Few things connote fall as much as fresh apple cider and warm apple cinnamon donuts. Thanks to first grade teacher Ellen Igo all first grade students had the opportunity to not only indulge, but have a hand in making the cider.
For more than 15 years the students have the opportunity to participate in the process of making apple cider. Thanks to a PTO grant back in 2003, Ms. Igo was able to purchase a traditional apple cider press which she pulls out every fall to share with the students. Each student brings in 3-4 apples then has a turn at putting the apples into the hopper and using the flyweel to crush them. Most students were surprised that it was a bit harder than it looked. After being encouraged to "give it a little muscle", students were delighted to see the caramel colored sweet liquid flow into the strategically placed pitcher. Each class was able to produce about 2 gallons of juice during their lesson. The best part for them was tasting the fruits of their labor! The children weren't the only ones who benefited from the lesson. No part of the apple goes wasted, as all the leftover pulp, seeds and skin are composted in the trees to be enjoyed by the deers and bees.
Ms. Igo explains that this lesson goes nicely with the 1st grade science curriculum. They are able to visually understand how a solid turns into a liquid. They also learn many interesting facts about apples and other fruits. The students had so much fun making the apple cider most of them probably didn't even realize they were learning about science!