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Need a Real World Connection? Try Apple Picking!

As a student, my favorite days were the experiment days, those days when we got to see and do what we had been learning in class. Even with the vastness and diversity of modern technology, I don’t think that is less true for students today.

It’s still pretty early in the school year and there isn’t yet that rushed, tense atmosphere of test preparation that will come when everyone returns from Winter Break. This makes it the perfect time to insert more hands-on and experiential learning into the lessons.

This type of teaching can get costly, though. Since nearly everyone is facing budget restraints and cuts this year, teachers have the opportunity to get even more creative with classroom tools. One you may not know about or may have forgotten is GPB’s resource Georgia Cooks. You can find out about crops grown in Georgia and recipes for making use of those crops. There are profiles from farmers and chefs around the state. So, while it may not be feasible to take a field trip to the farm, you can still see an interview with a Georgia farmer or chef.

My current favorite is the video segment about apples with Tim Mercier of Mercier Orchards in the North Georgia foothills. My family is one drawn to the apples each October, just as Mr. Mercier describes. I loved hearing from an actual farmer about the tedious job of tending his apples. For example, Mercier Orchards replants 5% of his crop every year to maintain a steady, healthy crop. But, it takes 5-7 years to get a yield from the trees.

When watching this video, I was struck by its various uses across educational platforms:

Math: If %5 of the orchard is replanted every year, how many years will it take to plant the entire orchard? Economics come in to play when you weigh the cost of the tree and its maintenance against the amount of output and weather conditions for pricing apples for market.

Georgia Studies: This site has 14 videos on specific agricultural commodities around all of Georgia.

ELA: How many writing prompts can you think of based on this one video?

Science: Did you know that apples are in the same family as roses?

And the list goes on! In the end, making cross-academic connections will probably go along way to enhance the critical thinking skills your students need to be successful on tests next spring.Enjoy the challenge and make the connection!