Apple Exploration! Learning Centers

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Find several center station activities for a theme on apples and Johnny Appleseed

Materials:

stories about Johnny Appleseed
Book by Steven Kellogg, Johnny Appleseed, A Tall Tale
(Click for Ordering Information: Hardcover or Big Book)

Tasting Station :

  • apples – 5 different kinds, cut up into small sections for eating
  • Chart Paper set up and ready to graph apple favorites

Applesauce Making Station:

  • Apples for cutting up into applesauce
  • measuring spoons and cups
  • large bowls for mixing
  • knives and apple peelers
  • cinnamon, butter, sugar, vanilla, water
  • crock pots to put it all in.
  • Spoons and small bowls for distributing the cooked applesauce later.
  • Plenty of parents to help with supervising this and other tables!

Apple Treat Tasting Station:

  • Apple pastries, cookies, Apple Juice, donuts, apple chips, etc. provided by parents.
  • You need cups, napkins, maybe spoons or forks.

Reading Station:

  • Small copies of a child level book about Johnny Appleseed – Prepare discussion questions in advance

Apple Printing Station:

  • Red and green and white poster paint
  • butcher paper or white paper
  • sponges for cleanup
  • apples cut into various shapes for printing
  • brushes
  • trays to pour paint into
  • newspaper to put under it all!
  • Drying racks or area set aside to place wet pictures!

Plan:

Happy Birthday Johnny Appleseed!

This is a Center Day Activity which I have used successfully to reinforce and add to our Johnny Appleseed Day Celebration. It is especially good because it integrates many other curriculum areas together, math, art, science, social studies, nutrition, language arts, etc.

First I read the story by Steven Kellogg entitled, Johnny Appleseed, A Tall Tale, which is linked to our fairy tales and tall tales unit. After reading the story we talk about Johnny Appleseed and that he was a real person but that the tales about him may have become more fictional as time has gone by. I often read other stories about Johnny and we compare information, often using a chart. I show them a map and where Johnny Appleseed traveled and we talk about his importance.

The children are then divided up into small groups and assigned a station. They rotate every 15 minutes or so. This is a Center Activity and takes about an hour and a half. I have previously set up 5 stations.

The first is the Apple Printing Station, the art station where children used different apple shapes and red and green print and paper to create lovely stamped apple designs. They can save it for wrapping paper or frame it with a border, or even turn it into a card.

The second station is the Apple Tasting Station where we compare 5 different types of apples for taste – sour – tart – sweet , etc. and the kids graph there favorite apple on a large class graph which we discuss and do “math talk” when the chart is complete.

The third station is the Reading Station where the children do a guided reading activity using small copies of a Johnny Appleseed book. They then talk out discussion questions with an adult leading the discussion.

The fourth station is the Applesauce Making Station. Here the kids cut up apples, measure cinnamon, butter, sugar, water and vanilla and make applesauce in a crock pot. The applesauce needs a good 3-4 hours to cook in the crock pots so start early! It is very tasty and the kids love it!

The fifth station is the Treat Station which the parents usually provide treats for. They are asked to send in any kind of apple treat – juice, pastries, apple chips, apple candy, apple butter, etc. and the kids get to taste and snack on it. Have plenty as all kids love this station!

You could also create a 6th station for this – perhaps a Math Station where the kids work on all kinds of math word problems with an apple theme. A science station could be created where the kids plant the apple seeds from the apples. Social Studies station could trace the states that Johnny Appleseed went to and planted and mark it on a U.S. map. Stories could be compared and contrasted and see which are fact and which are fictional stories about Johnny Appleseed Lots of ways to integrate this and to bring it up or down a level. I feel this is probably good for First through Fourth Grades depending how you change it. Hope you find this fun and interesting. It’s a great September Unit to do.

Comments:

This is a good Station Activity which keeps the kids actively involved in their learning and excited. It targets an area they enjoy – food – and art and they learn so much in such a fun environment. Enjoy! I have done this for 3 years and have great pictures to show the parents at Back to School Night.

By: Jan Formisano, 2nd Grade Teacher

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