|MadSci Network: Botany|
This seems like a very advanced project for a 5 year old. Let me suggest some more age-appropriate apple projects before I answer the question. If desired two or more of the projects could be combined into a single project. 1. Apple identification - buy half a dozen different apples and have the student develop a way to identify them based on color and shape. Good candidates would be 'Granny Smith', 'Yellow Delicious', 'Red Delicious', ' McIntosh', 'Pink Lady' and 'Gala'. 2. Apple taste test - have the student taste test six or more types of apples and rank them from most favorite to least favorite. Then have the student let friends and family do the taste test. The student can then compare his/her preferences with the other results. 3. Where did different apples originate? - use the internet to look up the geographic origin of popular apple cultivars (cultivated varieties). A world map could be labeled with the locations. For example, 'Yellow Delicious' was discovered in West Virginia about 1914, 'Granny Smith' originated in New Zealand about 1868 and 'McIntosh' was discovered in Ontario, Canada in 1811. 4. How many seeds in different apple cultivars? - cut open the fruit of many different apple cultivars and count the seeds. On the question of "Why apples are different colors?" there are three main patterns. Green apples are green because they contain the green pigment, chlorophyll. Yellow apples start out green but the apple stops making chlorophyll as it matures. The chlorophyll it contains eventually degrades to reveal yellow carotenoid pigments that were there all along but being masked by the chlorophyll. Red apples follow the same pattern as yellow apples but start making a red pigment called anthocyanin. Anthocyanins are water soluble pigments that change color with pH. A popular student science project involves extracting anthocyanins from red or purple cabbage leaves with hot water and using the extract as a pH indicator. Anthocyanins could also be extracted from red apple peels. Students often extract chlorophyll and carotenoids from leaves, especially spinach, and separate them using paper chromatography. You Chlorophyll and carotenoid pigments could also be extract from apple peels. However, that seems too advanced for a 5 year old because it requires toxic organic solvents such as acetone. References Student project on apple classification How to do an Apple Taste Test Re: What determines the number of seeds in an apple? Re: How do you identify pigments as they show up on paper chromatography? Procedures for extracting anthocyanins from red/purple cabbage Procedures for paper chromatography of pigments in spinach leaves
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