First of all, I love fall. A few years ago, I created a unit built around Johnny Appleseed activities to help usher in the season. Fall is such a magical season, and sometimes, children are reluctant to embrace it because it means saying goodbye to summer. Johnny Appleseed activities are a great way to get your class into the fall spirit while keeping up with your Reading standards, Writing, Science, Social Studies, Art, and organizing a field trip. Talk about a full thematic unit!
Johnny Appleseed is a favorite folktale because he is based on the real man John Chapman. John Chapman traveled our beautiful country giving away apple seeds (and is part of the reason apple trees abound in the United States). By today’s standards, he would be considered an environmentalist as well. He loved animals and nature. I love beginning my Johnny Appleseed unit with a shared reading book about him. It’s a longer read-aloud, so it will take about a week to fully read and discuss.
While reading the book, you can incorporate Science by discussing how seeds grow and the importance of trees and nature. You can delve deeper into Science by discussing the different apple varieties. Your Social Studies is covered by discussing John Chapman and his contributions to American society. It’s easy to incorporate math using apples as a unit for addition and subtraction. Depending on where your students are in the math curriculum, you can introduce fractions by sharing apples and showing halves, quarters, and eighths as well.
Johnny Appleseed Art Activity
At the end of the first week, students are ready to have more fun with the unit. This Johnny Appleseed Activities lesson introduces students to idioms and includes activities for students to practice identifying them. It also has additional reading passages about Johnny Appleseed. It’s great for students to see the different versions of folk tales that abound. The fun part of the lesson incorporates art as students finish the unit, making these beautiful Johnny Appleseed pop-up/diorama books. My students LOVE making the pop-up books, and they make a beautiful bulletin board.
Johnny Appleseed Field Trip Activity
The fun continues with a visit to the apple farm! Students can see the different varieties of apples growing that we learned about. They get to pick some to take home as well. We add the cost of a small pumpkin for each child to our field trip, which usually takes place in October. As I said, this is my favorite fall unit that will surely be a hit with your class as well.