The Great Gourd Exploration

It's been awhile since my last post- really, I'm not surprised as my life once the school year gets started is dominated by school work, planning, prepping, etc. With that said, I wanted to share what we did on this past Halloween.

Our school does not celebrate Halloween. The reality, most of my kids celebrate it, but a few don't. I knew they would be excited, so I wanted to do something special on this day. In science, we are studying life cycles of plants, with most of the emphasis on seeds and their properties. Really, this lesson worked perfectly for it! We gutted pumpkins, sorted the matter inside, and then went on observing the properties of the seeds and pulp. They loved it and it went so smooth!

Here is a glimpse into it all!
Sorting the pumpkin matter
The first step involved talking about what properties we were looking for, how we were going to show our CARES during their process (a RC acronym for cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self control), and all that other 'fun' management system. I drew 3 shapes on each table cloth for them to sort the pumpkin guts. It worked like a CHARM and made clean up super easy!

Some friends didn't like the feeling, so they used plastic baggies to scoop and sort.

Surprisingly, the pumpkins I picked up did not have much pulp at all! Each table though sorted their pumpkin contents like in the photo below. I imagined using a disposable table cloth and markers on my way home from work on Wednesday and was so glad I did. It was a breeze!

After we gutted our pumpkins, students were given this sheet to record their observations. We had white and orange pumpkins, so they noted which color they had. They were to write down strong description words using the senses we discussed (all but tasting) and then drew a picture in the larger box.

Many were surprised (including myself) that the white pumpkin had much fatter seeds than the orange pumpkin. Also, the pulp was a different color. We also noticed though, they the amount of seeds and pulp were pretty similar.

We used our observations to do a "H" chart (compare and contrast) on the SMARTboard.

Clean up was a breeze. I had one student from each group come place the pumpkins on our counter. I simply had them fold the table cloths carefully, raise their hand, then I came over, picked it up, and dumped it into the large barrel our lovely custodian brought me. My mom was up here to help (she was such a great help by carving the openings in the office while I was teaching and helping to monitor) so she took some pumpkins home to carve herself.

All in all, it was a great non-Halloween activity that fit perfectly into what we were studying!


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