Baked Apple Chips with a Side of Math

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Baked Apple Chips with a Side of Math

November 8, 2013

It’s that time of year. Just hours after my family returned home from apple picking a friend dropped off a five-gallon bucket of freshly picked apples. I was knee-deep in apples! Wanting to make the most of nature’s bounty, I scoured the internet in search of new apple recipes. Ultimately, I found baked apple chips. Baked apple chips are easy to make, satisfying to crunch and offer a couple of cool math insights, as well as a secret surprise.

Your little one will be delighted to find a secret surprise inside the apple–a hidden star! This is a result of most apples having five seed pockets.

To make apple chips, slice the apple in thin, uniform horizontal slices working from bottom to top. A mandolin slicer simplifies the process.

Next, lay the slices out on parchment-lined cookie sheets removing seeds, also called pips, or remnants of such. You child place the apples into columns and rows on a baking sheet lined with parchment and help you sprinkle them with cinnamon. How many did you fit on the sheet? Looking at those columns and rows you can show how to multiply column times row for a quick way to find that same number.

Bake for two hours at 225 degrees F, flipping the slices halfway through. I found that two to three medium apples will fill two cookie sheets, which can be baked simultaneously. Turn the oven off after two hours, leaving the apples to cool in the oven.

As noted, most apples have five seed pockets. Unlike pumpkins which have a large, unpredictable number of seeds, apples typically have one or two seeds per seed pocket. Knowing that they have five seed pockets, can your child figure out the minimum and maximum number of seeds in a given apple?

Another math concept ripe for exploration in that of the great circle, the largest circle that can be draw around a sphere. Granted, an apple isn’t exactly a sphere, but even a young child will be able to pinpoint the slice with the largest circumference (i.e., the largest slice).

Finally, if you’ve got a kitchen scale, have your child help weigh a few individual slices before putting them in the oven to bake, recording their weights and noting their placement on the baking sheet. After your chips have cooled, locate and weigh those now crispy, shriveled slices once again. What is the difference in weight between the fresh, moist slices and the dry ones?

There’s still one more math activity for baked apple chips: how long will it take before they all get eaten? In my house it’s about 5 hours, let me know how long they last in yours!


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About the Author

Kim Moldofsky

Kim Moldofsky is a mom of teen boys in the Chicago area. She blogs at and hosts a the popular monthly #STEMchat on Twitter where parents and educators share ideas and resources to raise STEM-loving kids.

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