Unit Studies: Apples
I mentioned last time that we worked on a unit about Apples. Essentially, I did a search for activities / crafts / lessons and resources (videos / websites / etc.) about Apples. Then, the kids and I would do a project a day – learning more about apples and we also would read books about apples. Sometimes the books would be about the apple industry, apple picking, cooking with apples, etc. and other times we would read fictional stories that had to do with apples (for fun).
The girls really enjoyed this approach – especially the cooking and tasting aspect of the lessons. After we did our lessons, we kept materials related to the lesson (crafts we made / a recipe card / etc.) to keep a record of what we learned. Then, we put them all together into booklet form. Part of the “booklet” was similar to lapbooking and part of it was more like notebooking – where we preserved what we did so we can look at it later and remember. Hopefully 🙂 this makes sense.
Esentially – I am hoping (insha’Allah) to use this method especially with science and with history. I think we will also use it for Islamic Studies. I am thinking that we will only do one unit study at a time and rotate between the subjects (unless we have two topics we are covering at a time that would make good unit studies.)
So, these days we are working on learning math, reading, writing, memorizing Qur’an, Seerah and science (on the side as a unit study). I have decided that if we work on a unit study – we will work on it until we are finished. Then, while I plan out the next unit study, we will replace unit studies with reading books (Childcraft Encyclopedia, etc.) about specific scientific topics or do a few experiments for fun. Insha’Allah this will work for us – but I am still working on it.
* To start, we made a page detailing the following: (what we know about apples / what we want to know about apples) and we put this information on the first page of our book. At the end of the lesson, we will make a page entitled “what we learned” and I will have the girls tell me what they learned from the study (in their own words). I ended up cutting out apple shapes and then put “what we know” and “what we want to know” inside the apples and pasted them to construction paper.
* I made title pages for the different subjects (not sure if I would do this again). With this lesson plan, we covered science, language skills, Arabic, math, art, and then we also had a section for “just for fun” stuff – coloring, mazes, etc. all related to apples.
For science, we found a lot of nice books to use. One author that I highly recommend (especially if you want to make a lapbook) is Nancy Elizabeth Wallace. Here books are wonderful because she actually uses paper to make her illustrations – so, it would give you good ideas for your lapbook. We also discussed different types of apples and also had a taste test – tasting different types of apples to help them notice differences and to determine which apples they preferred. (After this, my youngest who is 3 keeps telling Dad that she only wants him to purchase Gala apples). Here are examples of our notebook:
We placed in our notebook a chart of the different types of apples that were sold in our area – tasted them and then and then described on the chart its color, taste and our reviews of the taste. Needless to say, no one liked Braeburn apples – but if you ever get a chance to try a Pink Lady Apple, do so – it is delicious! We also discussed (mostly through books) pollenation and I gave the girls a picture of an apple blossom with all its parts labeled to color. We then discussed the different parts. We also put in a diagram of an Apple Blossom through its stages of budding – just to help the girls realize the process that it goes through.
We also discussed seasons and I had the girls color a picture of an apple tree through the sesons that I found on the Enchanted Learning website. We then created an apple sequence game that I found online – see picture above.
For language skills, I found a few cute rhymes about apples. We sang them together and I made a page so that we could see which rhymes we used (see picture below). We read a few fictional stories about apples and also made several mini-books about apples that we found online. For those that were black and white, I let the girls color them and then we put all of them in the notebook. Online I also found some writing practice sheets that had apples on them – some with zigzag lines for the 3 year old and some with the word “apple” written out and the letter “a” for my older girl to practice.
For Arabic, I simply decided what words I wanted the girls to learn related to apples. In this case, I used apple, apple tree, apple pie and apple juice. I found pictures online of these items, printed them and cut them out. Then I printed off the words and put them with the pictures on a page of construction paper. On my computer, I found a clipart picture of an apple and made it larger for the girls to color. I then added the arabic text “tufah” or apple for the girls to trace. I also made a mini-book of my own to teach the girls their colors in Arabic. I made the minibook with the same clipart apple picture (resized) and on each page wrote a color name in Arabic text. Then, the girls had to put the book together and color the apples according to what color was written on each page. The girls really liked this idea, masha’Allah. Here are some examples:
For math skills, I printed off a clipart page of a tree and two apples I found online. I had my youngest color the tree and apples. I then cut out the tree, pasted it onto construction paper an laminated the apples. We take out the apples and I tell the girls to put the apple “above” the tree, “below” the tree, “beside” the tree, etc. Thus, they are learning positioning.
I also had my youngest color several clipart pictures (all the same picture but in different sizes). I then laminated and cut them. We then use this to learn sequencing items by size – largest to smallest and smallest to largest. I also purchased some apples precut from the school supply store. I put a number on one apple and drew the same amount of dots on another apple – up to the number ten. Then, they had to match which number matched with the dots. You can also do this for learning Arabic numbers. If your child is more advanced, you could just write out the name of the number and have them match it to the written numeral. I also found an apple puzzle online – very simple – for my younger child. I had her color it and then I laminted them and cut them out. She has to put the pieces together (she loves puzzles).
Something I also found online (but you could easily make yourself) is an apple tree with apples on it and apples that have fallen to the ground. Then it has statements on the bottom of the page like – color 5 apples in the tree red; color 4 apples on the tree yellow; how many apples are on the tree; how many apples are on the ground; how many apples are all together. If you wanted to be creative you could always print off a picture of a tree and then print off several small apples (or just make them with construction paper). Then, tell your child to put 4 red apples on the tree (for example); oops, 2 apples fell down; how many are left on the tree? (etc.) I also found a few file folder games (one relating to matching colors and one relating to matching dots to numbers) which I also pasted to construction paper – instead of using a file folder – and put them in the book.
CREATIVITY / ART:
We cut open an apple and made apple prints with red tempera paint. After they dried, we then pasted these to different pages to make the notebook look nicer. I also had my daughters made a page just for the prints – they pasted them all over the page to make it look pretty. We also found several pictures for coloring relating to apples and posted them in our book. One craft we made was to make a Mosaic Apple. I cut out many squares of red construction paper then I gave each girl a paper plate. They glued the squares all over the plate (inside the inner circle) and then cut out a shape of an apple once the glue was dried. We added a green stem and then glued the final project onto a piece of construction paper and put it in the book. (see below)
Quite a while ago I purchased a nice large roll of butcher paper at Costco. We use this for coloring. You may have gone to a restaurant that uses paper on the table and allows you to use crayons on it? That’s where I got the idea. I just cut a large piece – to fit the whole table and let the girls at it. They love it. So, I told the girls to try to make an apple orchard. Since the paper was huge, I cut out the drawing and then folded it nicely to form a fold-out picture in their notebook. I then had the girls decorate the page with stickers (they used stars) to make it more decorated (see below).
We also created apple trees – through the seasons – using our hands and a pencil eraser with tempera paint. First, we made a handprint in the top-middle of the page. On each finger, we then drew branches coming out. We left one picture like this for the winter tree. After this, we painted the leaves of the tree with our fingers. We left one of these trees this way. After the pictures dried, we then dipped a pencil (eraser-side) into red paint and made apples for the fall picture and added white paint to make pink and made flower blossoms in the spring picture.
Above, you will also see the neat apple pencil holders we made out of paper mache. The girls really loved this and it wasn’t as messy as I had feared. We now have them on “display” for when people come to visit.
Here are some of the other art projects we completed:
One thing that I really noticed – when we would cover a specific topic for unit studies – it seemed to encompass our lives at the time. What I mean is – if I told the girls to have an apple – they would ask, “what kind is it?” If they would eat an apple, they would look at its parts and then ask “can we plant an apple seed?” This was also apparent in their recreational activities. One day, the girls went upstairs to the school-room to make crafts. I came up and found that the girls had made their own crafts related to apples (without beinreg quested). Below is an example:
JUST FOR FUN:
For this portion, we posted the recipes we used for this lesson. So, we had recipe cards posted onto construction paper included in our book – including apple pie, homemade pie crust, and apple cobbler. We also posted photos of the Apple Orchard we visited last year.
I decided it might be a good idea to keep the resources we used for our project. So, in the end of our notebook, I made an apple-shaped booklet and glued it to construction paper. On those apples, I printed the materials we used – “Educational Books”, “Just for Fun Books” and also any videos or other materials we used.
Last year after School started, I went to target and purchased a lot of those three prong portolios (I think I found a package of 10 for $.09 or something like that – so I stocked up). So, that is what we are using to put our little notebooks together. They have proven quite useful.
I know this is quite a long post – please forgive – but I wanted to give you a good idea about what we put together.
Sumayyah Umm SAA