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Apple Engineering

Fall is here and with it some great fall foods including apples! Did you know apples can be used for STEM?

Kids often don’t think of fruit as part of the life cycle of plants but without fruit, there would be no more apples! Ask your children why apple trees grow apples. Cut the apple in half to show the seeds inside. Ask if their thinking has changed once they see the seeds. Apple trees (and all fruit trees) grow fruit to produce more apple trees!

With the cut up apple, why not do some engineering?

Cut the apple into pieces about a half inch each. Use the apple pieces and toothpicks to make a tower. How tall can you make a tower? Can you make a tower strong enough to hold up a whole apple?

Now that you have been using the same apple for a while you probably noticed it’s getting brown. An enzyme in the apple’s flesh (the part we eat) reacts with oxygen which starts turning the apple brown. Does anything stop this process?

Cut a new apple into slices and place each slice into a cup. In one cup add lemon juice, in another cup add milk, add plain water to a third cup. Look through your kitchen cabinets and refrigerator to find other liquids to test with the apple slices such as baking soda or vinegar.

Acids react with the enzyme to slow the browning process. Keep experimenting to see what works best. Does refrigerating the cut apple make a difference?

When you are done with all of your STEM activities, enjoy an apple for all of your hard work!

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