Fall is in the air and the fruit of the season—the beloved apple—is ripe for the picking. Venture on over to your local apple orchard—or head to the nearest supermarket—and grab a dozen or two to bake into a pie or pack into a lunchbox. You’ll also want to save an apple to test out one of these fun, apple-centered STEM activities. Transform an apple into a volcano, sprout apple seeds and whip up a little apple spice oobleck… your kids will see apples from an entirely new and interesting (STEM!) perspective.
Transform apples into mini-volcanos and teach your kids about chemical reactions. A chemical reaction occurs between two or more substances that change and form a new substance; in this experiment, an acid (vinegar) is combined with a base solid (baking soda) to create a gas called carbon dioxide and thus a mini-eruption.
- Apples, with core removed halfway with a knife or apple corer by an adult
- Baking soda
- Small measuring cup with a spout
- Pack baking soda into the apple hole.
- Add a drop of dish soap for a foamier eruption. For added color, add a few drops of food coloring.
- You will want to pour your vinegar into an easy to use cup for the kiddos. Even better, have kids use eye droppers to “ignite” the eruption.
You can also have kids experiment with different liquids (water, milk, etc) to see if they will produce a chemical reaction.
Sprout Apple Seeds
Focus on the life cycle of apples by learning how the seed turns into a sprout that turns into a plant that turns into a tree! It’s always a good reminder to show how even a tiny, humble apple seed can grow into a mighty tree.
- Plastic bag
- Wet paper towel
- Apple seeds
- Soak apple seeds in water for one hour.
- Place a moistened, folded paper towel into a plastic bag.
- Add the apple seeds—at least 10 or so.
- Store the plastic bag inside the crisper drawer of a refrigerator for about 30 days or until sprouted. Be sure to re-moisten the sponge and paper towel, as needed, so the seeds never fully dry out. After the seeds are sprouted you can plant them in individual containers filled with soil/compost.
Apple Spice Oobleck
Oobleck is liquid when held in hand, a solid when rolled into a ball. Not a true liquid nor a true solid, Oobleck is known as non-Newtonian fluid. While this easy-to-make substance boasts some interesting physical properties, kids will also love both making and playing with it.
- 1/2 cup applesauce (you can also use water)
- 1 cup cornstarch
- Bowl and spoon for mixing
Mix applesauce, cornstarch and a dash of cinnamon in a bowl and stir with a spoon or—even better—with your hands until fully combined into oobleck. Enjoy!