Apple Earth

Grades: 4th-6th
Lesson Concept: Use apples to teach longitude and latitude, as well as the composition of the Earth. This is also a great activity to open discussion on water conservation.

Materials: Apples (one per student if possible), plastic knives, wax paper, and a globe.
Engage:

  • Discuss with students the importance of water in our world and ways it is used.
  • Ask students if they know the difference between fresh and salt water and how much of each makes up the Earth’s surface.
  • If possible, access online resources to share engaging video segments and/or articles.

Explore:

  • Ask students to use their apple to represent the Earth. Have them predict what part of the apple they think would represent all the fresh water on Earth.
  • Have students follow along as you cut up the apple to demonstrate the world water supply. Have students cut their apple in half and look at it from the side. When students are cutting, explain to them the two very distinct ways of cutting: longitudinal and latitudinal. Notice how thick the skin is. This is similar to how deep the oceans are.
  • Have students cut each half of the apple in half to get fourths. Show students the glove and predict how many fourths of the apple represent the water on the globe. This is what we would see as blue from space. Set three of the quarters aside and tell the students that this represents the surface amount of surface water there is on the planet.
  • Have students examine the remaining fourth. Explain that this is the land on the Earth. Have students indicate with their fingers about how much of the land they predict is too dry, too wet, or too cold for people to live on. Cut the fourth in half. This amount, one-eighth of the apple, is inhospitable to humans. The other eighth is land where people can live.
  • Look at the remaining one-eighth of the apple. Predict how much of this land could be used for farms. Cut the eighth into fourths (this will give you one-thirty-second). One of these is land that could be used by farms.
  • One tiny slice off this last piece represents all the drinkable water of this area.
  • Finally, have students compare this last portion of the apple to the whole apple. Then eat the apple.

Explain:

  • Discuss ways in which water is wasted and what can be done in order to conserve it.
  • Ask students how accurate their original predications were.

Extend/Apply:

  • Use globes or maps to explore and illustrate the amount of surface water.
  • Examine as to whether or not the amount of surface water has changed over the years or will be changing.
  • Examine water issues facing your city, state, region, country.
  • Have students use online resources to find specific percentages related to water availability and usage. Use this data to create electronic or paper graphs.

Assessment:

  • The students should be able to distinguish between latitude and longitude.
  • Have students develop a “Water Conservation Campaign” to share with the rest of the school.

Submitted by: The Teacher's Corner

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