Johnny Appleseed Mini Unit

It's Gina from Beach Sand and Lesson Plans here!

The official start of fall is just around the corner. Sadly, here in South Florida we don't get to experience the leaves changing or cooler weather. It's still HOT here and the palm fronds are green as ever. Even so, I enjoy bringing a little fall into my classroom. After all, it's my favorite season. Apples and Johnny Appleseed are my way of ringing in the season!

I created 5 activities that are perfect for a one or two day study.

During our reader's workshop time, I used this book by Jane Yolen, as our mentor text, Johnny Appleseed: The Legend and the Truth
I had the students fill out the "What I think I Know" section of this organizer first. We then discussed what is meant by a legend and why the book might have the subtitle "The Legend and the Truth". I told them we would discover as we read together. The rest of the chart will be filled out after reading.

I put the book under the doc camera so the kids could see the text as I was reading. I wanted to keep this more of a whole group activity since we are only spending about 2 days on it. They enjoyed the discussion and finding the facts as we read. During our next reading time, I will have them discuss the legend/truth part of this organizer prior to our group discussion.

I was able to connect the apple topic to our current science lesson. We have been talking about how scientists use their senses to make observations and then use those observations to make inferences. I set up the kids in groups of 4 and gave each group 3 different apples. They observed the outside of the apple first. I let them talk together. We shared adjectives that would make sense when talking about an apple. 

This group got a little surprise. When I took their Red Delicious out of the bag. It was ROTTEN on the top....really gross! The group was able to make a great inference based on their observation and they were right! The inside was just as rotten!
After they observed the outside, I cut each apple one at a time. They carefully looked at the seeds, the core, and then had a taste. It is such a simple activity and they had a blast! The gloves made them feel like little scientists! LOL!

They recorded their observations on this form.

In their science notebooks, they drew this diagram and labeled the parts of the apple.

 The last two activities in my mini unit are an opinion writing prompt and a sheet to label the life cycle of the apple. The 5 activities can also be used during a study of plants, a study of tall tales or pioneers, or even Arbor Day. Johnny Appleseed is not exclusive to the fall!

Hope you enjoy! Happy fall!

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