Friday, November 14, 2014

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Everywhere!

Kristy Litwiller
Third Grade

On Thursday, October 30th, third grade had a lesson about pumpkins.  I presented a medley of information with a power point based on numerous pumpkin topics.  We discussed the origins of carving pumpkins, how they are carved, tools that are used, food from pumpkins, different varieties and decomposition.  Students were excited to share their connections and knowledge with their classmates, as well as expanding their awareness of pumpkins.
After the presentation, children went back to their classrooms and cultivated a deeper understanding of pumpkins while applying their new knowledge with hands-on activities.  They rotated through five pumpkins-centered stations with academic twists.  The first station was “Pepita vs. Pumpkin Seed; Which Do You Prefer?”  Children did a taste test to see which seed they thought tasted better.  When they made their choice, they added a post-it to the chart to see what the majority of children preferred.   Most preferred the Pepitas, which is a pumpkin seed with the white hull removed. 
The second station was observing different varieties of pumpkins up close.  Children were able to pick up and touch varieties such as Jarradales, Luminas, Cinderellas, Warty Knuckleheads and traditional pie pumpkins.  Children viewed the inside of a Lumina pumpkin which is lighter in color and observe the way seeds are organized on the inside. Students commented that the pumpkin smelled really good!  
For the following station, third graders weighed tiny Jack Be Little pumpkins against classroom objects such as staplers, books, markers, water bottles and other items to see if they can match the weight.  The children used their knowledge of grams to weigh small pumpkins against items in the classroom.  Many found that a book or a stapler weighed as much as their Jack Be Little pumpkin. 
After they weighed their pumpkins, the children wrote a short story or drew a picture illustrating their pumpkin as a character.  They were encouraged to use their story telling skills that we have been practicing with our new writing curriculum to tell a story about their pumpkin.  This station correlated with the final station, which was decorating their Jack Be Little pumpkin character to take home. 

The pumpkin activity was a success and our third graders went through the stations with great enthusiasm!  They can now say they are pumpkin experts! 

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