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October 18, 2018

Pumpkins Power Learning in Your Pre-K Classroom

By Deborah Stewart

How We Used My Big World to Teach Pumpkin Science

Grades PreK–K, 1–2

    Key Takeaways:

    • Pumpkins provide natural and rich opportunities to teach math, science, and language through hands-on play.
    • Planning a visit to a pumpkin patch is a great way to give kids hands-on experience with pumpkins and encourage them to ask interesting questions.
    • Extend your lesson by bringing a pumpkin to class, estimating and counting the number of seeds, growing the seeds in baggies, and making pumpkin muffins!

    My Pre-K kids love pumpkins!

    And so do I. Pumpkins provide natural and rich opportunities to promote learning in areas of the classroom such as math, science, and language.

    This month we used the October issue of My Big World to dive into the science of pumpkins. It’s a really fun issue, and I encourage you to check it out for yourself. You can grab a free digital version right here.

    We started our lesson by reading the magazine as a class.

    The children loved the questions.

    • “What happens if you drop a pumpkin in water?”
    • “Will it sink or float?

    Each colorful conversational box in the magazine provided simple but interesting ways to think about pumpkins.

    Then it was time to take a field trip to the pumpkin patch.

    Before we left, we asked some questions:

    • How could we measure and weigh a pumpkin?
    • What kind of pumpkins would we find—could we make a prediction?
    • Would they be heavy?
    • Could we carry them?
    • Would they still be growing?

    By the time the children headed off to the pumpkin patch, they were primed to look at all the details of a pumpkin. At the pumpkin patch, each child chose a pumpkin to take back to school. With this real-life experience, we carried out our pumpkin science investigation and made observations.

    Back at school, we took turns guessing how heavy each pumpkin was. We wondered: Does my pumpkin weigh more or less than a child? Then we brought out a scale to find the actual weight and answer our question.

    Then we cut our pumpkins open. I heard a lot of comments like, “This smells funny,” and “I can see the seeds!” We estimated how many seeds might be in a pumpkin. There were guesses from tens to hundreds. Then the children spent the rest of the morning pulling the guts out of the pumpkin and separating out the seeds. Let’s just say this was messy but so worth it.

    We set some of our seeds aside to plant in a baggie.

    Then we worked together to create some yummy pumpkin muffins!

    Exploring a pumpkin can lead to so many wonderful opportunities for conversation and learning—from counting, to weighing, to creating, to cooking! Our class spent the rest of the week watching the pumpkin shrivel up until it was finally time to say goodbye to our now stinky pumpkin.  

    Our My Big World pumpkin lesson was a blast. The kids had fun, and so did I. If you’d like to try the magazine for yourself, now is a great time. Half-year subscriptions are 40% off and come with instant digital access to all of the issues from this fall. To sign up, click here. I'm sure your class will love learning with My Big World just as much as mine does.

     

    Deborah Stewart has worked in early childhood education for over 30 years. She runs a preschool for children ages 3-5 in Indiana. She is also writes the blog teachpreschool.org

    Key Takeaways:

    • Pumpkins provide natural and rich opportunities to teach math, science, and language through hands-on play.
    • Planning a visit to a pumpkin patch is a great way to give kids hands-on experience with pumpkins and encourage them to ask interesting questions.
    • Extend your lesson by bringing a pumpkin to class, estimating and counting the number of seeds, growing the seeds in baggies, and making pumpkin muffins!

    My Pre-K kids love pumpkins!

    And so do I. Pumpkins provide natural and rich opportunities to promote learning in areas of the classroom such as math, science, and language.

    This month we used the October issue of My Big World to dive into the science of pumpkins. It’s a really fun issue, and I encourage you to check it out for yourself. You can grab a free digital version right here.

    We started our lesson by reading the magazine as a class.

    The children loved the questions.

    • “What happens if you drop a pumpkin in water?”
    • “Will it sink or float?

    Each colorful conversational box in the magazine provided simple but interesting ways to think about pumpkins.

    Then it was time to take a field trip to the pumpkin patch.

    Before we left, we asked some questions:

    • How could we measure and weigh a pumpkin?
    • What kind of pumpkins would we find—could we make a prediction?
    • Would they be heavy?
    • Could we carry them?
    • Would they still be growing?

    By the time the children headed off to the pumpkin patch, they were primed to look at all the details of a pumpkin. At the pumpkin patch, each child chose a pumpkin to take back to school. With this real-life experience, we carried out our pumpkin science investigation and made observations.

    Back at school, we took turns guessing how heavy each pumpkin was. We wondered: Does my pumpkin weigh more or less than a child? Then we brought out a scale to find the actual weight and answer our question.

    Then we cut our pumpkins open. I heard a lot of comments like, “This smells funny,” and “I can see the seeds!” We estimated how many seeds might be in a pumpkin. There were guesses from tens to hundreds. Then the children spent the rest of the morning pulling the guts out of the pumpkin and separating out the seeds. Let’s just say this was messy but so worth it.

    We set some of our seeds aside to plant in a baggie.

    Then we worked together to create some yummy pumpkin muffins!

    Exploring a pumpkin can lead to so many wonderful opportunities for conversation and learning—from counting, to weighing, to creating, to cooking! Our class spent the rest of the week watching the pumpkin shrivel up until it was finally time to say goodbye to our now stinky pumpkin.  

    Our My Big World pumpkin lesson was a blast. The kids had fun, and so did I. If you’d like to try the magazine for yourself, now is a great time. Half-year subscriptions are 40% off and come with instant digital access to all of the issues from this fall. To sign up, click here. I'm sure your class will love learning with My Big World just as much as mine does.

     

    Deborah Stewart has worked in early childhood education for over 30 years. She runs a preschool for children ages 3-5 in Indiana. She is also writes the blog teachpreschool.org

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