skills:
Take your sorting activity to the next level. Let your little mathematician practice their counting and graphing skills! Ask them to count the apples by color and then graph it on a chart. Then determine which color of apple they have the most or least of. Cut your apple in various ways (halves, quarters, eighths, etc.) and show its fractional relationship to a whole apple.
Use your senses to investigate an apple:
Scientists use all of their senses when they do research.
You can do a simple experiment at home that involves examining an apple with all the senses. Cut two different types of apple into parts – the stem, the core, the seeds, the skin, and the flesh – then use a magnifying glass to investigate what each part looks like.
Ask your child to use their SIGHT to tell you about the color and shape of each part of the apple. Ask your child to SMELL the apple and describe what they smell. Ask your child to FEEL the texture of the parts of the apple. Ask your child to TASTE the apple and describe the flavor. As your child bites into the apples, ask them what sound they HEAR.
Make some fizzing volcano apples:
Your chemist-in-training will be “apple-lauding” this fun fizzy experiment. Carve out a hole at the top of a large apple. Drop in some baking soda (you can add some food coloring if you wish), then pour vinegar over the top and watch it fizz and spew out like a volcano!
How does an apple grow?
Help your child learn about how the apple they see up close started as a little seed that was planted into the ground.
Check out some of these great reference books from your local library:
“Apples” by Jacqueline Farmer and illustrated by Phyllis Limbacher Tildes
“From Shoot to Apple” by Stacy Taus-Bolstad
“Watch an Apple Grow” by Kirsten Chang
“Fall Apples Crisp and Juicy” by Martha E. H. Rustad and Amanda Enright
“An Apple Tree’s Life Cycle” by Mary R. Dunn