Ten Apples Up On Top

In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2nd, we decided to try some fun STEM activities related to his fabulous books!  This particular activity is based on his book, “Ten Apples Up On Top”.  This activity would also be fun during the fall when doing a unit on Apples.  Whenever you do it, this is easy to set up and challenging for all ages!

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Decorative small apples (I got mine from Hobby Lobby)
  • Playdoh or soft clay

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Here’s the challenge:  How many apples can YOU stack on top of each other?  For the littles the challenge was 3 apples.  For my older kids, it was 6.  For the parents in my class, it was 10.

So easy to set up!  Just give your little ones a box of decorative apples and some playdoh and let them start stacking.

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We removed the stems from the apples to make stacking easier.

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We tried putting apples upside down.

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We tried putting playdoh under the apples for stability.

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My older sons were able to get 5 apples stacked on top.  They had to work together, which was a WIN for this mama!

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A parent in my tot class was so engrossed in this activity and got 7 apples stacked.

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And the best part?  When they fall over!  (Or get knocked over!)

Finish off the activity by reading Dr. Seuss’s book, “Ten Apples Up On Top”.

For more fun Apple science activities, try the following:

For more Dr. Seuss STEM, try the following:

Science Behind the Activity:

This is a simple STEM activity that encourages creative thinking and problem solving to figure out how to best stack the apples.  Upside down or right side up apples?  Playdoh on top or on the bottom or none at all?  And early math skills for the youngest tots can be enforced by counting the apples as they are stacked (or fall!)  Best of all, it encourages teamwork and working together.

To see where I got my idea from and for more details, follow the link below:

http://theeducatorsspinonit.com/2016/09/stacking-apples-game-for-kids.html

 

 

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Apple Volcano

This was our first full week of fall and it’s been HOT and sweltering over here.  Finally today, it feels like Fall and it’s a perfect day to celebrate apple season.  Aside from eating and baking apples, why not use some over-ripe apples to play with? Here’s an easy twist on the classic “volcano” experiment, just in time for Apple season.  So, while you are picking out your apples, get a few extra and let your little ones have some explosive fun!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Apples (any variety will do)
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Food coloring/liquid water colors (optional – but everything is so much more fun with colors!)
  • Knife and metal spoon to hollow it out (Adult use only)
  • droppers and spoons
  • cups
  • Tray to contain the mess

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First cut the top off the apple and scoop out the insides and the seeds to form a “bowl”.  I found it easiest to cut a circle off the top and then use a metal tablespoon to scoop it out.

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This kept the top of the apple intact to use as a lid.  We saved the seeds and stem for our Exploring the Five Senses with Apples activity.

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I set up a tray with the hollowed apple, dropper, cup of baking soda, spoon and cup of vinegar (I colored ours red for fun)

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Then I invited the superheroes to play.  These little ones KNOW exactly what to do with baking soda and vinegar!

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Repeat as many times as your superheroes want to do it.  We went through a box of baking soda between the two older ones!

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The Science behind the activity:

This is a classic acid-base reaction.  Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid.  When they combine, they create a chemical reaction where the baking soda neutralizes the vinegar.  A by-product of the reaction is carbon dioxide.  That is what the bubbles are.  As the carbon dioxide is formed and bubbles out, it carries some liquid up with it, hence the “eruption”.

Extension: 

There are a million ways to do this experiment.  I can pretty much adapt this to any theme.  Another great Halloween theme application of this is the Pumpkin Volcano, which we also did.

For my Tiny Tot class, I ended the class by reading “Ten Apples On Top” by Dr. Seuss.

For more Apple Science Activities, try the following:

 

 

Apple Bubble Science!

What kid doesn’t LOVE bubbles? Here’s a quick and easy bubble experiment perfect for the Fall!  Bubbles in Apples!  And it should buy you some time to get dinner going while your kids have some fun.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • water
  • juice
  • milk
  • straw
  • Hollowed out apple (although you can really do this in a glass or bowl.  Apples just make it more fun!)
  • tray/bowl

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Hollow out your apple.  I used an apple that was past its prime and was deemed un-edible by my boys.

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Add some water to the center and let your kids blow bubbles through the straw.  This is great for young toddlers who are learning to blow and is totally safe if they accidentally suck up the water.

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Ask them what they notice about the bubbles.  Do the bubbles last or do they pop quickly?  My boys noticed that the bubbles splattered everywhere.

Dump the liquid out and fill the apple with juice.  Ask your kids if they think juice will make the bubbles any different.  What is different about juice and water?  What is the same?  Will it make a difference?  Then let them blow their bubbles.

Notice that the juice didn’t really make much of a difference as juice is mostly water with a bit of sugar.

Repeat with milk.  As the same questions before blowing bubbles.  What happened?

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Milk is composed of fat and proteins which cause the bubbles to last longer and not pop.  The fun part of this is that the bubbles start overflowing from the apple.

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This was by far the most fun part of the experiment and my boys wanted to keep doing it over and over again.  When the tiny tots did it in class, they loved it too!  Lots of giggles!

Extensions for older kids: Have older kids explain what is different about the chemical make-up of juice, water and milk.  Ask them to explain their predictions and then try to see if they can explain the results.  Have them try different liquids and predict the behavior of bubbles.  Why might dish soap and water create such resistant bubbles?

For more Apple Science Activities, try:

The Science behind the Activity:

This experiment introduces the concept of surface tension.  Surface tension is the thin skin-like film on the surface of water.  Water has high surface tension which causes the water molecules to stick to each other (ever tried the drops on a penny and seen the dome shape of water on top?).  when a bubble forms, it stretches the water molecules causing the surface tension to break and the bubbles will pop.  Juice behaves similarly because most juices are mainly water.  But milk is a bit different.  It has fat and proteins and this causes milk to have less surface tension which causes the bubbles to last longer and the skin-like surface to stretch more easily.  When you blow bubbles in milk, they don’t pop as easily, creating the fun eruptions of milk bubbles overflowing.

For a detailed explanation of the science behind this activity, click on the following link: https://hilltownfamilies.wordpress.com/2008/05/27/kramp-2/

To see where I got my idea from, click on the following link: http://preschoolpowolpackets.blogspot.com/2015/08/edible-bubble-science-with-apples.html

Apple Float or Sink?

Fall is a fun time to play with apples and go apple picking.   If you have a few extra apples laying around, here’s a great investigation for the tiny tots in your home to investigate whether apples sink or float when placed in water.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • apples of different varieties (we used, Fuji, Granny Smith and Red Delicious)
  • Bin with water
  • Knife (to cut apples, for adult use only)

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Have your superheroes hold the apples in their hands and predict what will happen when it is placed in water.  We tried 3 different types of apples, making a hypothesis (prediction) before placing each one in the water.

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First the Granny Smith apple

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Then the Red Delicious and Fuji apples

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All three apples floated.  There was no difference between the 3 varieties.  But why did they float?  Apples have a lot of small air pockets inside that cause them to float in water.

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But what about the individual apple parts?  Do all the apple parts float? We decided to find out by cutting an apple open and testing each part in a cup of water.

What we noticed was the apple pieces and the peel still floated in water.

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But, the stem and the seeds did not float.

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This was a great investigation on floating and sinking using apples!  And while you have a bunch of apple parts lying around, try exploring your 5 senses using apples.  Or let the little ones “bob” for apples!

For more Apple Science Activities, try:

The Science behind the Activity:

Apples contain quite a bit of air inside them which causes the overall density of the apple to be less than that of water, so it floats.  By testing the individual parts, we can see that not all parts of the apple float in water but when all the parts are put together they do.

 

Pumpkin Volcano

So who doesn’t love a little vinegar and baking soda action?  Here’s an easy twist on the classic “volcano” experiment, just in time for Halloween.  So, while you are picking out your pumpkins, grab a small sugar pumpkin and let your little ones have some explosive fun!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Small Pumpkin (I used sugar pumpkins that were 2/$1 at our local produce stand but you can also use the small decorative pumpkins too)
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Food coloring/liquid water colors (optional – but everything is so much more fun with colors!)
  • Small cup (optional)
  • Syringes and droppers (optional-my kids love using these!)
  • Dish/Container to place the pumpkin in to catch the “eruption”

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First, cut the top of the pumpkin out and scoop out the seeds.

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Mini Decorative Pumpkin

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Sugar Pie Pumpkin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We tried the experiment by adding our “chemicals” directly into the pumpkins, but the baking soda started clumping up after awhile and it was hard to clean them out in between students.

So, we cut off the top of a small plastic cup so that it fits inside the pumpkin.  This is optional but we found that it was easier for repeating the experiment if there was a cup inside.  It is by no means necessary.

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Next, we poured some vinegar into a cup.  My superheroes chose to add red liquid watercolor to make “vampire’s blood”.  For my science class, I had 6 rainbow colors for the tots to choose from.

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Add a teaspoon of baking soda into the pumpkin

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Then add some vinegar (vampire’s blood!).  My superheroes love using droppers.

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Repeat as many times as your superheroes want to do it.  We went through a box of baking soda between the two older ones!

In my Tiny Tot class, I gave each child a tray with cups of colored vinegar and baking soda for them to do some free play

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When I did this with my son’s Kindergarten class, we added some spiders and plastic eyeballs for some extra fun.

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The Science behind the activity:

This is a classic acid-base reaction.  Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid.  When they combine, they create a chemical reaction where the baking soda neutralizes the vinegar.  A by-product of the reaction is carbon dioxide.  That is what the bubbles are.  As the carbon dioxide is formed and bubbles out, it carries some liquid up with it, hence the “eruption”.

Extension: 

There are a million ways to do this experiment.  I can pretty much adapt this to any theme.  Another great fall theme application of this is the Apple-cano, which we also did.  This time the superheroes chose “green slime” as the color of the eruption.

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For other fun Pumpkin and Halloween related science activities, try: