Investigating Oranges

investigating oranges title

We watched an interesting video the other night from Curiosity Quest (watch for a review from them in a month or so – very cool company!) that dealt with how oranges get from the tree to your grocer. It was really neat and made us wonder about a few more things. You know what that means around here…further investigation!

We went to the kitchen and the internet. Here are some of the cool things we found and did.

First – the real thing!

We investigated using oranges we had in the kitchen. We had some navel oranges (the kind from the video) and we had some mandarin oranges (the little ones that peel easy). We put them on the counter next to each other and did some observing.

comparing oranges

Size – navel was much larger than mandarin
Color – navel was a lighter orange, mandarin was a darker orange
Feel – navel was heavier, rougher, harder and the mandarin was lighter, smooth, and squishier
Smell – they both smelled faintly of orange

Then we peeled them. In the process of peeling them, we talked about the orange oil that comes from the skin and its many properties and uses. We also made some hypotheses why one was easier to peel than the other. Once they were peeled, we segmented them (new vocabulary there!) and compared one segment of each one. Again, we looked at size, color, feel, smell, and we added taste.

After looking at and comparing the real things, we made a semi-healthy dessert. We melted chocolate and dipped the oranges in it. Yummy!

chocolate dipped oranges

Of course, the girls wanted to do the same observations with cranberries and mushrooms (the other episodes on the DVD we were watching). We’ll have to go to the grocery store first but we will do the same.

Going to the internet, I found several ideas of foods to make with oranges. We may try some more of them later. I also found some lovely pictures of orange trees for us to view. I ventured over to Sunkist and found some neat educational materials to print. At Sunkist, I also found a page of cool facts about oranges. I found numerous pages that addressed the health benefits of oranges and also one that did a simple science experiment. The science experiment showed show an unpeeled orange floats but a peeled one sinks (due to air pockets/bubbles in the rind). Someone also mentioned about using a peeled orange to talk about fractions. We haven’t done that yet but I plan to.

Who knew there was so much to learn and do with oranges! Just goes to show you that once you start digging out a subject, you can find a lot of information. I may just turn the girls loose to see what else they find. At Home.

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