Outdoor Hour Challenge #35: Tree Focus -Apple

What a perfect time of year to be completing a study of apple trees! The apple tree was the fourth most popular tree in the tree poll that I took before we started our tree study and that surprised me for some reason. We do not have an apple tree in our yard…we did in the past but the deer really got most of the apples and it was shading our garden so we took it out a number of years ago.

We are going to take a trip to a nearby apple orchard and complete our challenge there and I encourage you to seek out an opportunity to observe an apple tree up close for this study. Maybe your neighbor has a tree that you can look at or you have an orchard near your home that you could take few minutes to drive by and enjoy.

Even if you just purchase some apples and enjoy that experience you will have been successful in completing this challenge.

Just a word of caution: Let this study of apple trees unfold during your nature study time. Resist the urge to turn this into a huge unit study on apples. The most important thing to keep in mind if you are trying to stay with the spirit of the Handbook of Nature Study is to have a short period of outdoor time with a few ideas for observation in mind.

Outdoor Hour Challenge #35
Focus on Trees-Apple

(You also may be interested in Autumn 2010 #4 Apples.)

1. Read pages 661-670 in the Handbook of Nature Study to learn about the apple tree and apples. Pay special attention to page 664 where Lesson 182 outlines the study of an apple tree.

“A visit to a large, well-grown orchard in spring or autumn will aid in making this work interesting. Any apple tree near at hand may be used for the lesson.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 664

If you do not have access to an apple tree, you can use your nature study time this week to study apples using the suggestions on pages 667-670. These pages give lots of great information about apples and how to observe them in your nature study.

2. Spend 15 to 20 minutes outdoors this week with your children in your own yard or on your own street. This week you will have two suggested activities.

*If you have an apple tree of any variety in your yard or on your street, use the ideas from the lesson on page 664 to guide your observation of the apple tree.

*If you do not have an apple tree to observe or you have an additional time period for nature study, choose another variety of tree to observe. Pay special attention to the leaves and collect a few to observe indoors after your outdoor time.

3. After your outdoor time, spend a few minutes talking with your child about any trees you observed. Complete any of the suggested activities from the Handbook of Nature Study if you observed an apple tree. Ask if your child has any questions that they would like to research over the next week. Make note of anything they are interested in learning more about and then look it up in the index of the Handbook of Nature Study. Read more about it if it is covered in the book or check your local library if you need additional information.

4. Make sure to give time and the opportunity for a nature journal entry. You could use the suggested activity and sketch an apple from your tree, making special observation of the shape of your apple. You also could cut your apple in half and sketch what it looks like inside. A nature journal entry can be as simple as a sketch, a label, and a date. See challenge 2 and challenge 3 for alternatives to drawing in your nature journal. Press any leaves you collected this week and add them to your nature journal later on.

5. If you identified a tree this week, add it to your list of trees in the front or back of your nature journal. You can also use theRunning List notebook page. Make a note indicating whether it is an evergreen or a deciduous tree.

You can purchase all of the first ten challenges in a convenient ebook along with custom notebook pages.


  1. As always, thanks for organizing this.

  2. I think we had studied apples many times, but never the tree they came from! This was an interesting study…thanks again.

  3. Another great nature study. Thanks again!

  4. Thanks for another fun study!

  5. HI
    I am new to your blog. And I am thrilled to of found it!!! Thank you soo much for all your work.

    I have repurchased my copy of hanbook of nature study from th person I sold it to. With your challenges I am attempting to do nature study again with teens.
    I must say doing it with teens is hilarious – our first challenge – we did today – Apples (autumn here in New Zealand) I will blog about our day tomorrow.

    A huge thank you for all the work & planning you do!

    Love Leanne

  6. This study was so much fun. It is nice to study the apple without the pressure of a unit.

    Thanks again!

  7. We live near Ikenberry Orchards, family owned for many generations here in Botetourt County, Virginia. My kids have been raised eating apples straight from the orchard, just a couple miles away. Apples from the grocery store just don’t taste the same! :)

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