Cider Pressing in the Schools

Cider Pressing in the Schools
Posted on 11/04/2014
Every fall, teachers have the opportunity to sign up their class for cider pressing in the CitySprouts gardens. Cider pressing is a fun, New England tradition and it is also a multidisciplinary learning opportunity for students at all grade levels.
Cider PressingJunior K – Discovering Nature
Students are introduced to different kinds of plants, seeds, bulbs, tubers and cuttings to explore, measure and discuss their findings. While cider pressing, students begin exploration of plants as they slice open apples. In science notebooks, students sketch the inside of apples and begin to notice that plants are made of distinct parts that work together. In guided discussion students are asked, What part of the plant is an apple? Where do apples come from? When do apples get ripe and fall from the tree? Tell a story when you ate an apple. Where were you? Who were you with? What did the apple taste like? Was it a snack or a part of a meal? What other animals eat apples?

Kindergarten – Organisms
Students are asked to think, write, and draw about what living things need to thrive. Similar to Pre-K, students explore how seeds are similar and different. During cider pressing, they use their senses to make observational drawings, sketching apple seeds and comparing them to larger pumpkin seeds. In guided discussion students are asked, Do apples remind you of something? What? What are some other plants with seeds? How do you think seeds travel in nature? What color is the apple? What does it smell like? What shape is the apple? Use one word to describe an apple. Why does an apple make you think about this word?

1st Grade – Living Things
First grade students explore their environment using their senses for learning about the world. During cider pressing there is a focus on what they see, hear, smell, and feel. While students wash, cut, and mash apples to make apple cider they engage in an in-depth observation of living and nonliving things, categorizing according to their color size, and shape. First grade students develop skills in procedural writing and describe steps in a process using the transition words: first, next, then, finally. In guided discussion students are asked, What do all things need to grow? What do apple trees need? Are there any signs of animal/insects living on our apples? What happens to the apples before we cut them? Why do we cut the apples in to small pieces? What is the last step before the apples are ready to be pressed? Is an apple living or nonliving? (Students are encouraged to support their answer with criteria for living and nonliving things learned in class)

2nd Grade – Soil and soil structure
Second grade science students learn the vocabulary: predictions, observations, organic and nonorganic in their unit of study on soil. During cider pressing, students compost the cider mash—a bi-product from apple cider making—and watch what happens as dead plants and food begin to decay. Students see the apple mash eaten by micro and macro organisms and watch it become an important part of the compost. Following cider pressing, students continue to add plants, fruit and vegetables to compost and observe what is happening over time. Using their scientific observation skills students consider the following, What will happen to the apple mash in the compost? What will happen to apple mash in the trash? How do decomposers break down apple mash in the compost? How can you tell that an apple is beginning to decompose? What color is it? What is its texture like?  What does it smell like? Why do apples turn brown after they have been cut up?

3rd Grade – Life cycle of plants
Third grade students draw and label parts of seeds. During cider pressing, students examine the life cycle of an apple tree and observe the development of leaves and apples. In their science notebooks, students sketch details of the anatomy of an apple, draw and label its parts. Third grade students discuss the life cycle of an apple as they cut and grind up apples for pressing. In guided discussion students are asked, How come we don’t make apple cider in the spring? Where is the tree in its life cycle? Why do the trees lose their leaves in the fall? What happens to trees in the winter? What plant part is the apple? What are the characteristics of this plant part? What role does it play in the plant’s lifecycle?

4th Grade – Apple Habitat and culture
In fourth grade social studies, students study “The American Dream.” Students explore regions of the United States and look at ethnic and cultural groups who played a significant impact on the evolution of a region. Students study when different immigrant groups first came to the U.S. in order to understand present day contributions.

During cider pressing, students practice nonfiction writing about the cultivation of apples in the New England climate. Students learn about the Roxbury Russet, one of the first apple varieties cultivated in the U.S. from Roxbury, MA. Students learn how this apple was used to make cider, and the popularity of cider during the “Johnny Apple Seed” days. While cider pressing, students consider how their families eat apples and discuss the following, Does your family cook/bake with apples? Describe some apple recipes. Do you eat apples on special occasions? Do you have any memories about eating apples? Why do you think apples were so important in the colonists diet?

5th Grade – Simple Machines
Fifth grade science students explore design engineering studying the six simple machines—lever, wheel and axle, pulley, inclined plane, wedge, and screw. During cider pressing, students sketch the apple masher and cider press, labeling the elements that are simple machines. Students look at the engineering design process and the difference between a simple machine and a complex machine. In guided discussion, students talk about the following, How many simple machines are a part of the apple cider making process? How do these simple machines work together? How could you improve on the cider press
Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 SchoolMessenger Corporation. All rights reserved.