Children will use comparative-language and problem-solving skills as they make two snacks using the sun as a source of energy. Materials:for sun-dried raisins:
for sun tea:In Advance:
fresh, firm, ripe seedless grapes
experience chart and marker
bowl of water
clean cheesecloth or wire screening
On a sunny day, have a group discussion outdoors. Talk about the warmth children feel from the sun. Ask, What do we know about the sun? What does it do for us? What is your favorite thing to do in the sun? Talk about objects that cook or heat things like the sun does. Ask children to think about how they can cook with the sun. Activity
To begin making sun-dried raisins, ask children to separate the grapes from the stems. Invite them to use a scale to weigh one grape, and then all the grapes together. Children can record the weights on a chart.
Help children wash the grapes in a bowl of water. Ask children to dry them carefully and spread them out on paper plates. For protection from insects, place cheesecloth or screening over the grapes and tape down the edges.
Invite your children to arrange the plates on blocks so air can circulate beneath them, and put them in a sunny spot. Encourage children to observe the grapes each day and record the changes on a chart, until raisins are pliable and leathery. This takes about four days.
Children can weigh the raisins and compare them to their previous weight as grapes. Ask, How did the grapes change? What caused the grapes to change? Serve the raisins along with fresh grapes for a snack so children can compare the tastes.
One day while the grapes are still drying, make a pitcher of sun tea. Ask children, How can we make tea using sun power?
Invite children to place the tea bags and water into a clear glass jug. Cover it tightly and put it in the sun for two to three hours. Ask children to periodically observe the changes in the water. Serve the tea chilled, or over ice, with lemon. For younger children:
Rather than having children weigh the grapes, simply invite them to place them in a sunny spot outdoors and check them occasionally for any changes they might note. Later, enjoy the newly formed raisins and sun tea with children.
For older children: Invite children to experiment with weighing bunches of grapes and raisins. How many raisins equal the weight of one grape? Observations:
Which children maintain their curiosity in the changes in the grapes over the four-day period of time? Which show little interest in the project over these four days? Spin-Off
Talk with children about the different forms fruits can take. Ask: What can we make from squeezed oranges? What can we make with cooked apples? Provide orange juice, applesauce, lemonade, and other tasty treats children can enjoy as you discuss the fruits that made them.