Celebrate National Gratitude Month at Home with STEM Activities for Young Explorers – Midland Center for the Arts

Arguably one of the best seasons of the year, fall is filled with an abundance of activities and delicious treats to eat. And while families gather around the table this November, we must continue to look around us and be grateful for all that we have.

Early Childhood Classes

This month at Midland Center for the Arts, we are encouraging young explorers to discuss what they are most grateful for and celebrate all of the wonders that autumn has to offer with our Early Childhood Classes. Register today for the November 17th offering held virtually on zoom and read Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White and then practice your fine motor skills as we “pick” pumpkins and create our own colorful cornucopia! This virtual class will take place at 10 a.m. for kids ages 2-5.

Fall STEM At-Home STEM Activity – Apples

But we don’t want you to have to wait to begin fall-themed STEM activities at home, so join us in this blog to explore the world of apples through a selection of experiments that you can easily try on your own. We’ll begin by exploring a variety of apples and your five sense, then uncover the science behind the oxidation, or you may know it as “browning,” of one of Michigan’s most abundant fruits.

To do this activity at home, you’ll need 4 or 5 different varieties of apples, a cutting utensil, cutting board, paper plates, a marker, two cups, lemon juice and Sprite soda.

  1. First, label your plate(s) with the different varieties of apples you have selected. Each scientist participating in the experiment will need their own sample plate. Wait until after Step #6 to slice your apples into individual samples, though!
  2. This experiment will use all five of our senses! Humans can see, hear, feel, smell and taste the world around us. Before we taste our apples, we are going to explore them with our other senses first.
  3. Then, ask these questions and record your observations down on a piece of paper: How do the apples look the same? How do they look different? What do you think the appearance of each apples tells us about how it might taste/feel/smell?
  4. Next, feel the skin of your apple: Is it smooth or bumpy? Is it form or soft? What kinds of things do you feel?
  5. Now smell your apples: Do they smell spicy or sweet? What scents can you identify?
  6. Finally, taste your apples: How do they taste different? Do you notice any texture differences when you’re chewing?

Now that we have explore our apples using our five senses, we can do some chemistry with the remaining apple slices! Have you ever opened your lunchbox to discover your fruit has turned brown?

Apples all turn brown when they are exposed to oxygen in the air, but do all apples brown at the same rate? We will find out with this simple science experiment!

  1. Using a marker, section off three paper plates into 4-5 sections (depending on how many varieties of apples you are testing). Label each section with an apple variety.
  2. The first paper plate should also be labeled “control.” These will be the slices that we leave on the plate without adding anything else to it.
  3. Label the second plate “lemon juice.” Lemon juice helps slow the process of oxygenation on the apples. Lemon juice is acidic, and it gives the air something to react with before reacting to the different enzymes in the apple! To prepare your test slices, dip them into a cup of lemon juice and hold for 5-10 seconds.
  4. Label the third plate with “soda.” Sprite or lemon-lime soda can also work similarly to lemon juice. Repeat the previous step with your final test subjects, dipping the slices into the soda.
  5. Observe the apple slices every hour: What changes do you notice? Are there any varieties of apple that brown quicker than others?

You may leave the apples out to observe for up to 24 hours, but they should not be eaten afterwards.

There are many fun experiments out there to discover with your young explorers at home, and with the educators at Midland Center for the Arts. Visit our website at midlandcenter.org/classes to learn about the opportunities for people of all ages. Scholarships are available for anyone needing financial assistance for all classes and camps.


**The Midland Center for the Arts is a participant in the STEM Passport.  Visit and attend (virtual or  in-person) events and receive a $25 gift card courtesy of MiSTEM.  Learn more: https://www.stempipeline.com/out-of-school-time/stem-passport-2020-2021/

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