Fun with science and apples
Discover science through activities dealing with food.
Orchards will have a bumper crop of apples across Michigan this fall providing a fun and tasty opportunity to taste Michigan’s bounty as you explore science with young children. According to Michigan State University Extension, a simple activity that can be done with youth is to discuss the anatomy of an apple. Encourage children to make predictions about how many seeds an apple may have in it. Explore what factors affect the number of seeds. Does size or variety affect the number of seeds? Encourage children to predict, try and discuss their findings. This type of inquiry is one way to enhance a child’s thinking process.
Visiting a Michigan cider mill can provide another opportunity to explore science. Children can learn the engineering process designed to press apples into cider. Youth will discover different states of matter when the solid flesh of an apple is turned into a liquid cider. Filtering the cider can further extend learning and lead to a discussion about the various sizes of solids.
Picking some apples to take home to make into caramel apples is a wonderful way to learn about kitchen chemistry. Children can learn how increased temperatures affect substances such as caramel in making it a liquid and returning it to a solid state when cooled.
Children are sure to enjoy these fun and tasty activities.
The National 4-H Program encourages adults to use inquiry-based learning methods while working with children. To do so the adults can refrain from giving answers to youth, but instead encourage them to seek answers to questions. This can be done by asking open-ended questions. Use terms that encourage discussion and interaction such as explaining and comparing if or what if scenarios. It is important to remember that the adult’s attitude toward science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) has an impact on children’s attitude. Youth who are around adults that show interest and enthusiasm for STEM are more likely to develop the enthusiasm themselves. For more information about Michigan 4-H Youth Development visit the Science Literacy website.