Apples are a favorite fall food. Fresh, crisp apples taste so delicious as a snack or as part of a healthy lunch. Evidence shows that apples have been a food for human beings for many thousands of years. The first permanent European settlers brought apples to America. Apples were planted in America by 1630. John Chapman planted apples throughout the Midwest. You may know him as Johnny Appleseed!
There are many activities that show the surprising characteristics of apples.
Sink or Float?
This Apple Pi by local artist Kate Marshall is available at SMART Centre Market, Wheeling.
You will need:
1. Apples of various sizes and varieties
2. Large, deep bowl
Here is what you will do:
1. Fill a deep bowl almost full of water (ask an adult to help you)
2. Predict whether the apple will float or sink.
3. One at a time, place the apples gently into the water.
4. Do the apples float or sink? Do they all float or sink? Why do you think so?
Have you ever looked inside an apple? There is a surprise inside an apple but only if you look at it in a certain way. Most of the time we cut an apple from top to bottom, or vertically. For this activity, the apple will be cut around the middle, or horizontally. Ask an adult to help you carefully cut the apple. What do you see inside the apple?
2. sharp knife (an adult should help you!)
3. cutting board
1. With an adult's help, place the apple on a cutting board.
2. Carefully cut the apple around the middle (not top to bottom).
3. Look to see what you notice inside the apple. Compare this to how an apple normally looks inside when we cut it top to bottom.
For older children, there is a lot of mathematics to be discovered. If you measure the angles of the "star" inside the apple with a protractor, what do you find? You may notice that there is what is called five-sided symmetry If you connect the ends of the star it models a pentagon. Did you know that the "golden mean," or Phi, can be calculated using the proportions of a star or pentagon? Check out this link: goldennumber.net/five(5).htm
We have all enjoyed apple pie for dessert. Here is a "tasty" math recipe for Apple "Pi."
1. Horizontally cut apple (possibly from previous activity)
2. tape measure or piece of string and a ruler
What you will do:
1. Measure the distance around the edge of the hortizontally cut apple.
2. Record the distance in centimeters by using your measuring tape or a piece of string that you then measure with a ruler.
3. Measure the distance from one edge of the cut apple through the center.
4. Record the number of centimeters for the diameter of your cut apple.
5. Divide the distance in centimeters around the apple (circumference) by the number of centimeters across the apple (diameter).
6. This value is called Pi. It is the same number for all circles!
- Libby and Robert Strong and Richard Pollack work with the SMART Center, a hands-on science outreach and education organization in the northern Ohio Valley, the headquarters of which is located at the SMART Centre Market, 30 22nd St., Wheeling. Visit them at www.smartcenter.org.