A is for Apple

A is for Apple

by Judie Haynes

Combine science, language arts, and math with an apple theme for Fall. This is an excellent unit for mixed level ESL classes and can be taught to students of a wide variety of ages and abilities.

In many parts of the United States apples are a sign of Fall. We go apple picking and drink fresh apple cider. We eat apple pie and apple dumplings. Apples provide a means to combine English language learning with content area instruction. Even your newcomers can participate in the "hands-on" parts of this lesson.

Lesson Topic

Apple Theme Unit

Grade/Proficiency Level

Grades 1-3 beginning to intermediate ESL; Grades 3-8 beginning-advanced beginning ESL

TESOL Goal and Standard

Goal 2, Standard 2 - To use English to achieve academically in all content areas: Students will be able to use English to obtain, process, contruct, and provide subject matter information in spoken and written form.

Goal 3, Standard 1 - To use English in socially and culturally appropriate ways: Students will use the appropriate language variety, register, and genre according to audience, purpose, and setting.

Content Concepts/Skills

Changes in nature; how apples grow; observing and keeping a science journal; experiments with apples


Library books about apples; five or six different kinds of apples; plastic knives; PDF downloads


round, sweet, tart,juicy, hard, crisp, crunchy ripe, shiny, delicious, skin, core, seeds, Jonathan, Rome Beauty, Mc Intosh, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Red Delicious

Instructional Sequence

Activities for ESL Students in Grades 3-8

  • Brainstorm a list of apple dishes your students enjoy. If necessary, bring in various apple treats that your students are not familar with so that they can taste them. Cooking magazines can also be a source for pictures of different types of apple dishes. You want to teach the vocabulary "applesauce, apple pie, apple juice, baked apple, and candy apple."
  • Have your English language learners survey other students about their favorite apple treat. Download PDF files for the Apple Treat Survey. and make copies. Review the vocabulary and teach students how to conduct a survey. This lesson can be found under Content-based Surveys and Interviews.
  • Have student in grades 4-8 become "apple detectives." Have them make a list of products made from apples that they find in the grocery store. Download our pdf fileApple Detective.
  • Use the lesson plans at Healthy Choices for Kids Online.

  • Activity Downloads

    Note: To view the classroom activities, you must have Acrobat Reader intalled. Acrobat is a free application available from Adobe Systems.

    PDF fileApple Wheel (69k .PDF)

    PDF fileApple Detective (5k .PDF)

    PDF fileApple Treat Survey (2k .PDF)

    PDF fileApple Word Puzzle (63k .PDF)

    PDF fileApple Shape Book (64k .PDF)

    Related Links

    Johnny Appleseed, an American Folk Hero
    Teach your ELLs about American Folktales through a unit on Johnny Appleseed. This is a perfect accompaniment to a thematic unit on Apples or on other Fall topics.