Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Special: Pumpkin Lesson Planning

Just for Halloween, I thought I would share two pumpkin activities that I have seen (but have not taught myself).

1. This is a lesson in observation and decomposition. And if you wanted, you could add some measurement and composition (as in, writing) related activities.

A. Buy (or grow) two medium pumpkins.
[If you want to, you can weigh them at various times throughout this activity. You could also turn this into a full blown lab report, or a full blown poetry initiative.]
B. Carve one. Leave the other whole.
C. Ask students to draw the pumpkins.
D. Place each pumpkin on its own aluminum pan, on a windowsill in the classroom.
E. Over the next 2-3 months, observe the pumpkins. Draw them, write poems about them, weigh them. . .

[Hint: If the uncut pumpkin does not start to rot, smell, etc. at some point you could discuss cutting the pumpkin.]

2. Dissection: Use the pumpkin to teach key science terms and lab steps. (Hypothesis, method, etc.)

1. Each group gets a pumpkin and a knife. (You may need to cut the pumpkins in half yourself, especially if either knives or strength are an issue.)
2. Predict what will be inside--the number of pumpkin seeds, the weight of the pumpkin...
2. Groups should separate, measure and weigh the components of the pumpkin. Yes, count the seeds! Measure the thickness of the outer wall.
3. Do a class graph.

Use your imagination to expand on the bare bones descriptions of these activities. 
Have fun!
Happy Halloween!

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