THE ISSUE: Making Math and Science Fun

LOCAL IMPACT: Marnie Simons teachers show students that math and science can be both fun and hands-on.

It's the time of year when apples abound, and Marnie Simons second-grade teacher Kris Williams and her students have been studying plants and seeds in science class recently, so when principal Mike Wells let her know that someone had offered the school apples from their trees, an idea sprang to mind.
She and her students thought it might be a good project to find out how apples become apple pies. Not all apple pies come from a shelf at Walmart, you know.
After all, it would be a shame to see perfectly good apples go to waste. So Mrs. Williams set before her 20 second graders and nine Farm School Club members the task of making some apple pies from scratch. Easy as pie, right?
Mrs. Williams and her charges set out for Sally Brumley's place and Willy and Pat Thorp's place to pick apples, with paraprofessional Joseph Heithusen and Dr. Wells in tow.
The kids shook the trees, raining red and green apples down onto sheets on the ground. Mr. Heitshusen used a step ladder and picker pole to get at the higher branches. Dr. Wells even climbed up into a tree to help. The 300-plus apples they collected were boxed and carted back to school.
The apple pie teams set to work, carefully peeling and coring and slicing, measuring and mixing (making certain not to confuse sugar and salt), kneading dough and filling pie plates, skillfully arranging the lattice crust on top.
Students took the uncooked pies home for baking, a total of 31 apple pies. They shared them with family and friends. “We started out saying, 'Oh, we gotta get all these pies done!'—but we did it,” said Mrs. Williams.
The students learned about teamwork and following instructions, used their math and science skills, had a great time doing a practical project, and talked about it excitedly afterward.
And the pies tasted darn good.
Unless of course your team had confused the salt and the sugar.