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. So we decided to create an Apple Stem engineering challenge to solve this real-world problem. This apple activity would be a great topic for a science fair, or just to solve a problem many families face. This apple science will have children creating an artificial skin that will keep the inside of the apple from oxidizing. This apple science experiment is perfect for kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th graders too.
Have you ever wondered why apples turn brown? Or better yet, how to stop apples from turning brown. In this apple stem activity we will explore how we can stop apples from turning brown while exploring the scientific method of problem solving. This stem activity for fall is great for kindergartners, grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, grade 5, and grade 6 students. So let’s dive right in and explore an Apple STEM 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.
Apple Stem Activity
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.
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.
Apple Science Experiment
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!
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