Friday, 11 May 2012

tiddly pomme

I have to admit to being rather caught in the act of munching upon an apple as children arrived back into the classroom at the end of break on Tuesday.  But no-one seemed to mind all that much, so I continued working my way towards the core.  As I ate, I wondered aloud (making sure of course that my mouth was empty when I spoke) what an apple is.  And of course most of us know that apples are fruit.  An apple is the fruit of an apple tree.

I held it up and we looked at the two different ends.  This end…..


as Bianca told us, is the bit that was attached to the tree.  We call it the stalk.

But what about the other end?  It is different from the stalk end isn’t it.


Does anyone know what was there?  Why it looks like that?

No?  Well it might just be that we can go and find out a bit later on today.  If you are patient. 

By now, though, I had reached the core. 

If I was to open up the core of the apple, what might I find there?

And of course most of us know that apples have seeds.  Seeds are found in fruit.

But to make sure, I chopped up some more apples…..


so that only the core was left, and we all got to see if we would be able to find any seeds.  First we snapped a core in two.


Then we poked out all the tiny seeds…..


and counted them.


How many seeds do apples have?

Take a look at what we found out.  Some apples have no seeds!


Some have 3 seeds and some have four.

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Some apples have 5 seeds…..

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while some have seven or even nine.

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We made a graph to show you.


Next time you have an apple, why don’t you see if you can guess how many seeds it has.  Then you could open up the core and find out if you were right.

And now, back to the ‘other’ end of my apple.

Our patience paid off  - we decided to brave the rain - and we walked briskly (or as briskly as is possible with a double-crocodile of small excitable children) across to the local park.  Where I happen to know there is an orchard.

As luck would have it, the apple trees were still partly in blossom. 


Luckily too, some of the petals had already fallen…..


(or been nibbled away)!


And in the place left by the fallen petals, we saw something that looked a little bit like the ‘other’ end of my apple.

And that is because that’s what it is – the ‘other’ end of an apple is the place where the flower used to be. 

When a flower is visited by a bee…..


or other insect…..

yellow toes

some of the pollen from the flower sticks to their legs or body.

Look even closer…..


and you should be able to see this tiny fly’s yellow legs. 

Anyway, when he buzzes off to another flower, some of the pollen brushes off his legs and in that way the flower is fertilised.  And once that happens, the part behind the flower gets fat…..

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and that’s the beginning of a seed-container - the fruit of the plant.  Here you see the start of an apple, the start of a quince and the start of a cherry.  In fact, the quince and the cherry still have part of the flower attached.  Do you see the curled up brown petal on the quince?  That will soon drop off; the plant no longer needs it.

Ripe, juicy cherries…..


contain the seeds of a cherry tree.  Sour yellow lemons…..


contain the seeds of a lemon tree.  And crunchy apples?


Well, we know all about them, don’t we.  What other seed containers can you think of?

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