Conducting an apple dissection with your kids is a fun way to learn about apples. Kids learn science best when they can experience concepts first hand. Learn how to observe the parts of an apple with your own apple dissection with your kids!
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Apple activities are a great way to celebrate the autumn season. Of course, even though we think about apples more in the fall, you can learn about apples anytime of year!
- Upper Elementary
Kids of all ages can benefit from this hands on science activity. If you are homeschooling kids of different ages, this activity is easy to modify to fit the needs of each child.
If you are learning about apples with a larger group of children, you can still do this activity. Just make sure to provide adult supervision when cutting the apples. Tip: let kids look at uncut apples then hand out apple slices for observations.
|Pedicel (Stem)||Pip (Seed)|
Free Apple Diagrams
Directions for how to access the free printable PDF diagrams can be found at the bottom of this post. Perfect to use with preschoolers, kindergartners, and elementary aged kids.
Two different apple dissection lab sheets are also available for download. Older kids will enjoy drawing their own apple diagrams as they conduct this activity. The advanced version of the worksheet is appropriate for upper elementary and middle school aged kids.
Anatomy of an Apple
Kids can start observing the different parts of an apple before it is cut open. Once sliced, the internal anatomy of an apple can be observed. You can even pick your apples from an apple tree which is a great way for kids to see how the fruit is attache to the tree.
The outer layer of the apple is called the skin or peel. Similar to a person's skin, this outer layer protects the apple. Different varieties of apples will have skin of different thicknesses. It would be fun to kids to test out a few varieties and observe the differences!
Aside from protecting an apple, the skin contains nutrients including calcium, fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. Many apples are sprayed throughout the growing season, the skin can absorb some of those toxins. Organic apples are ones that have not been sprayed.
Once an apple is sliced or bit into, and the peel is broken, the fruit inside is no longer protected. If you have ever witnessed an apple turning brown after slicing that is because the skin is no longer protecting the fleshy part of the apple.
If you have ever gone apple picking then you know that the stem is how an apple is attached to a tree. Once your child sees the inside of an apple, you will learn that the stem is attached to the core. If you slice an apple vertically, you will be able to see how they are connected.
Technically, the stem has fiber and nutrients, but I've never eaten one to find out the benefits! During your dissection, take a closer look at the stem using a magnifying glass. Its amazing how much detail makes up such a small part of an apple!
If you turn over an apple and look at the bottom, that is called the calyx. Before the fruit formed, it was an apple blossom. The flower had small green leaf like structures under the petals called sepals.
The calyx is those sepals. If you look closely, you may see thin threads coming out from the middle. Those threads are the stamens, which are the male parts of a flower. When the flower was blooming, the stamens contain filaments which hold the pollen!
We often think of an apple as just a fruit. But really, it is a result of a flower that has been pollinated! As you eat an apple, you are enjoying the end result of the flowering stage.
Speaking of eating an apple, the flesh is the part of the apple that we eat. Protected by the peel, the flesh is the fruit. People also call this part the pulp.
Different varieties of apples will have distinct tastes. If your kids find that one is too tart, they may enjoy a sweeter type. I personally, love Cortland's and the crunch you get when you bite into the apple. MacIntosh apples are another favorite and can be found growing in abundance up in New England.
No matter the flavor, the flesh is full of nutrients. Similar to the skin, the pulp has calcium, vitamin C, pectin, and a variety of minerals. Apples are high in pectin, which is a starch. You may have heard of pectin if you make jams or jellies.
Once you cut open an apple you will find that the center of an apple is hard compared to the flesh. This middle part of the apple is called the core. Inside the core the seeds are held.
Depending on how you cut open the apple, will determine how the core looks. Slicing an apple in half horizontally, will leave you will a star shaped center. A fun activity is to use the core as a stamp for an apple painting activity.
And yes, you can eat the core of the apple. I have not done this personally, but I do add the core into the juicer when I make my own juice. So, I guess technically, I have eaten the core!
The next generation of apples in waiting. The seeds are the next stage of the apple's life cycle. A new apple tree can grow from just one apple seed.
The seeds are a result of the flower being pollinated. Just like a zinnia, a common annual, produces seeds so do apple blossoms. Unlike many flowers, an apple's seeds are hidden inside of a fruit.
Gail Gibbon's children's book Apples is a great resource if you are studying apples with your kids.
Starting the Dissection
Before you cut into the apple, observe the outside. If possible, compare a few different apples to see how they are similar and different. Kids can identify many of the parts of an apple including the skin, stem, and calyx without cutting an apple open.
Cutting Open the Apple
Now, the fun really begins! Have your kids predict what the apple will look like inside before cutting into it. Older kids can guess how many seeds it will have inside. While younger children can state that it will be an "apple" usually meaning the fleshly part that they eat.
Always provide adult supervision when cutting into an apple. I used a knife, instead of a apple corer. This was so that my son could see the structure of the inside of the apple.
Identifying the Different Parts
Kids can take a small parts of the apple and place them on the diagram sheet. Then they can draw a sketch of the different parts on the apple dissection lab sheet.
Don't underestimate the power of observing really basic parts such as the stem or a seed. Kids love looking at the different parts up close. Give them time to observe and provide prompts if needed.
If you child is loosing interest, point out something interesting for them to look at such as a brown spot on the flesh. Or ask them why they think something is the way that it is.
Of course, depending on the age of your child will determine how long they will stay engaged in the activity. Remember it is okay to move onto something else if they loose interest.
The apple coloring page and cut and paste diagram are great follow ups to this activity. You can also use the cut up parts of the apple to make a unique piece of art with some paint. Or simply, eat the cut up pieces if the work surface is clean.
Let us know in the comments below if you try this out with your kids!
These printables were created by Nature Inspired Learning and are for personal use only in your home or classroom. They are designed to be a tool that can be used for early learning success. All of these free parts of an apple printables are for non-commercial use. Have questions, send me an email at julie(at)natureinspiredlearning(dot)com
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