Apple Science Experiments & STEM Activities

apple science experiments & STEM activities

Fall is one of my favorite seasons! I love the pretty fall leaves and the cooler “jeans & jacket” weather. Nature also gives us lots of great sensory experiences during the fall.

One of my favorite themes during the fall season is apples, not only because they are my favorite fruit (honeycrisp are just so good!) but also because we can do a lot of fun, engaging hands-on activities with them.

In this post I’m sharing the most popular science experiments and STEM activities (as well as a few crafts) that students have enjoyed over the years.

Since I now have iPads available, we have started using them to record our findings and observations. Not only do students find this more engaging but it also teaches them how to use technology as a tool. Since this was not always the case, I’ve included both the print and digital options used for each experiment.

What’s Inside an Apple?

This is a great introductory activity to an apple unit. Prior to beginning, I set out different types of apples for students to observe and handle.

Then I ask them what they think is inside an apple. Oftentimes students will say things like “the part we can eat”, “the white part”, and seeds.

When they say “seeds” I then tell them that each apple has a shape that holds the seeds and ask if they know what shape it is and how many seeds they think it holds.

Students write and draw their guesses on the What’s Inside an Apple? page. For the Pic Collage version, we used the Doodle and Text tools to record our predictions.

apple experiment page  apple experiment page Pic Collage

I then say that we are going to cut an apple open and find out what shape is inside. To see the shape, the apple has to be cut horizontally.  The children then discover the star inside!

cutting apple horizontally  apple cut in half

The seeds are then removed with a toothpick and we count them.

apple and seeds

Students record the actual findings on their page.  When using Pic Collage students are able to take actual photographs of the apple!

apple experiment page  apple experiment page

For an extension activity, cut open several more apples of various sizes and shapes to see if they are all the same.  The star shape will be in each, but the number of seeds will vary.

The Parts of an Apple

When explaining the parts of an apple, I like to use word wall cards as visual aides. They help students learn the words and the the real photos enable them to relate what is on the card to what they are seeing in the experiments and activities.

apple word wall cards

I cut open a real apple and then explain each part and its function.

Afterwards, I place the apple parts in a sorting tray along with magnifying glasses and allow students to touch and observe them.

parts of an apple in sorting tray

After their observations, students take a photo of the tray in Pic Collage and label the parts using the words from the word bank or the apple parts word wall cards.

apple sorting tray page Pic Collage

Parts of an Apple Craftivities

The following crafts are perfect for introducing and reviewing the parts of an apple.

Coffee Filter Apple Core Craft

Materials Needed:

Coffee filters

Glue

Watercolor paint

Paintbrush

Scissors

To prepare the craft, fold a coffee filter in half.  Cut a semi-circle from the round side.  You will have 2 leaf shaped pieces. Leave one for the leaf and cut the other one into a stem.

apple craft - coffee filter apple craft - coffee filter apple craft - coffee filter

Students use the watercolors to paint the skin (red, green, or yellow), the leaf, the stem, and some seeds.

apple core coffee filter craft

When dry, students glue the stem and leaf to the apple core.

apple craft coffee filter

A great way to extend the learning of this craft is to have students take photos of their crafts and label the parts of their apple using Pic Collage.

parts of an apple page

Another option is to have students do a cut and paste activity.

apple cut and paste activity page

Paper Plate Whole Apple Craft

Materials Needed:

Paper plates

Red, green, yellow, and white tissue paper

Real apple seeds OR black or brown tissue paper

Green and brown construction paper

Scissors

Watered down glue

Paintbrushes

To prepare this craft, cut the tissue paper into small squares.

Students glue the white tissue paper squares in the center of the paper plate to represent the flesh of the apple (dip the paintbrush in the watered down glue, paint some glue onto the plate, place the tissue squares on the glue).

apple craftivity

Students glue red, green, or yellow tissue paper squares around the outside of the plate to represent the apple skin.

apple craftivity

Students cut out a stem and leaf from construction paper and glue them on the plate.

Students then glue either real apple seeds to the center of the plate or crinkle up black or brown tissue paper to resemble seeds and glue them to the center of the plate.

apple craftivity - paper plate apple

You can also use Pic Collage to take photos and label this craft similar to the craft above or do a cut and paste activity to check student understanding.

parts of an apple Pic Collage

apple cut and paste page

Sink or Float Apple Experiment

This is a simple experiment that students always enjoy doing. Pose the question – “Do you think an apple will sink or float in water?”.

Allow students to hold and handle a few apples prior to making their predictions. You can make a class graph of students’ predictions or students can record their individual prediction on a page.

I like providing a page with a bowl and having students draw the apple in the appropriate place. This helps them understand the difference between what it means to sink or float.

apple sink or float experiment page

After students have recorded their predictions, place an apple in a bowl of water and see what happens (the apple should float).

apple sink or float experiment

You can also do this experiment with different color apples and have students predict what they think each color of apple will do – sink or float?

We recently did this using the Doodle tool in Pic Collage.

apple sink or float experiment page

After students have recorded their predictions, place each color of apple in the water and see what happens (they will all float).

apple sink or float experiment

Explain to students that apples float because they are approximately 25% air (they have air pockets) which makes them less dense than water.

I then have students draw what actually happened in the experiment and write what they learned.

apple sink or float experiment page    apple sink or float experiment page

Apple Boats STEM

In this activity students design and build apple sailboats and then test them to see if they will float.

Materials Needed:

Apples cut in half and quarters

Toothpicks

Construction paper

Copier paper

Scissors

Crayons (optional)

Tub of water

To prepare this activity cut some apples in half and some in quarters or smaller pieces.  You will need enough for each student to have an apple piece for their boat.

You can choose to have students cut out their own sails from the paper OR if doing this activity with younger students you can choose to cut out some sails for them. Cut sails of different sizes and shapes.

You will also need a tub or container of water in which students can sail their apple boats.

Students cut out and design their sails from either the heavier construction paper or the lighter weight copier paper and draw their design and name on them.

Students use a toothpick to attach their sail to the apple bottom of their choice to create their apple boat.

apple boat

Allow students to place their apple boats in the water to see if they will float.  Students observe the boats and draw conclusions about the various boat bottoms and sails used.

apple boats STEM challenge apple boats STEM challenge

When doing this STEM challenge I like to have students pre-plan and design their boats and reflect on what they learned after sailing them.

apple boats STEM page

Pic Collage can also be used. Students can use the Doodle, Photos, and Text tools to complete the page.

apple boats STEM page Pic Collage

Apple Tower STEM Challenge

The challenge is for students to build the tallest freestanding structure using apple pieces and toothpicks within the given time period.

Materials Needed:

Apples pieces

Toothpicks (flat toothpicks for younger students)

Tape measure

To prepare this activity cut some apples into small, square pieces. You will need approximately 2 cups for each team or student.

Students can complete this challenge in pairs, teams, or individually.

The object of the challenge is for each team or student to build the tallest freestanding structure on the surface of a table within the allotted time period of 5 minutes (time can be adjusted).

Give each team or student a pile of apple pieces and approximately 50-75 toothpicks.

apple tower STEM challenge

On your signal students can begin constructing their apple towers.

apple tower STEM challenge

When time is up, students must step away from their towers.

Measure each tower from the table top to the highest point.

The winner is the structure that stands the highest vertical point above the table.

apple tower STEM challenge measurement apple tower STEM challenge apple tower STEM challenge

After the challenge I have students reflect on what was easy, what was challenging, and what they learned. We have done both print versions and digital versions using Pic Collage.

apple tower STEM challenge page  apple tower STEM challenge page

What Keeps an Apple From Turning Brown? Experiment

During this experiment students will discover what substance will keep an apple from turning brown.

Materials Needed:

Apples pieces

Small bowls or containers

Vinegar

Baking soda

Milk

Water

Lemon juice

Before beginning the experiment ask students if they know why apples turn brown.  Explain that browning occurs because of a chemical reaction between oxygen and an enzyme in the apples (oxidation). Oxidation happens when you expose the inside (flesh) of an apple to air.  Another type of oxidation that students may have seen is rust (when metal comes in contact with oxygen).

Tell students that there are certain substances that can help keep an apple from browning. They are going to test some to see which one works the best.

Prior to beginning the experiment, have students guess which substance they think will work the best and write their predictions on a chart or on a recording page.

apple browning experiment page

Cut an apple into 6 pieces. Place a piece of apple in each container and cover it with a substance (water, milk, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice). Leave one apple piece with nothing on it (the control).  Label the containers. Let sit for several hours.

what prevents an apple from turning brown experiment

After several hours allow students to observe the results. All of the apple pieces should show some form of browning except for the lemon juice.

Explain that the lemon juice has ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and the oxygen reacted with it first before reacting with the enzymes in the apple. If the ascorbic acid in the lemon juice would get used up, then the oxygen would begin to react with the enzymes in the apple and browning would occur.

apple experiment what prevents an apple from turning brown

I like to have students record the outcome of the experiment by coloring pictures of apple slices to resemble the results and then writing which substance worked best.

apple browning experiment page

We have also recorded results using Pic Collage and taking actual photos of each container.

apple browning experiment page Pic Collage

Jumping Apple Seeds Experiment

I love watching students’ reactions to this experiment!

Materials Needed:

Apple seeds

Clear glass

Water

Baking soda

Lemon juice

Measuring spoons

Prior to beginning the experiment explain to students that you are going to put apple seeds in a glass of water with baking soda and lemon juice.

Have students predict what they think will happen. I like giving them multiple choices from which to choose.

apple seeds experiment page

Add about 2/3 teaspoon baking soda to the glass. Add ½ cup water.

Drop apple seeds into the mixture.

jumping apple seeds experiment

Add a tablespoon of lemon juice and stir the mixture.

jumping apple seeds experiment

The mixture will begin to bubble and the apple seeds will “jump” up and down!

jumping apple seeds experiment jumping apple seeds experiment

You can watch a video of the jumping apple seeds here:

We take photos in Pic Collage of the seeds jumping up and down (they can also draw or write about what happened).

apple seed experiment page

Apple Volcano

This is a fun experiment that students love to watch!

Materials Needed:

Apples

Vinegar

Baking soda

Pan or baking sheet

Food coloring (optional)

Apple pie spice (optional)

Cut a hole in the top of an apple.

apple volcano

Add some baking soda to the hole in the apple. Optional: You can mix apple pie spice to the baking soda if you want a pie smell.

apple volcano

Add food coloring to the vinegar if desired

apple volcano

Place the apple in a pan or backing sheet to catch the lava overflow.

Pour the vinegar on the baking soda inside the apple and watch it erupt!

apple volcano science experiment

apple volcano science experiment  apple volcano science experiment

The Science Behind It:
The vinegar (acid) reacts with the baking soda (base) causing carbon dioxide bubbles. As the carbon dioxide bubbles rise up they bring some of the mixture with them causing it to “explode” or “erupt”.

If you would like to use the apple science experiments printable pages with your students they are available here along with step by step directions on how to use them with the free app Pic Collage, more detailed experiment instructions, and a few more apple activities.

Apple Science Experiments, STEM Activities

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