Grapes to Raisins:
An exercise in harnessing the power of the sun
‘I call in the power of the sun. I am light, I am warmth, I am radiance.
Light radiates from me. I honor the power of transformation.’
This experience invites children to explore the practical skills of food preservation while gaining an understanding of the power of the sun. Through scientific inquiry and observation children will engage in the process of turning grapes to raisins.
Large cloth or pillowcase
Observation journal or field notebook
Start by discussing what you already know about the sun’s power or observe the effects of the sun in your natural environment. Discussion ideas: the sun’s effect on skin, watch as the sun dries a puddle on the sidewalk, notice how the sun heats a metal slide on the playground
Introduce the idea of the sun in drying grapes in order the turn them into raisins by asking children to predict what will happen if they leave grapes in the sun. Talk about other times the sun had an impact on their food (recall a time you’ve made ice tea, a time where you’ve eaten ice cream outside on a hot day, ect)
Check the weather forecast. Ideally you will want 3-5 days of relatively consistent sun.
Wash the grapes and gently dry them.
Spread them on a baking tray (they should not be touching) and cover with a pillowcase or large cloth.
Place them in the sun where they will not be disturbed by animals and wait 3-7 days.
Invite your children to count the grapes as they place them on the try. You can introduce addition/subtraction, and fractions by using both purple and green grapes.
Invite your children to weigh the grapes using a food scale, weigh them again once they become raisins and observe the difference.
Invite your child to observe the grapes each day and record observations through writing and drawings in a field notebook.
Notice the texture and taste of the grapes vs. the raisins. Generate a list of adjectives that describes each. Note the similarities and differences.
Questions to ask
What do you know about the sun and its power?
What do you predict will happen to the grapes when we leave them in the sun?
Why might you think people would want to preserve fresh fruits such as grapes?
Why do you think the grapes were heavier than the raisins?
What do you notice about the taste/texture of the grapes and raisins? What are the similarities? What are the differences?
Take a moment to thank the earth for providing the grapes
Mindfully taste the grapes observing taste, texture, and smell
Thank the sun for its power in transforming the grapes
Sit in the sun (safely!) for a few minutes and observe the warmth on your skin