Johnny Appleseed is an American folk hero who is remembered for walking through the Ohio river region, planting apple seeds and tending to apple orchards. He was also known for being kind to wildlife and nature. His real name was John Chapman and he was born in Leominster, Massachusetts. He lived from September 26, 1774, to March 18, 1845. Johnny Appleseed is an engaging unit for preschoolers, as simple activities involving apples can be incorporated into math, art, language arts and science lessons.
Johnny Appleseed Math
Split the children into partnerships or small groups and practice predicting and counting skills. Provide each group with an apple. Ask the children if they think all apples have the same number of seeds. Then ask children to predict how many seeds they think their apple has. Children can record their predictions by writing a number down on paper if they know how, or they can draw the number of seeds they think are in the apple. Split the apples in half for the groups and allow children to count the seeds. Compare the number of seeds in each apple to find out if all apples have the same number of seeds.
Johnny Appleseed Art
Offer preschoolers an opportunity to use their art skills. Provide preprinted Johnny Appleseed pictures they can color in. Review names of colors and demonstrate different coloring techniques. Children can practice holding crayons correctly. Provide blank paper for a chance for the kids to be more original. Another activity involves using apples as stamps. Cut apples in half and set out plates of washable, nontoxic paint. Children can dip their apples halves into the paint and use the apples as stamps on the blank paper.
Johnny Appleseed Language Arts
Johnny Appleseed has inspired many poems and songs that can be used to build skills in language arts. Find some poems or songs you can teach the class and sing or chant them together. Find pieces that are repetitive and easy to learn. Make up hand motions to accompany the lyrics. Print the poem or song in large handwriting on poster board and hang it in the room. Review some letters with the children as you look at the poem or song. Point out the word "apple" when it appears. Send children home with a copy of the poem or song. Repeat the activity each day while you are teaching about Johnny Appleseed.
Johnny Appleseed Science
Teach children that apples grow on trees. Explain that trees grows from seeds and that seeds exist inside apples. Talk about roots and other parts of a tree. Explain that apple trees take a long time to grow, but other kinds of plants grow faster. Help each child plant his own bean plant inside a plastic cup in the classroom. Have children observe their plants each day to watch how they change. Teach children that plants need water and sunlight to grow.
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