Who doesn't like to work with food? Students will experiment with sliced apples and how to keep them fresh longer. It's a fun and entertaining project, that students always seem to enjoy, and is a great alternative to the classic bread mold experiment.
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You can use this lesson when you are teaching your students about fungus and mold, or when you are discussing how food decomposes.
Most science books use the bread experiment where mold is allowed to grow on bread. This is the same thing, but with apples. It also teaches a way to keep the apples fresh, with is a nice life skill for the student to have.
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Several apples sliced up
Plastic sandwich bags that zip closed
Brown paper lunch bag
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Tell students that sliced apples start to brown as soon as they are subjected to the air.
Let the students know that they can't stop the apple slices from rotting, but they can research some ways to keep the apple slices fresh for longer.
Have some of the students prepare the apples slices for use in this project. If none of your students knows how to slice an apple, this is a great first lesson, and another life skill they will now know.
Show the students the five methods they will be using (listed below) to see which one will keep the apple slices fresh the longest. Have them create a hypothesis as to which method will work the best and which one will be the least effective. Make sure they talk about why they feel their hypothesis is correct.
Have one student wrap three apple slices with aluminum foil.
Have a second student wrap three apple slices with wax paper.
Have a third student place three apple slices in a plastic sandwich bag that zips shut.
Have a fourth student place three apple slices in a brown lunch bag.
Have a fifth student place wrap three apple slices in Saran Wrap.
Leave a set of three apples out on a plate as a starting point for when the apples would begin to brown without any wrappings.
Put all of the apple slices in a refrigerator.
Check the apple slices daily and note their condition in your notebooks. Continue this for two weeks.
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Discuss which apple slices stayed fresh the longest and which ones began to rot rather quickly. This is the conclusion based on the facts recorded in the notebooks.
Have the students share their earlier hypothesis and whether or not their hypothesis was correct.
Let them know that this information is valuable and can help them save money on food by keeping the food they have fresh as long as possible.