Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Five in a Row: How to Make an Apple Pie 2016

At the end of September, we took our second trip through the book How to Make an Apple Pie and see the world by Marjorie Priceman. During my planning time, I was brimming with ideas for this book. We would gather ingredients from all over the surrounding area. We would make butter. We would pick apples. We would grind wheat. We would visit the cows at our friends farm.We spent two weeks on this book, and didn't accomplish anything on my list of big plans other than baking a pie. But this year seems to be my year for learning that not everything has to line up perfectly at exactly the time that I plan. Set out to learn about apples and end up learning about narwhals instead. That's okay. Take a day off to go to the museum with friends. That can be art too. Go on a fun apple picking adventure several weeks after the fact. That can be awesome too.

This year, we are doing our first group class with several other families at our church. We are spending the year studying Apologia's Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day. We read the chapters and do the journals at home on our own, and then get together every other week to do the experiments together. On Monday, we had our first class introducing ocean animals. Then on Tuesday, serendipity struck, and we got to tag along on one of my husband's work trips to Cape Cod. After his meeting, we discovered an awesome small aquarium nearby (that was also free).
They had lots of amazing fish and other creatures from the Atlantic ocean including a touch tank with crabs and starfish, and two harbor seals that live in a tank outdoors.

The rain cleared up enough to dip our toes in the ocean. Apparently our children have been ocean-deprived up to this point because they ran around yelling, "There's real sand!" and "I hope I don't fall off the continental shelf!" They loved playing in the waves and collecting treasures.

A recent storm had washed up tons of seaweed and dozens of empty horseshoe crab shells.

We also collected a jar of ocean water to bring home for experiments. In the book, she gathers a jar of water and dries it to make salt. We tried this as well as another science experiment for our ocean class, which involved freezing plain water and salt water to see which would freeze first.

This is an excellent book to talk about geography as the character travels around the world to find ingredients for her pie. We got out our big world map and found all the places she visited. We also found all the names of the oceans to go with our science study. Then we went to our pantry to find where our groceries come from. We also learned a bit about apples and their life cycle. To go along with our studies we read, One Green Apple by Eve Bunting, Bring me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie: A Story about Edna Lewis by Robbin Gourley, The Apple Doll by Elisa Klevin, and How do Apples Grow by Betsy Maestro.

We didn't get to go apple picking during the week, but we did visit our local orchard. We chose three different kinds of apples: Gala, Senshu, and Cortland for a taste test. I can never leave the farm store without their discounted "misfit donuts." We always feel like we should give a home to those tiny, misshapen donuts. 

The next day we had an apple-inspired poetry tea. We made little bags of spices to add to our teacups for mulled cider. We read poems about apple trees by local poets Robert Frost and William Cullen Bryant. For our apple taste test, we used a new resource we love: Mystery Science. You can sign up for a free year of science lessons. In each lesson, students solve a mystery by watching a video, discussing the questions, and doing an experiment. We used the lesson: Why are some apples red and some green? The experiment was an apple taste test. I printed out the experiment forms they included and we tasted all our apples and logged our results. The kid loved the lesson and learned all about selection in growing fruits and vegetables.

I decided to do a special lesson with my kindergartener and preschooler. We made apple pie playdough and read The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall, Apple Pie ABC by Allison Murray and The Apple Pie that Papa Baked by Lauren Thompson. They loved it.
The older kids weren't as happy, but they did go off and make a tiny pie from clay and throw a Fall party for all their Calico Critters. Then the younger kids decided they would share the playdoough with their older siblings while we read aloud from Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream by Jenny Han, a chapter book about a young Korean-American girl who wants to win the Little Miss Apple Pie pageant, but others question whether she is really as American as apple pie.

My first year I was heavily into Pinterest, but now I rarely go on because it just inspires me to overplan. Even at the beginning of this year, I was printing out way too many worksheets and other activities for the week. One thing I do, though, is take a glance at all the resources I've collected over the years for appropriate activities. A few years ago, Scholastic Teacher Express was offering $1 sales on many of their ebooks, and I picked up a fun one called Math Picture Pages. I found a fun sheet called Autumn Harvest market. It included a fun sheet to color, then you count up the objects in the sheet to make math problems. My older kids did the math worksheets on their level. The little ones did some cut and paste books from the Five in a Row Fold n Learn. This one was an Apple Subtraction book using objects from the book. I also picked up two books from the math section at the library: What Happens at the Orchard by  Amelia Letts and Working at the Farmer's Market by Barbara M. Linde.

One reason I don't use Pinterest as much is that I find that if I leave a little unplanned time in our day, my kids come up with great activities on their own. In this case, my oldest daughter decided to set up a pretend Farmer's Market. She decided to sell kombucha at her market "made from a local SCOBY!." She was also selling potatoes and Trixie was selling apples and zucchini. I gathered up some change and we had some added math fun pricing items and making change.

We finished up our two weeks by baking a pie! This time the kids did almost all of the work of measuring, peeling, and slicing. I only helped a little with the rolling.

Our pie was ready to go in the oven!

The finished product!

As we tried the first bites of our pie, Ella said, "This shouldn't be a book we only do every four years! We should do this book every year. Next year, we can grind wheat and cinnamon and pick apples!" So I guess this may turn into an annual event.

Then what do you know? A couple weeks later, to celebrate my husband's birthday, we went apple picking at the most beautiful mountain-top orchard. We came home and made him another pie for his birthday!


  1. Good times! I like how many of your lessons include delicious food.

    Funnily enough, we just visited that Woods Hole aquarium for the first time this past Friday. It's awesome that it's free, and also that you can go "behind the scenes" in the upstairs part. We went in the water too... I bet it was considerably colder than when you guys were there!

  2. Ella did accuse me of planning our entire Fall curriculum on food items: apples, pumpkins, turnips. Fall is definitely an awesome time to visit the Cape, even if the water is chilly.

  3. Thank you for this enjoyable post. Your children are beautiful. It looks like a good time was had by all.

  4. This is a beautiful post. Thank You for all the book titles. You have a beautiful family. God Bless

  5. Nice post with full of beautiful pictures...You might also like this...Apple Pie ABC
    Thanks for sharing