Apples are a wonderful subject for young children to study and they offer a bushelful of lesson ideas.
Late September, early October is the perfect time for this unit. October is Apple month so apples are everywhere. Also, September 26th is Johnny Appleseed’s birthday and he is an historical figure that young children have most probably heard of and can relate to. The east end of Long Island has many apple orchards that offer trips at this time of the year for classes to pick apples. This is a great way to spark children’s interest in the apple unit.
To introduce the unit to the class, bring in a bushel of different types of apples for the children to investigate. If possible, plan a field trip to an apple orchard to pick apples. Field trips always get young children excited. The children will already know a lot about apples so set up a KWL chart with all the wonderful things they already know. To get their minds going introduce the “Why Apples Are Great “ chart, and brainstorm with them for other things to add to the chart. Also read “Apple Pigs” by Ruth Orbach as a fun rhyming story.
Talk about what they will see at the orchard and what they might learn while there. Make a list of questions to ask the “apple experts” at the orchard and use those questions as the beginning of a list of things they would like to learn.
I’ve included many lesson ideas in my unit. We may not get to do them all. I think it’s best to take the class’s lead and use those lessons that will interest them the most and allow them to lead you to new lessons. The unit should take about three to four weeks. You can always revisit certain areas later in the year, as the lessons learned will apply to other areas of study.