03 October 2007

Visiting an apple farm

Class 2i planned a visit an apple farm. Here's what they had to say before they went, but after they had done some research into How Apples Grow:

Fiona said: "I learned that tiny buds are on the tree in winter."

Justin said: "The flowers came before the apples."

Per said: "The bees help and what happens is that they bring something from one flower to the other tree. And the trees get food from the ground and the apples get fatter and fatter.” He also said: “I didn’t know that the piece that holds the apple onto the tree could hold that much weight."

Max said: "At first an apple is a flower."

Swati agreed: "First is the flower, then they don’t need petals and they fall down on the grown and they turn brown, and then a little tiny apple grows."

Christopher said: "If you look at an apple you can see where the flower was, at the other end from the stem. I learned that the bees went to the blossom flower, took something from it and went to another flower."

Several people said: "And that’s the female part of the flower – it turns into the fruit."

Dangi said: "I didn’t know that apple flowers had pollen."

When we were at the farm, we learned some of the things that farmers do to take care of their apples:

Tanmay said: “I learned about the female butterfly."

Patricia said: "They have a little house with paper inside so that the daddy butterfly sticks on the paper...

Maya added: ..." with a bit of glue. He thinks there’s a mummy butterfly because of the smell."

Matthew said: " A big problem for the apple farm is that something eats the apples, and lays eggs inside the apples."

Swati said: "The eggs come from the mummy butterflies."

Max said: "The daddy butterflies sense the mummies."

Fiona said: "The farmer plays a trick; he puts the smell of a mummy inside a box, and the daddies are tricked."

Dangi said: "We saw glue and the daddy butterflies stuck on it inside the box. They were tiny, and we saw lots."

We wondered, "What do you think the nets were for?"

Some people thought that farmers put nets over the trees to keep the birds off the apples.

Joe thought it was "to keep raccoons off."

Matthew thought it was because "when it’s winter it keeps the apples warm."

Danah thought it might be "to stop the birds going on the apples."

Justin thought that it could be " electrified, so the birds can’t eat the apples."

Christopher thought it was "to stop the worms."

Swati thought it was "to stop the insects."

Per thought maybe "everything that flies can’t get through."

We were given a hint: it has something to do with the weather:

Joe thought it might be "so the apples don’t blow away."

Danah thought "when it’s snowing, it protects them from the snow."

Tanmay thought that it "is so the apples don’t get wet."

Fiona thought that it keeps "the lightning off the fruit."

Christopher thought it might "keep the thunder off."

Maya thought it was "to save them from a big tornado."

Patricia then thought that it protected them "when the ‘stars’ fall out of the sky in a big storm."

Now we were getting close: it's not stars that fall, but ICE.....Then Joe remembered that ice that falls is called hail. It often comes out of the sky in a big storm, and can do an enormous amount of damage to the apples. When apples get damaged by hail, farmers cannot sell them.

In fact we didn’t see nets over the trees on our visit because there were no apples on the trees. Swati said that we didn't see apples on the trees because "the people have carefully picked them and put them into the back of the truck and driven them away.”

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