Why are some apples red and some green?
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Why are some apples red and some green?
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Beginning Exploration (1 of 8)
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Beginning Exploration (2 of 8)

Discuss: How could you grow your own sweet apples?

Here's one idea we had

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Beginning Exploration (3 of 8)
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Beginning Exploration (4 of 8)

Discuss:

In what ways are you different than your siblings?

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Beginning Exploration (5 of 8)
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Beginning Exploration (6 of 8)

Discuss: How could you grow an EVEN SWEETER apple, using the seeds from your new apples?

Here's an idea we had

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Beginning Exploration (7 of 8)
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Beginning Exploration (8 of 8)

Discuss: How did we get from small crab apples thousands of years ago to large red and green apples today?

Reveal answer

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Beginning Activity: Apple Taste Test
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Beginning Activity: Apple Taste Test
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Optional Extras

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity & exploration which you just completed.
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Extra Activity: How Many Seeds?

Cut an apple in half horizontally, and you'll see five seed compartments arranged in a star. How many seeds are in each compartment?

Your students will find out in this activity from the Willet Garden of Learning. Students predict the number of seed they will find in each apple, then work in groups to count seeds and compare the results.

Apple growers use seed counting to find out how successful the bees in their orchard have been. Empty seed compartments mean that some of the apple flower's eggs were not pollinated. Some farmers think that apples with more seeds are bigger or juicier. Ask your students what they think, after observing their apples and counting the seeds. (You'll find more information about apple seed counting here.

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Math Extension:

Graphing the Apple Taste Test

Use sticky notes to make a bar graph showing students' apple preference. Draw a horizontal axis and a vertical axis on a large piece of paper. On the horizontal axis, make four columns, each the width of a sticky note. At the bottom of each column, write the name of an apple variety.

Give each student a sticky note and have them place it neatly in the column of their favorite apple. The notes will form the bar of the graph.

For more on graphing with sticky notes, visit Schoolhouse Diva.

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Language Arts Extension:

Once Upon an Apple

Apples often play an important role in fairy tales, myths, and folklore. In a class discussion, ask students if they know any stories in which apples are important. Possible examples are Snow White and William Tell. You'll find other examples from around the world at The Fairy Tale Cupboard.

Ask students to write a story that begins: "Once upon a time, I found a magic apple in my lunchbox." Encourage them to describe what the apple tasted like—and what happened when they ate it.

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Web Resource: Apple Varieties

If your students are intrigued by the Apple Taste Test, there are many other apple varieties to sample. You'll find them listed by name (with a description of each) at the Apple Journal.

If you want to find a apple orchard that your class could visit, check Orange Pippin for one near you.

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Image & Video Credits

Mystery Science respects the intellectual property rights of the owners of visual assets. We make every effort to use images and videos under appropriate licenses from the owner or by reaching out to the owner to get explicit permission. If you are the owner of a visual and believe we are using it without permission, please contact us—we will reply promptly and make things right.

Exploration
Box of apples by John Phelan
Red head brothers by Eddy Van 3000
Wild apples by John Severns
Apple trees by Peter Fristedt
Bird eating berries on tree by jeffreyw
Twins by Ruth Lozano
Apple seeds by fir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.au
Apples by Scott Bauer
Brother/sister by Rod Waddington
Row of apple trees by Jeff Kubina
Half eaten apple by Joe Lodge
Siblings by Juhan Sonin
Honeycrisp apple by Jon Fingas
Pine trees by Luca Biada
Single apple tree with flowers by Alexander van Loon
Half eaten apple on tree by Shane McGraw
Rooster, hay, pitch fork by Hartwig HKD
Holding half eaten apple by Imgur
Pile of apples by Sarah Horrigan
Holding apple by Imgur
Bright red apple by Imgur
Favorite apple tree by Matt
Close up on apple seeds by Mark Probst
Kinds of pears by Agyle
Citrus by Anthony Albright
Siblings 2 by The Good Doctor
Other
Turkey in front of door by H. Kopp-Delany
Overview
Grade 3rd
Topic Plant Life Cycle & Heredity
Focus Inheritance, Traits, & Selection
Print
Activity Prep

In this Mystery, students learn how the food we eat is a result of selection. In the activity, Apple Taste Test, students taste four different varieties of apples to learn about the traits (color, texture, and flavor) of apples that humans have artificially selected to encourage.

Preview activity

Number of students:
Cutting Board
1 board
Knife
1 knife
Apple Variety 1 (ex: Granny Smith)
Each student needs a small piece of apple. You may need more or less apples, depending on their size.
Details
2 apples
Apple Variety 2 (ex: Red Delicious)
Each student needs a small piece of apple. You may need more or less apples, depending on their size.
Details
2 apples
Apple Variety 3 (ex: Golden Delicious)
Each student needs a small piece of apple. You may need more or less apples, depending on their size.
Details
2 apples
Apple Variety 4 (ex: Honeycrisp)
Each student needs a small piece of apple. You may need more or less apples, depending on their size.
Details
2 apples
Paper Towels
30 sheets
Plastic Plates (10")
4 plates
Toothpicks
30 toothpicks
Apple Taste Test printout
If you use different apple varieties than the ones we used, you can change the apple names in the first column of the worksheet.
Print 30 copies

OPTIONAL SUPPLIES

Post-Its (3")
Used for an optional math extension.
Details
30 post-its
Prep Instructions

You need 4 different varieties of apples that have different colors, textures, and flavors. We recommend Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Honeycrisp. But you can also use other varieties such as Gala, Fuji, or Jazz. Each student needs a small piece of each apple. This means that for a class of 30, you’ll probably need two apples of each variety, but it will depend on the particular size of the apples available.

Prepare Apples for Tasting

Before class begins (or during the video), use your paring knife and cutting board to slice each apple and remove the core. Cut each apple into small pieces so that each student can have a taste. Place all pieces for each apple variety on a plastic plate. We recommend placing the sticker from the apple variety on the rim of each plate to help you remember which apple is which.

Graph the Apple Taste Test (Optional)

For an optional math extension, you can use sticky notes to make a bar graph of your students’ apple preferences. Instructions can be found in our Extras section on Graphing the Apple Taste Test.

Overview
Grade 3rd
Topic Plant Life Cycle & Heredity
Focus Inheritance, Traits, & Selection
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