Johnny Appleseed Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Why is Johnny Appleseed considered a memorable American folk hero? This lesson plan uses a text lesson to support guided discussion and an apple-centric activity to create a sticky learning experience for your students.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'orchard'
  • summarize the life of John Chapman a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed
  • identify an apple seed

Length

  • 30 to 45 minutes for instruction
  • Up to several weeks for the activity

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.1

Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.2

Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.3

Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.4

Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.6

Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.7

Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.

Materials

  • Apples cut in half so that the seeds are visible, one apple per student
  • Paper copies of the text lesson Johnny Appleseed Lesson for Kids: Facts & Biography
  • Apple cider
  • Small paper cups
  • Photos of apple trees
  • Potting soil
  • Plastic wrap
  • Water
  • A permanent marker
  • A worksheet created using the quiz from the associated lesson

Key Vocabulary

  • Johnny Appleseed
  • John Chapman
  • Barter
  • Satchel

Instructions

  • Write the words 'Johnny Appleseed' on the board.
    • Has anyone heard this name before?
    • Was Johnny Appleseed real?
  • Pass out the paper copies of the text lesson now.
  • Have students read the 'Who is Johnny Appleseed' section of the text lesson now.
    • What is an orchard?
    • Why might John Chapman have chosen apple seeds over other types of seeds?
  • Instruct the class to read the 'The Beginning of His Adventure' section of the text lesson now.
    • How could planting a tree somewhere make that one's land?
    • How big is 1200 acres? What can we compare it to?
  • Now have the class read the rest of the text lesson.
    • Was John Chapman a hero of sorts?
    • Have any of us every bartered for something we needed or wanted?
    • What could be some possible reasons for the water being unsafe to drink in Johnny Appleseed's time?
    • What is cider?
  • Pass out a small cup of cider to each student now for them to try.
    • How is cider different from apple juice?
    • Has anyone see an apple tree in real life?
  • Share the photos of the apple trees with students now.
    • Why might apple trees take longer to grow than other types of trees?
  • Pass out the worksheet to the class now and ask them to work independently to complete it.

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