It’s time to learn about apples

Apples provide learning opportunities in careers, math, science and health.

Photo by Beverly Przystas, MSU Extension.
Photo by Beverly Przystas, MSU Extension.

Michigan is the nation’s third largest producer of apples. There are more than 11.2 million apple trees covering 35,500 acres on 825 family-run farms in Michigan, according to Michigan Apples.

Science, math, health and basic education can all be part of the learning process when talking about apples.

  • Apples are healthy food choices. They are low in calories, rich in fiber and have been associated with lowering the risk of some cancers, strokes and diabetes. They are packed with vitamins C and A. Eating fresh apples with the skin on is the best. Healthy apple treats can be offered such as apple slices with a caramel dip, eating the whole apple or drying apple slices to snack on later. Try different apple varieties with kids. Ask how the apple tastes and what makes it different. Let youth choose by color and size and learn the different types.
  • Try making a variety of recipes using apples. Children can utilize math and measurements when making an apple pie, for instance.
  • Youth can learn vocabulary words related to apples. One idea is to play Apple Bingo—as you call out a name of an apple, youth can put a chip on that word or picture.
  • When introducing science, have youth review parts of the apples and flower and teach them about the growing season of the apple. Have youth cut an apple in half and find the star. Learn the definition of pollen, bees and stem.
  • Financial literacy can be taught when youth visit an apple orchard or grocery store to buy apples and the ingredients for the apple pie or other apple recipes.
  • Take your family out to an orchard and spend the afternoon picking apples for exercise and family memories.
  • There are many books on apples that can be read to younger children. Go to the local library or check with your local Michigan State University Extension county office for information on 4-H and youth programs that engage youth in outdoor education.
  • For older youth, explore careers and roles that make an apple orchard function. Visit an apple orchard, learn how the orchard runs, what the growing season is and maybe get a part-time job just to get a feel of the whole orchard experience. Observe and discuss the different staff members that are needed to keep the orchard in business and the value-added products (cider, donuts, hay rides) the company adds to their apple product.

For more information on programs for youth in healthy living, visit the Michigan 4-H website.

To learn about the positive impact children and families experience due to MSU Extension programs, read our 2016 impact report: “Preparing young children for success” and “Preparing the future generation for success.” Additional impact reports, highlighting even more ways Michigan 4-H and MSU Extension positively impacted individuals and communities in 2016, can be downloaded from the MSU Extension website.

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