Number Sense and Computation: An Apple a Day

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In this math lesson, learners make estimates to analyze the number of apples per acre, and visualize the magnitude of one million. Using the thematic setting of Johnny Appleseed, learners practice their number sense and estimation skills as they progress from merely guessing the number of apples in a bushel to making a reasonable estimate based on a point of reference or benchmark. Learners use data from the Michigan Apple Growers to compute and analyze the total amount of apple yield per acre. They work at centers to gain experience in visualizing the magnitude of one million apples. Learners also gain experience in using a grid as a resource to make better estimations.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)


  • Mathematics
    • Algebra
      • Equations and Inequalities
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Number and Operations
    • Reasoning and Proof
    • Representation
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking
  • Literature


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, PBS, 2012

Funding Source:

  • US Department of Education