The earth as an apple by iyf57920


									The earth as an apple
Apples and knives (enough for each student, group of students, or just for
the instructor)
Cutting boards, Bristol board, or something to cut the apple on

Each student or group of students receives an apple, cutting board and knife (or just the
teacher, who demonstrates to the class)

1) Ask students to imagine that the apple is actually the planet Earth

2) Slice an apple into quarters. Set aside three of the quarters. Students then guess what
the 3 quarters represent, and what the lone quarter represent. The ¾’s represent the
oceans of the world. The fourth quarter roughly represents the total land area left.
Optional: What fraction of the Earth is land? What percentage of the planet is land?

3) Set the water aside and concentrate on the piece of land. Cut this into two. What
might each of these represent? One represents land which is in inhospitable to people
(polar areas, deserts, swamps, very high or rocky mountainous areas.) The other 1/8th
piece is the land area where people can live, (but does not necessarily grow the foods
needed for life.) Again, students may be asked what the corresponding fractions and
percentages of each are.

4) Now slice this 1/8th piece into four sections, giving you four 1/32nd pieces. Set aside
three of these pieces. What might these represent? These are areas too rocky, too wet, too
cold, too steep., or with soil too poor to produce food, They also include the areas of land
that could produce food but are buried under cities, highways, suburban developments,
shopping centers, and other structures that people have built.

5) This leaves a 1/32nd slice of the earth, which represents the only places on the planet
where we can still grow food. What sorts of words describe this type of land? Fertile,
arable, agricultural, are all descriptive words for this type of land.

6) Carefully peel this slice. Ask the students to guess what this might represent. This
tiny bit of peel represents the surface, or topsoil, the very thin skin of the earth's crust
upon which humankind depends. Less than five feet deep, it is a fixed amount of food-
producing land.

7) So what’s the point? We only have a very small amount of land on which to support
our population. When we see the small amount of land that produces our food, it's easy to
see that protecting land resources are important. Ask students if they see a problem when
they compare the size of the planet to the amount of arable land. Compare the fact that
we have a large population (over 6 billion) which is growing, while we have a fixed
amount of land. Is this land threatened? By what? Discuss ways in which this finite
amount of land is being used for other purposes other than food. The issue of sustainable
agriculture can also be discussed. Finally, how might we protect this precious, non-
renewable resource? From here, the discussion can go many ways, from wise urban
planning, to sustainable farming, to eating locally. This is a good opportunity to
introduce the Greenbelt, which is an area of land around the golden horseshoe, where
there are about 7000 farms as well as parks, waterways etc, which are protected from
Finally, discuss the best way to dispose of the apple scraps. Talk about how composting
them will actually create something to help our arable land, instead of going to a landfill.

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