Practical Engineering Challenge with Apples

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Practical Engineering Challenge with Apples

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Apples are a wonderful snack, but when teeth are coming and going like my children's are, they need to be sliced. Then the apples turn brown. Fast food restaurants solve this problem by adding an acid, but that makes the apple sour. Here's an engineering challenge that would be a great topic for a science fair, or just to solve a problem many families face. Make an artificial skin that will keep the inside of the apple from oxidizing.
Apple Science Project - This is such a fun, practical engineering challenge for kids using apples. This science project is perfect for fall for prek, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade students in the classroom, science fair project, homeschool, or as a fun weekend project.

Why do apples turn brown?

Oxidation is a process in which oxygen binds to the molecules of the apple. As this happens the flesh of the apple turns brown and a little mushy. In order to prevent this process you can bind something else to the flesh of the apple, which is what the restaurants do. The down side is that the flavor of the apple is distorted. Another possible solution is to protect the flesh of the apple from the air. This is the challenge for your child.

why do apples turn brown? An engineering challenge with apples

Engineering challenge

For this experiment you will need apple slices and whatever your child chooses to make a skin to help the apple not turn brown such as: plastic, foil, and cheese.

fall science project for kids - stop apples from turning brown

Control and experimental variables

When testing your child's solutions be sure to compare against an apple slice that is open to the air. This is known as the control group. By watching the control apple slice turn brown, you can decide when you should evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies. The various skins are the experimental variables, and the apples wearing them are the experimental groups.

control apple for practical engineering change perfect for science fair project

Science as a cyclical process

If your child finds something that seems to work, discuss how the solution could be improved. Try again. One of the things that experts are really emphasizing right now is the importance of seeing the
scientific process as cyclical. Go through a set of trials, analyze your results, then go through another set of trials.

Who knows, your child may come up with the solution we are all using to pack lunches five years from now!

Fun Fall Science Experiments for Kids

Christy McGuire is a former AP physics teacher, and current mother of 4. She and her children enjoy exploring science and math together. Head over to Thriving STEM to find more science, technology, engineering and math ideas to use with your kids.  Follow along on FacebookInstagramPinterest, and Twitter.

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