Meets California Grade Seven Standard 7:
Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations
THIS ACTIVITY CAN BE USED IN ANY SCIENCE CLASS IN MIDDLE SCHOOL AND/OR HIGH SCHOOL
Text of Learning Exercise:
The purpose of this lesson is to stress the importance of observations. Ask students the following question: If I called you on the phone and said I had a red apple in my hand, what image would enter your head? Describe your answer. Ask students to come up to the board and draw the apple that they see. Next, hold up a real apple in front of the class. Have them list all their observations and thoughts about the apple. For example: color, texture, shape, etc. Accept all answers.
Have students close their eyes. When they open their eyes, hold up a plastic or wooden apple. Have them cross off everything on their list that does not apply to the new apple.
Have students close their eyes again. When they open their eyes, hold up a rubber apple. Repeat.
Have students close their eyes again. When they open their eyes, hold up a picture of an apple. Repeat.
Have students close their eyes again. When they open their eyes, hold up a piece of paper with the word "Apple" written on it in red marker.
Questions for discussion:
At what point does the apple stop being an apple? Defend your answer!
Which one is not an apple at all? Discuss why or why not.
What does an apple mean to you? Be very specific and defend your answer.
Why is it important to be specific when describing something to another person or recording information?
This is a great activity! Approximate time = 20 minutes. Higher order thinking skills such as Evaluation (Blooms) are involved. Great discussions and debates about the apple.
You can do this as a small group activity by giving each group a real apple (Red Delicious works nicely) and let them observe it and write down as many characteristics as they can, i.e. red, white spots, stem, smooth, leaf, bumps, etc.
My favorite answer for the end of the activity is that the word "apple" is not an apple because in another country, they might not be able to read English, but they will understand the picture or fake apples! How cool!!!