How Many Seeds?

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Students will be able to analyze and interpret the data they have collected during an apple observation.

Big Idea

Cutting open apples and counting seeds helps students develop analytical skills.


10 minutes

Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.

In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.”

By saying “walking feet” I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.

When all of the students are seated on their dot in the rug area I tell them I am going to have them watch a short video about today’s lesson topic. The musical video clip is the song I Love Apples from the Watch Know Learn website.  

Make sure you have loaded the video clip onto your SMARTBoard or other media source before the students come to the rug so you do not lose instructional time.


Once the video is over I ask the students “Raise your hand if you can tell me something that you noticed all of those different kinds of apples had.”

I select a student who is following the correct classroom protocol of raising their hand to respond to the request.

“Well spotted Kendall; all of those apples had skin on them. Did anybody notice anything else all of those apples have?”

I select another student to respond to this request.

“Good observation Will; all of those apples have a stem. You could not see it on all of them but all apples do have a stem which helps it to do what?”

I select a different student.

“That’s right Kaedyn; the stem helps the apple to hold onto the tree.”


“There is something else all of those apples have which helps to ensure that we have more apples in the future. Can anyone guess what that might be?”

I select one student.

“Adleigh is right; seeds. If we did not have apple seeds we would not have any more apple trees.”


I use this video clip and brief discussion to engage my students’ attention. The video clip shows the students just some of the many different apple varieties available. The brief discussion reminds the students that despite the many different kinds of apples they all have the same basic features. Reminding the students of an apples basic features, will help them when it comes time to do the experiment.  


45 minutes

Now I ask the students to take a seat around the edge of the rug by singing the “Edge of the Rug” song.

Once all of the students are seated around the edge of the rug I pull out the many different apples I have on a tray.

“Boys and girls I want you to look closely at all of these apples. They are all different types of apples. Can anyone tell me one difference?”

I select a student who is following the correct classroom protocol of raising their hand.

“That is indeed a difference Landon; many of the apples have different colored skin. This Red Delicious has a very red skin and this Honey Crisp has a light yellow skin. What is another difference?”

I select a different student to respond.

“I agree with Roxie; some of these apples are different sizes. This Granny Smith is big and round and this Macintosh is small and oval.”

“Those were some good differences you observed. Later in the day we will taste some of these apples and see if there is another difference. For right now I want you to see if you can observe any similarities – things they have that are the same.”

I select a few students to go over the things we can visually observe that are the same.

I hold up the Granny Smith and the Macintosh. “Now if I cut open this apple will it be the same inside as this apple?”

I allow the students to call out the response of, “Yes!”

“How do you know that Nate?”

“Nate says he knows that because he has cut up different apples when he has helped his Dad make apple pie. Raise your hand if you agree with Nate. Okay, hands down.”

“Today at one of our work stations we are going to plan an investigation to answer the question, “Are all apples the same inside?””

“We will be cutting open different apples and comparing the insides.”

“Does anyone have any questions?”


Now I send the students over to the integrated work stations one table group at a time to maintain a safe and orderly classroom. It usually sounds like this;

“Table number one go get ready to have some apple observation fun.

Table number two, you know what to do.

Table number three, hope you were listening to me, and

Table number four, you shouldn’t be here anymore.”


Allow the students 15-18 minutes to work on this activity. After 15-18 minutes are up, the timer goes off and the students clean up ready to switch stations.  

I set the visual timer and remind the students to look at it so they can use their time wisely.


Once I have my first group with me I hand each student a totally different apple. I record the type of apple each student received on the chart paper behind me.

“Boys and girls I want you to closely observe your apple using your magnifying glass to tell me any interesting observations you may have.”

I give the students just a minute to observe the outside of their apple because we have already covered much of the external structures during the whole group discussion on the rug.

When the minute is up I say, “Now I am going to cut your apple in half across the middle. Once I have cut your apple across the middle I want you to use your magnifying glass to closely observe the inside. When you are examining the inside I want you to count the number of seeds in each chamber of the apple and give me the final count. Be very careful because you do not want your seeds to fall out of your apple.”

I go around the group and carefully cut each apple just above the midline across the apple. I am trying not to damage the seeds and keep the chambers intact.

After a minute I ask each student to give me the number of seeds they got and use tally marks to record the data on the chart paper.

Once I have everyone’s data I ask, “What can you tell me about the inside of your apple?”

I take two or three responses to the request. Their responses will determine where I start the apple parts explanation.

“Now I want you to look closely at your apple as I point out some structures of the apple. Structures means parts - just like when you look at the structure of a building - the parts of building, I am asking you to look at the structure - the parts that make up an apple."

"Everyone point to the very outer edge of their apple; that is the skin. Now place your finger on the white part of the apple; that is called the flesh. Put a finger by one of the little pockets where the seeds are kept; those are chambers. Now everyone put their finger on the very center of the apple; that is the core. Look closely at your friends apples. Does their apple have the same structures as yours?”

All of the students should nod their head in agreement.

“Can anyone tell me about what they notice about the middle of the apple?”

Here is where I am hoping a student will either know about the “star” in the center of each apple, or will have observed the shape.

“I am glad you noticed the star in the center of the apple. All apples have this because they are part of the rose family. Each chamber makes up part of the star and each chamber represents a petal from the apple blossom.” I show the students an enlarged Image of an apple blossom so they can compare the star to the blossom.

“Now that you have observed the inside of your own apple and looked at a friend’s, is it fair to say that most apples are the same inside?”

The students should nod their head in agreement.

“Now take a look at our chart. Is it fair to say that most apples contain ten seeds - two in each chamber?”

Apart from the odd apple most apples should have ten seeds – two in each chamber.

“As scientists we can use this data to say, “Most apples are the same internally.”

Students picking out seeds.                                         

Student picking out seeds.

Student counting seeds.

Student recording counted seeds.

Student sample of data recording.

Explaining how to record the data.

Discussing our seed counting results.


In this activity the students are exploring how to closely observe the inside of an apple and how to record what they find out. We compare the number of seeds to see if that is where the internal difference lies. 


At another work station the students are working with an adult on the story “Little Green Worm” on page 18 from the book Apples, Pumpkin and Harvest; Ready-to-Go Activities, Games, Literature Selections, Poetry and Everything You Need for a Complete Theme Unit ISBN 0-590-03316-6. This story uses literature which encourages the students to practice critical thinking skills by using a process of elimination based on different fruits physical features (ELA).


At another work station the students are taste testing three different apples (red, yellow and green) and recording the results (math/science).


At another work station the students are working on creating an apple part prop (engineering).   


These activities provide the students with the opportunity to apply and expand their understanding of the concepts within new contexts and situations thus elaborating on the information they have been presented with. 


10 minutes

When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look, listen” technique mentioned above.

“When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair and take a spot on your dot. Walking feet, go.”


Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to tell me one observation they made today.

“Team 203 your exit ticket today is to tell me one thing you observed about the inside of an apple today. It can be an observation about the parts of the apple or the data you we recorded from the tasting work station or the observation station.”

“When you have told me your observation you may use the hand sanitizer and get your snack.”

I use the Fair Sticks to determine the order of the students.

If a student is unable to give me an answer, they know they can do one of two things.

  1. They can ask a friend to help, or
  2. They can wait until everyone else has gone and then we will work on an observation together.


I use this exit ticket process as a way for the students to explain what they observed at two different stations. During integrated work station time they experienced different activities which involved the parts of the apple in one format or another – taste and internal structure. This quick assessment process allows me to see if the student is able to take information learned in one format and be able to transfer it to another format.   


In order to assess if my students have successfully understood and retained the information presented in the lesson I evaluate each student by providing them with a task the next day for morning work. For this assessment I provide each student with a copy of the graph we recorded at the taste test station from the previous day. The students need to analyze the data and then use that information to answer the questions.

Once the student has completed answering the questions they are to bring their work to an adult who will check over their answers and question the students about the answers they provided.

This work is placed in the student’s collection portfolio.