Homeschooling S.T.E.A.M.: Fruit – Oranges

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! Being a father is one of the highest callings in the world, and the difference a good father makes in a family is incalculable. I know I sure am grateful for mine!

We continued on with our journey through fruit today with a study of oranges. Growing up in Southern California, oranges have always been a huge part of my life, and seeing those orange globes hanging on trees will never cease to make me smile.

Our haiku unit is coming to an end. I wish it could go on longer, but there are more writing styles to explore. So here’s one of our haiku we wrote today about oranges.

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Abstract, isn’t it? It’s nice to see them moving away from being so literal all the time. This one wasn’t half bad. And it confirmed to me that, yes, they’re ready to move on.

I stuck with only two books this time around. I wanted to include a nonfiction title, but it didn’t make it to me in time, so I had to just tell the kids about the development of oranges. They were especially interested to learn about why there are sections inside an orange. Actually, so was I. I’d never really given it any thought. And you’d think it was just the kids who learn things during homeschooling!

Our books this time were short and sweet. Pun intended. 😄

  • First up was Armadillo’s Orange by Jim Arnosky. While not strictly about oranges, the orange does play an important role, so it counted.
  • The second book was An Orange in January by Dianna Aston. This celebration of how oranges travel from hot climates to cold ones was a great one, and the kids thought it was interesting to think that not everyone would have ready access to citrus like we do.

And then we were on to our project! We dissected our oranges, looking at the fascinating way an orange grows from a blossom. The sectioning really is amazing.

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The kids scooped out the flesh, leaving the membranes an intact as possible. And then I squirted fabric paint into paper plates and let the kids start stamping!

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Each kid got one color of their choosing. If they wanted another one​, they had to borrow someone else’s orange. Teamwork and sharing were the lessons of the day here!

It was great to see how different and unique each kid’s work was. The little ones kept it pretty simple, which was age appropriate and lovely to see.

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The older kids did a lot more detail work, using the orange prints as part of a more complex scene or design. At this point, paintbrushes started to come into play, and I allowed a couple extra colors to be used as accents. They did amazing work!

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Personally, I really like the chicken camping out under the horse! The use of the orange prints to create to tree was very effective, and, if I were grading this, she’d get an A for sure!

While not as heavy on the science as some of our lessons, the increased art component more than made up for it. If you’ve never done printmaking, I highly recommend it. It’s a blast!

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