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This Johnny Appleseed lesson includes geography, transportation, U.S. history, sense of taste, graphing, and story illustration


Art, Math, Science, Social Studies  


K, 1  

Title – Johnny Appleseed
By – Patricia Taylor
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects – Math, Science, Art
Grade Level – K-1
Teaching Strategy:  Whole group
Time Required: 4 hours

1.  Concept or Skill –

    The purpose of this lesson is to learn about an important man in history and his contribution to society. This will be a cross-curriculum lesson incorporating Social Studies, Language Arts, Math and Science. This lesson was taught over the course of four days.

2.  Alabama Course of Study Correlation – Social Studies

  • #1 Develop initial map and globe skills.
  • #3 Develop initial ability to display information in graphic form.
  • #11 Discover characters and events from literature that demonstrate the impact of one person’s behavior upon another.
  • # 12 Develop an awareness of character traits that appear in literature.
  • # 29 Begin to compare different forms of transportation from the past and the present in different times.
  • # 32 Recognize important historical figures in American history through songs, poetry, literature, and drama.

3.  Behavioral Objectives – Students will be able to:

  • Recognize where the State of Alabama is on a United States map. (ALCOS #1)
  • Record results of the apple tasting on a graph. (ALCOS #3)
  • Learn about an important person in history. (ALCOS #12, 11, 32)
  • Recognize the pioneer John Chapman, known as Johnny Appleseed. (ALCOS #12, 11, 32)
  • Discuss how Johnny Appleseed helped the Pioneers move west. (ALCOS #12, 11, 29, 32)
  • Compare different forms of transportation from the past and the present in different forms. (ALCOS #29)

4.  Materials –

  • Trade Books, The Story of Johnny Appleseed , by Alikli and Johnny Appleseed , by Steven Kellogg.
  • Three varieties of apples and an apple cutter.
  • Poster board for the apple tasting comments and for the apple graph.
  • Tempura paint, brushes, paint pallets, water and paper.
  • Physical map of the United States.

5.  Teaching/Learning Procedures –

      a.  Motivation –

        Show a picture of Johnny Appleseed from a book. Ask the children if they know anything about Johnny Appleseed. Ask children why he was called, Johnny Appleseed? Explain that the name Johnny Appleseed is based on a real man named John Chapman. Preview the book,

Johnny Appleseed

        by Steven Kellogg and introduce background information about John Chapman. Explain that Johnny Appleseed was a gentle, kind man who loved nature, children, helping people and he did not carry a weapon. Read the book, pointing out special features like log cabins, how people were dressed, Johnny’s shoes, and how he helped people. After reading the story, ask the children what new information they learned from this story. Discuss the book, focusing on Johnny’s contribution to history and the differences in a way of life then and now.

      b.  Instructional Procedures –

        Introduce another version of a Johnny Appleseed story. Read

The Story of Johnny Appleseed

        , by Alikli. Discuss this book and the many places the Johnny Appleseed traveled. Using a large, simple physical map of the United States, (ideally a primary physical map with only the state boundaries), locate Massachusetts where Johnny was born. Next, locate where the children live and compare to where Johnny grew up. Finally, find the many places (States) Johnny traveled, counting the states he traveled through. Discuss how he traveled by foot and how little he carried with him.
        Explain to the children that at this time in our history people were beginning to leave the towns and cities they had lived in on the East Coast (locate on the map) and were moving farther west to look for new places for homes and farms. There were no towns, villages, homes, or even roads where Johnny Appleseed and the pioneers traveled; it was wilderness. Help the children understand that a pioneer is someone who leads the way the way into a land not known to them. Discuss the different ways the pioneers traveled as they moved westward, such as walking, covered wagons, and flatboats. Show the children pictures of covered wagons and flatboats.

      c.  Closure –

        “Ask the children if they know where Johnny Appleseed got his seeds?” Where do we get seeds? Explain to the students that apples were quiet easy to grow, to pick, and could be used all year round. Remind students that these people had no refrigerators. The apple seeds were easy to carry to new places because they were so small. Johnny Appleseed provided these people with seeds and started new apple orchards as he traveled. Next, have and apple tasting and record the results. Record the results on poster boards titled, “Red apples taste like…” fill in the blanks with the students’ responses to the taste of different apples. Allow students to use their sense of taste to taste a variety of apples: Red Delicious, Granny Smith (green), and Golden Delicious (yellow) apples. Save the seeds from one apple for students to examine and count the seeds contained inside. Students can then draw an apple and color it the color of their favorite apple. These apples will then be put on a graph to see what is the favorite apple of the class. After the apples are colored and cut out, glue to the graph and count the total apples in each column.

      d.  Extension –

        Have students paint their own apple trees using tempura paints. Trees are painted brown, leaves are green and apples can be painted red, yellow or green. These will then be put on display.

      Students also illustrated a picture in the story about Johnny Appleseed.

6.  Evaluation –

    Teacher observation and student participation. Teacher will be sure all students’ responses are recorded. Each student will create an apple painting and illustrate part of the story.

7.  Professional Reflection –

    The students loved this lesson. It was taught over a period of three days. Our totals of the apple graph were as follows: Red 6, Yellow 5, and Green 5. While creating the apple paintings, I found out this was also the first time this kindergarten class had painted. I enjoyed preparing and teaching this lesson plan. It was easy to teach and the students participated with hands on learning and enjoyed the activities and the stories about a historical figure.

E-Mail Patricia Taylor !

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