Pumpkin Class

Pumpkin Class

Yesterday, my mom and I went into my friend Shanna’s 3rd grade classroom teach her students about pumpkins.  I absolutely love visiting her and spending time with her and her students. It continues to make me miss teaching every time I visit, but I honestly have been so happy with my decision to take some time away from it.

To start our pumpkin lesson, we showed the students a short movie based on the book the Pumpkin Circle. It describes the life cycle of a pumpkin from seed, to plant, to pumpkin, to jack-o’-lantern and back again.  It’s narrated by Danny Glover and the kids love it.

We then read them the book, How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamera.  This story tells the tale of Charlie and his classmates who are given the task of estimating and counting the seeds that are in their pumpkin.  Charlie discovers that, “Small things have a lot going on inside of them.” It’s a great introduction to our lesson and a really sweet book. DSC_0142
We had pumpkins set out on each table with a spoon (for those that don’t want goopy hands), and chalk for super smart math counting. DSC_0101

We had each group estimate how many pumpkin seeds they thought were inside their pumpkin and had them write their guess in front of them.  We also had them count the lines on the pumpkin to see if/how that would affect the number.

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Then came the messy part.  Once we talked about their estimations as a class, they  got the chance to dig in to their pumpkins and count the seeds.  It was interesting to watch the students work together in groups.  Some students loved having their hands filled with pumpkin goo while others chose to use the spoon and avoided touching the seeds at all costs.

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This was my favorite face of the day:DSC_0119

He clearly loved this part of the class.

We talked about different ways to make counting easier: by 2s, 5s, 10s, etc.  The students used chalk to separate their pumpkin seeds into groups and to stay organized.  It was fascinating to watch the different groups tackle the same task.  Some were organized and got started right away, while others spent most of their energy figuring out how to get the seeds out without getting their hands dirty.

Once they got into the rhythm of things, they did a great job.  It’s hard work counting seeds but the students were determined to account for every seed they pulled out, even the ones stuck to the lid. DSC_0126 DSC_0124 DSC_0123

After our hands were sufficiently covered in seeds, orange goo, and chalk, we shared each group’s pumpkin seed totals.  We discovered that we had a range of 230-445 seeds.  Some groups weren’t finished yet so I’m not sure how accurate their totals were.

+Fun Fact About Pumpkins: Most pumpkins have an average of 350 seeds, despite their size, which fits nicely with what we discovered in class.

Their treat for all of their hard work and for their brains, was a mini pumpkin pie with whipped cream that my mom made for each student. They clearly hated it: DSC_0133

Here are some pumpkin book recommendations in case you would like to share them with your littles (or bigs):
+How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara
+Pumpkin Circle by George Levenson
+Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White
+Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin Pie by Jill EsbaumDSC_0139

Happy Pumpkining!

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