About This Lesson Plan



Hands-On Lessons

Apples All Around

An apple a day at the start of the school year will help turn your students into botanists with this in-depth study.

Students will:

•    Use informational text to identify the natural process that produces apples, from seed to fruit
•    Use informational text to identify the different parts of an apple
Common Core Standard
(RI.1.6) Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text.

Colored paper (red, green, yellow, white), Elmer's Disappearing Purple Glue Sticks, scissors, markers
Printable: Apple KWL chart
Printable: Apple Diagram

Content Introduction
Apples are a hallmark of fall and a staple in every elementary classroom. However, few students realize how interesting and intricate apples can be. First, an apple has various parts:

•    The skin covers the outside of the apple and protects it.
•    The flesh inside is full of water, which is why it’s so juicy.
•    The core is the center of the apple. It holds the seeds.
•    Apples have five carpels, or seed pockets. The healthier a plant is, the more seeds it has.
•    Apple seeds can grow into new apple trees if you plant them.
•    The stem connects the apple to the tree and carries water and nutrients from the tree to the apple while it is growing.
As you study apples, these apple facts will interest your students:
•    Apples come in many different colors (red, green, and yellow) and varieties (Red Delicious, Granny Smith, etc.).
•    Apples are grown in all 50 states.
•    The Pilgrims planted the first apple trees in the United States.
•    Apple trees start producing fruit after they have been planted for four or five years.
•    Apples are part of the rose family.
•    Apple blossoms are pink when they open, but become white over time.
•    The energy from 50 leaves is used to produce one apple.
(For more apple facts, go to: http://urbanext.illinois.edu/apples/facts.cfm)

Skin, stem, flesh, core, carpels, seeds

Introduction (5 minutes)
Tell students that they are going to be botanists, or scientists who study plants. Today they are going to study the apple.

Ask students what they already know about apples and what experiences they have had with apples. On the whiteboard, record student knowledge in the "K" column of the Apple KWL chart. First- and second-grade students can follow along and take notes on their own KWL chart as you write. Then, ask students what questions they have about apples. Record their questions in the "W" column.

Apple Research (10 minutes)
Tell students that the first thing you must do as botanists is learn more about the apple plant. On the whiteboard, complete the Apple Diagram printable.

•    Kindergarten students: Color each part of the apple as you talk about it.
•    1st grade students: Add a word to label each part as they color.
•    2nd  grade students: Label each part of the apple and its purpose.
Apple Craft (10 minutes)
Students use paper, scissors, and glue alongside the notes from their apple diagram printable to create a paper model of the inside of an apple. Remind students that apples come in many different types and colors.
(Optional) As a class, attach your students' apples onto a tree posted in your classroom or to an Elmer's Foam Tri-Fold Display Board.

Wrap-up (5 minutes)
Complete the L section of the Apple KWL chart. What have students learned about apples?

Whiteboard Extension Activities

•    Using the interactive whiteboard, post a collection of apple-related words and have students label the parts of an apple.
•    Post images of various amounts of apples. Have students identify which amount looks heavier or lighter. Introduce students to the symbols that demonstrate "greater than," "equal to," and "less than." Then apply those symbols to compare the amounts of apples.
•    Using images of apples, move the apples into addition and subtraction problems as you introduce and review these math concepts.
Literature Extension Activities
•    Provide students with sets of nonfiction apple books to explore in small groups. As students explore their books, tell them to look for answers to the questions that they recorded in the Apple KWL chart.
•    Read a book about apples as a class (for example, The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons, or The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall). As you read, discuss what students are noticing--the parts of an apple, for example, or the process that a seed goes through as it grows into a tree.
•    Read American myths or legends that involve apples (Johnny Appleseed by Gwenyth Swain, or a story about George Washington and the apple tree). Then, as a class, write your own story involving an apple.
•    As you read during the first month of school, keep track of the ways in which apples are used in literature. For example, apples appear as symbols in stories such as Snow White, and William Tell.
•    Introduce students to the idea of idioms, or figures of speech. Have students choose one apple idiom to illustrate and post around your classroom. Some apple-related idioms:
o    An apple a day keeps the doctor away
o    One bad apple spoils the bunch
o    As American as apple pie
o    In apple-pie order
o    The apple of my eye
o    Comparing apples to oranges
o    How about them apples?
o    A bad apple
o    Don't upset the apple cart
Extension Activities
•    Make applesauce, and explore the physical and chemical changes that apples go through. What physical changes do students notice? (Possible answer: the color changes when cut up or mashed.) What chemical changes do students notice?  (Possible answer: the consistency changes when they are heated.)
•    Discuss how energy is used in the process of producing apples. Trees take in energy through the leaves, transform that energy into the apples, and we use the apples for energy when we eat them. Students create a model of how energy is created, stored, and used. Then they can apply this knowledge to figuring out how another fruit or vegetable uses energy.
•    Bring in five different apple varieties for students to taste and classify. First, brainstorm taste words (sour, sweet, crunchy, crisp, soft, smooth, refreshing, watery). Then as students try each apple, they rate each one on its taste and texture. At the end, discuss your findings. Why might some people have different classifications? What can you do with the information that you collected? (For example, write a letter to the cafeteria staff persuading them to buy more than one type of apple.)
•    Apples are kept in pecks (10.5 pounds = 1 peck) and bushels (42 pounds = 1 bushel). Have students estimate, then measure, the weight of individual and bunches of apples.  
Technology Extension
Visit http://the1stday.com/ and download the Elmer's 1st Day app to capture and share the first day of school and beyond. You can create slideshows, personalize photos, share "first day" albums, and more.

In this home-connection activity, students will incorporate apples into their everyday lives. Over the course of a week, students work with their parents to document all the things they do with apples (i.e., eat apple butter, pick apples at an apple farm, make applesauce). Each day, students record what they did through pictures and words in a scrapbook or on a display board. Students share their experiences with their classmates at the end of the week. As a class, tally how many different apple-related activities students completed. How many students did each activity? (Visited an apple orchard? Made applesauce?) Which activity was the most popular? Which activity would students do every day if they could?

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