Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Everywhere!

Is there any better Kindergarten science than fall science?  I just love the science that is so observable for our little ones.  Here's a glance of some of the science, math, and literacy fun we've had with pumpkins these past few weeks:

We played pumpkin memory matching numbers with dots.

We counted pumpkin seeds into jack-o-lantern containers from Target's Dollar Spot.

We played Jack-o-Lantern, a game borrowed from the old classic Old Maid.  We made a match of capital and lowercase letters and crossed our fingers we weren't left with Jack-o-Lantern!

We learned about what scientists do by reading What Scientists Do by Deanna Jump.  You can find it free at her Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Then we asked questions, made hypotheses, and tested our hypotheses with our pumpkins we received from our pumpkin patch field trip. I'm very lucky to only have 13 (Can you believe it?? I pinch myself every morning!) students so we were able to rotate to independent stations to test our hypotheses.  With a bigger group you may have to do these as whole group activities, which I've done, and it's just about as fun.   If you would like my recording sheet you are more than welcome to it.  We then drew conclusions and recorded them on our organizers using guided writing.

We talked about making good estimations and estimated how many seeds were in our big class pumpkin.  Next we worked together to count them and practice counting by 10's.  We each counted out 10 seeds into a cup (or two or three) and then we could count our cups by 10's.  Later we tasted our roasted seeds.

We read Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell and put a pumpkin in a jar so that we can watch it decompose over the year. I love Pumpkin Jack! It's a very sweet story and is great for teaching the pumpkin lifecycle.  I tried this for the first time last year after "stealing" the idea from littlegiraffes.com.  My recommendation is to take pictures every month so the students can remember how the pumpkin has changed.  This year we put in a pumpkin that still had the seeds in it.  Do you think we'll get any sprouts?

We learned about voting by voting on the features for our Jack-o-Lantern. There is no peeking when you vote in the United States!   I am hoping my principal will let us put it in our school garden next week so we can watch it wrinkle like Tim's Jack-o-Lantern in Pumpkin Jack

We talked about that sometimes the final stage for a pumpkin is a jack-o-lantern, but more often it is food!  Next week we will conclude our pumpkin study in the best way I know how... by making pumpkin pie in a bag!  My recipe is from Illinois Ag in the Classroom.  Instead of the ginger and cinnamon, I use two teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.  Make sure you smell the spice before you add it!  We then graph which friends liked pumpkin pie and who don't especially care for it.

What are some of your favorite pumpkin activities?

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