The Earth as an Apple
The Earth as an Apple is a hands on activity which allows students to visualize how much of the Earth's surface is water and how much is land available for agriculture. This can be used as an introductory activity on population growth and resources, mathematics principles, genetically modified crops, the effects of climate change or case studies on the loss of viable land for agriculture use.
Resources: Apples, plastic knifes, paper towel.
*Have students wash the apples/their hands and they can eat the apples after the activity as a healthy snack.
Time Required: 20-30 minutes
Give a brief introduction to make this relevant to your topic (mathematics, geography, science etc.).
Follow the activity as outlined in the student instructions for 'the Earth as an Apple'.
Engage in a discussion with your students:
-What are some of student's initial reactions to the slices of apple?
-Does this challenge student's initial thoughts, assumptions or opinions?
-What are some of the implications of this activity? If our population continues to increase? If our land available for agriculture continues to decline?
-What are some possible solutions to help increase our resources?
For younger students (or if you lack time or resources) you can do this as a demonstration in front of your class.
This activity has a variety of applications including:
Mathematics- can be used to demonstrate fractions or division
Economics/Global Studies- show the importance of our farmland for livelihood and industry.
Geography- visualizing the amount of water, and type of land on Earth's surface.
Science- demonstrate the area of land available for agriculture and the challenges this area faces. Can be used to facilitate discussions on climate change, genetically modified crops, or population dynamics.
Instructions for Students
The Earth as an Apple
1. Slice the apple into quarters. Set aside three quarters. These represents the oceans of the world. The fourth quarter represents the total and remaining.
2. Slice the remaining quarter in half. This gives you two 1/8th pieces. Set aside one of the pieces. This represents the land that is inhospitable for us as humans-polar areas, deserts, swamps, high altitude, and too mountainous or steep in slope. The other piece of apple (1/8th) represents the land where people live..…not necessarily where the food is grown, but where people live.
3. Now, slice this 1/8th of a piece into four sections. You will now have four pieces, each representing 1/32nd of the earth. Set aside three of these pieces. These represents areas that are: too rocky, too wet, too cold, too steep, soil that has such limited quality that it cannot be used to produce food. Also include in these three sections are the areas that have been modified by humans for urban developments.
4. This leaves us with a slice representing 1/32nd of the earth. Carefully peel this slice. This tiny bit of peel represents the surface, the very thin skin of the earth’s crust upon which humankind depends. Usually less then five feet deep, it is quite a fixed amount of land which is capable of food production.
Resource Type:Lesson Plan
Subject(s):Mathematics, Geography, Global Studies, Earth Science, Environmental Science,
Topic:Air, Atmosphere and Climate, Food and Agriculture, Natural Resources,
Level:Primary / ElementaryIntermediate / MiddleSecondary
Grade: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Web Pages Used
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