The following activities were planned to develop and promote creative thinking, language, math, and science skills.
The children were asked to describe the appearance of a pumpkin. The pumpkins were covered with a bit of mud. Children were given the opportunity to wash the pumpkins with brushes, soap and water.
We discussed the life cycle of a pumpkin and shared the following fun facts:
- Pumpkins are fruits.
- Pumpkins can vary in colour from white to yellow to orange.
- Most of the pumpkin harvest is in October.
- Pumpkins are used as in
- Early man sliced off pumpkin tops; removed seeds and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. This was baked in hot ashes and is the origin of pumpkin pie.
To give the children experience with the scientific method and knowledge we conducted a float or sink experiment with the pumpkins. The main goal for such scientific experiments is not just to expose them to the vocabulary and concepts but to ask questions, make hypotheses, test their hypotheses, and discuss their findings. A skill that will help them be future scientists.
I encouraged children to pick up the pumpkins. They were able to pick up the smaller ones by themselves, however, picking up the bigger one was challenging for them. They tried sliding, rolling, and even picking it up together, 2 children at a time, to move the big pumpkin; from one place to another. To extend their vocabulary and language, we recorded weight predictions and arranged from lightest to heaviest. We then weighed the pumpkins using a household weigh scale. We compared our predictions to the correct weight using a simple chart.
Next we measured the height and circumference of the pumpkins. We used blocks and a tape measure. I demonstrated how to use a tape measure. A simple one on one demonstration on proper use of materials can expand a child’s ability to create and eliminates frustration and disappointment that results in abandoning the activity.
Yousuf wrapped the tape measure around himself and tried to measure his waist. This extended our activity to measure the heights of each child.
Taking the ‘guts’ out of the pumpkin allowed the children to see the seeds and the thickness of the flesh of the pumpkin. They even noticed the smell of the pumpkin. Most kids did not want to touch the insides of the pumpkin and described the insides as “yucky” which left me to do all the work.
The hollowed and carved pumpkins were placed outside on the porch for 2 weeks. We observed the changes to the pumpkins from when we first left them out. The pumpkins started to mold from the inside and outside, and began to lose their shape.
This study establishes grounds for more activities and learning explorations to help children learn about geography, earth science, and so much more. There are scientific discoveries such as learning about the cause of seasons and how animals in the wild use autumn to prepare for winter.