Ask students what words and ideas come to mind when they think about apples. Make a semantic map of student responses on the chalkboard or overhead projector. A semantic map is a graphic representation of a topic showing the relationships among ideas. (See example.) At the end of the unit, make another semantic map of students' responses and compare the two.
On a separate chart, list the students' questions about apples as they arise during the brainstorming session. This list can become a starting point for library research. As the studies progress, questions can be added.
Slice different varieties of apples into bite-sized pieces. Distribute several to each student. (Pieces should be placed on numbered cards at the students' desks to avoid confusion.) Do the varieties taste different? What words describe the differences? Which do you prefer? Students make notes describing the different tastes. Afterwards, the class can share responses with each other. The responses can be written on a large chart and used later for writing activities, especially poetry.
With student assistance, make a graph showing the apples that the class liked most.
Challenge students to create their own new variety of apple and name it. Grate several varieties of apples into small containers or onto paper plates. After discussing the characteristics of the different varieties with students, direct them to mix the gratings in order to create a new apple variety. The fan part will be naming the variety! Children should note which ingredients they used to come up with the new taste.
10 Core Facts about Apples
Apples are a very good fruit for building healthy bodies. A medium-sized apple:
1. Is virtually fat-free - helps reduce the risks of cancer.
2. Is saturated fat-free.
3. Is sodium-free - may help reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
4. Contains natural sugars called fructose.
5. Has only 80 calories.
6. Is cholesterol-free.
7. Contains no artificial colors or flavors.
8. Is a good source of fiber -has more than most hot or cold cereals.
9. Is a convenient, satisfying snack - you can take one with you anywhere.
10. Is an easy way to get your recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
1. Develop a Wall Chart - Make a wall chart or copies of the "10 Core Facts." Elaborate on each fact, noting on the chalkboard the terms that the class needs to define. Note which systems of the body benefit from the nutrients found in apples (neurological, muscular, digestive, circulatory, etc.).
After a brief discussion, arrange for students to work in pairs. Have students research the meaning of the difficult terminology. For example:
After the research period, bring the class together to share the information. Students can compare notes, filling in the information missing on their own lists. (An *independent or homework assignment could be to make an illustrated glossary of "Apple Nutrition.")
2. Design an Apple Snack - Arrange for the class to work in small groups (3 to 5 students). Each group creates a recipe for a nutritious snack that uses apples or apple products. (Discussion and modeling might center on the question: What is nutritious?) The group members write a recipe for their snack. The groups can volunteer to bring in their snacks for the class to enjoy.
3. Nutritious Apple Products - Brainstorm with the class apple products that are both nutritious and tasty. (Apple juice, apple cider, applesauce ... as well as family favorites, dishes that use apples.)
4. Convincing Arguments - Ask students to write an essay convincing the audience that apples and apple products are indeed a healthy food.
Adapted from Apples: A Class Act published by the U.S. Apple Association. If you would like additional information, please contact: U.S. Apple Association, P.O. Box 1137, McLean, VA 22101-1137, (703) 442-8850