Fall is finally here! Let’s celebrate the changing of the season with an experiment involving one of the best parts of autumn: apples!
Whether you’ve picked them yourself, picked them up at a farmer’s market or just snag some from the grocery store, apples provide a great opportunity for more than just healthy snacks. You can use apples for at-home, hands-on science that explores the effect of different environments on these tasty treats.
Appropriate for: Pre-K and up!
- Apples – cut into small pieces
- Small glass or plastic containers
- Lemon juice
- Seltzer water
- Any other liquids you have on hand
- Fill up your containers with different liquids, leaving room for apple pieces. Leave one container empty.
- Cut up your apples into small pieces so they’ll fit in the containers.
- Add your apples to each container – including the empty one. Try to add the same number of pieces to each.
- Make a hypothesis about what will happen to the apples.
- Questions to ask: Will there be differences between each liquid? What will happen to the apples in the empty container.
- Go play for 2-3 hours.
- Observe what happened to the apple pieces in each container.
- Questions to ask: Do the apples look different? Do they smell different? Do they feel different?
You’ll probably notice that some of the apples have brown spots and some don’t. This is because different liquids have different pH levels and the more acidic liquids stop the chemical reaction that causes apples to turn brown.
Which liquids were the best at preventing brown spots on your apple pieces? Which apple pieces had the most brown spots? You’ll probably notice that your control apples – the ones in an empty container – are the most brown since they had the most exposure to air. This air exposure causes oxidation, which turns apples brown!
You can repeat this experiment with different kinds of liquids to find which ones are the most acidic. Ideas for other liquids to try are:
- Diet soda
- Water with baking soda
- Sports drinks
Did you try this experiment? Tell us your results!