An Apple a Day

The students will gain an understanding of the importance of trees in the environment. Students will show the life cycle of an apple tree in order, and understand the apple is a fruit.

PrintThree Thirty-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • sequence the stages in the life cycle of an apple tree.
  • state two ways that trees have an impact on the environment.
  • Copies for each student of Life Cycle of an Apple Tree (Handout One)
  • The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree (see Bibliographical References)
  • Red construction paper, one per child
  • White construction paper, two sheets per child
  • Stapler, pencils and glue
  • Yellow and green tissue paper cut in one-inch squares
  • Apple shapes cut from construction paper, one per student
Home Connection: 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework:Students read their apple tree life cycle books to their families.


Gibbons, Gail. The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree. Voyager Books, 1988. ISBN: 0152712453

Maestro, Betsy. How Do Apples Grow? Harper Trophy, 1993. ISBN: 0064451178

Parts of a Tree

Wood you believe: We get so much from trees!

  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Before the students arrive, hide the paper apple cutouts around the room. When students arrive, tell them they may each find one and return with it to their seat. If they find more than one they may help another student by giving verbal clues only about the location. Once seated, each student writes his/her name on the apple.

  2. Ask the students what they already know about where apples come from: how they grow, where they grow and where the seeds are. Read aloud The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree to the students.

  3. Hold a class discussion about apple trees and their life cycles. Draw a sketch of the life cycle of the apple tree as the students direct you. Talk about how it looks in different seasons. Sample questions: What do you know about apple trees? Have you ever seen an apple tree? What do apple trees do for us? How are new trees started? How often does a tree give us apples? What time of year does it have flowers? Fruit? How do the branches look when they are full of fruit?

  4. Day Two:

    In advance: Cut each 9" x 12" piece of construction paper into two 6" x 9" pieces.

  5. Tell the students that they will be making a book about the life cycle of the apple tree. Give each student a copy of Handout One: Life Cycle of an Apple Tree. They cut out the sentence strips and glue them on four half sheets of white construction paper (6" x 9"). (Older students may write their own sentences describing the stages of the life cycle of an apple tree.)

  6. Collect the completed pages and retain for the next day’s lesson.

  7. Talk about our connection to trees other than getting apples. What do apple trees (and other trees) need to grow and be healthy? What is our responsibility to trees? How do other trees help us? There are many books and Websites that talk about the thousands of products of trees. Two Websites are provided in the Bibliographical References.

  8. Ask each student to name two ways that trees have an impact on our environment.

  9. Day Three:

  10. Return the white papers with the sentences for the students to illustrate. For younger students, the teacher may wish to provide examples.

  11. When the students have completed their illustrations, staple the pages between two sheets of red construction paper (6" x 9") to create a book.

  12. Direct the students to draw or trace an apple shape on the front cover of the book. They will cover the apple shape with glue and put crumpled tissue papers on the glue to create a raised apple shape on the cover.

  13. Demonstrate how to crumple one tissue-paper square at a time into a tiny ball. Affix the crumpled tissue squares closely together inside the apple outline. Students will proceed in this manner until the area inside their own apple drawings is covered.

  14. Lay aside to let covers dry completely. Read the books together before sending home with students.


Students will demonstrate understanding of the importance of trees to the environment by participating in class discussion. Monitor student understanding of the life cycle of a tree as they write or sequence the pages of their books.