Celebrate pumpkins, fall foliage, and the harvest with music, science, and art lesson plans!
- Learn about the life cycle and seasonal changes of an apple tree
- Work together to complete a craft project
- Create a display about the four seasons
- Craft paper, four pieces
- Black marker
- Chart paper
- Apple seeds
- Markers or crayons
- Green and yellow tempera paint
- Pink tissue paper
- Green and red construction paper
- Use a black marker to draw four identical tree trunks on four pieces of craft paper. Label them Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.
- Determine student groups for each season.
Step 1: Invite students to share what they know about the human life cycle. Record their comments on a sheet of chart paper and draw simple pictures (or cut images from a magazine) to represent each stage, from infancy to old age.
Step 2: Explain that trees have life cycles, too. Ask students, "What do you think the first stage of an apple tree's life cycle is?"
Step 3: Show students an apple seed. Explain that apple trees grow from apple seeds.
Step 4: Invite students to squat and pretend to grow tall like a tree, reaching their hands like branches up to the sky. Explain that once a tree is mature, it begins to grow fruit.
Step 5: Ask students, "What changes do you think happen to an apple tree in each season?" Review the changes to an apple tree that occur in each season.
Step 6: Show students the four identical tree trunks and explain that students will be decorating the trees for each season. Divide students into four season groups and give each group a tree trunk.
Step 7: Have each group color in the trunk of their tree and then decorate the tree to represent the group's season. For example:
Winter: Students can use black markers and brown crayons to extend the trunk into bare branches. They can paint the branches with a watered-down mixture of water and white glue to create a frosty, wintry look.
Spring: Students can dip their index fingers in green tempera paint and make tiny leaf buds on the branches. When the paint dries, students can pinch pink tissue paper and glue it to the tree to make blossoms.
Summer: Students can dip their hands in green tempera paint and make handprints on the branches to represent broad summer leaves. They can cut out small green apples and glue them to the tree.
Fall: Students can dip their hands in yellow or orange tempera paint and create handprints to represent changing autumn leaves. When the paint dries, students can cut out apples from red construction paper and glue them onto the tree.
Step 8: Have students in each group work together to write informative captions to go with the tree.
Step 9: Display the trees and captions in the hall outside your classroom.
Give students a close-up look at the first stages of an apple tree's life cycle by sprouting apple seeds in the classroom. Ask students to save seeds from apples they eat. Give each student a few apple seeds, a resealable plastic bag (use a permanent marker to write each student's name on the bag), and a paper towel.
Demonstrate the following steps as students follow along with their materials.
- Moisten the paper towel with water.
- Fold the paper towel in half and place it inside the plastic bag.
- Place the apple seeds inside the bag on top of the paper towel. Close the bag partway, leaving an opening so that air can circulate inside. Lay the bag on a tray. (Bags may be stacked if necessary.)
Place the tray in a refrigerator for six weeks. (Explain that the refrigerator time simulates the long, cold winter all apples need to grow.) Bring out the trays at regular intervals and let children use hand lenses to examine the seeds through the plastic bags. (Do not remove the seeds from the bag.) Spritz the paper towels with water to keep the paper towels moist but not soggy.
As the seeds begin to germinate, tiny roots and little shoots will appear. Plant the sprouts one inch deep in paper cups filled with potting soil. Write students' names on their cups and place in a sunny spot.
Have students keep the soil in their cups moist. Cover the cups loosely with plastic wrap to retain moisture and help seedlings survive over weekends.
Adapted from Early Themes: Apples, Pumpkins, and Harvest by Ann Flagg.