With the idea that we want to free up the end of the week a bit (I need to do some errands on Friday and Thursday is busy as well, so we’ll need to make our third day of preschool for the week a little lighter—maybe just workbooks and some review), we added a couple of hours today to our normal preschool schedule. Normally, we school just from wake-up until lunchtime; today we worked through the post-lunch hours. We managed to do the more demanding material in the morning, took a break during Eric’s nap with Harry Potter, and then had more relaxing lessons and activities in the afternoon.

Katie’s warm-up tray this morning involved using sequencing cards to identify the stages in the life cycle of an apple tree. I found a black and white printable at Toddler Boredom Busters—the mother who runs this blog has many great ideas! She had her children color them, but I decided to color them last night myself and then laminate them so that they have longer endurance, especially with Eric getting involved.

The sequencing cards helped to answer one of Katie’s queries on her KWL chart, and this activity also builds foundation for an apple tree cycle art project we have planned (also corresponding to one of our books).

Then we delved into one of our BIG math projects for this unit. We have been working with graphs over the past couple of weeks, learning how to read them and interpret them and how to make simple graphs. We decided to connect the skill of graphing with our apple unit. Last week we sent out Facebook and e-mail requests to our family members asking them to respond to a small survey: they had to choose their favorite fruit out of five that Katie picked (including apple). We love having family involved in our schooling: learning entails more of a sense of community that way.

We gathered the responses, and I printed them out.

Our first step this morning was to compile our data. We made columns for each of the five fruit choices (pineapple, pear, strawberry, blueberry, apple) as well as a column that Katie called “not knowing” which contained two responses that resided out of our prompt (raspberries and kiwi). As I read off each family member’s name and the fruit he or she chose, Katie put a hash mark in the appropriate column. We then counted up the hash marks in each and came up with totals for each column.

Then we graphed. I helped heavily here—mainly because I had to use small graph paper but then drew the lines on a larger scale, and I thought it would be too confusing to explain how I was doing that. But I did have Katie make some of the lines against the straight edge of the ruler, and she also was able to show me how high each bar of the graph was supposed to go. She also colored each of the bars and drew the fruit it represented underneath each bar.  She also wrote the title, “Family Fruit.”

Our finished graph! Thank you, FAMILY, for helping! We enjoyed having you be a part of this experience with us.

Katie works on her workbooks with the graph in the background. Our “apple space” is growing! Feels a little like a classroom, now, actually!

After Eric woke up from his nap, we held our apple tasting activity!

We tested the Red Delicious, Gala, and Granny Smith varieties—all that they had on hand at Ralph’s. I know there were additional varieties at Baron’s this week, but I chose to keep it on the simpler side. In the coming years, we might conduct a bigger taste testing. Before we started, I took pictures of each apple, printed them out, and had Katie cut them out and paste them into a chart drawn in her Nature Journal. We labeled each type, set up a column for our observations, and then drew three little columns for Katie, Eric, and I to rank the apples according to preference.

Before tasting each of the apples, we made our observations and discussed apple nomenclature: skin, stem, flesh, core, seeds. By the second apple, Eric was able to identify the stem. We also counted the seeds for each apple and noted the number (8) in our observations. We also asked questions before and during the test such as: What color is the flesh? Is the skin shiny or dull? What color is the skin? Is the apple juicy, crunchy, sweet, sour, etc? Katie even noticed that some had different sounds when we cut them.

We taste tested each apple together. In between, we cleared our palates with water.

Eric investigates the Gala.

Katie liked the Gala best, followed by the Red Delicious. She thought the Granny Smith was “yucky!” but we talked about how and why we can use it so well in baking (which Amie reinforced later). Eric actually liked the Granny Smith quite a bit.

I intended that we use only 1/2 of each apple for our taste testing, so that we could use the other half of each to make some tempura apple prints.

We each made three prints (all we had time for before Mr. Tempura Hands was eager to run into the family room)! Katie’s three are on the left in this picture; Eric and Mommy’s dual-effort prints are on the right.

Happy homeschooling!