K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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  • How do pumpkins grow?: Book project: This is an integrated science and language arts lesson plan. Students will create individual books that illustrate how pumpkins grow.
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  • An integrated lesson comparing the butterfly and frog life cycles: Students will build on their prior knowledge about the butterfly life cycle to compare and contrast the life cycles of butterflies and frogs. Students will locate butterflies on the school grounds and create pictographs and models of fractions to explain their findings mathematically. Students will also use a variety of resources to read about and study the food, space and air needed by butterflies and frogs to grow. They will create visual and written products to demonstrate their findings.

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • observe the characteristics of the outside of a pumpkin.
  • learn the life cycle of a pumpkin.
  • measure a pumpkin using nonstandard measurements. They will then graph their results as a class.
  • observe the inside of the pumpkin with their five senses.
  • taste and describe pumpkin seeds.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

4.5 hours

Materials/resources

  • pumpkins of various sizes and shades
  • double pan balance scales
  • buttons
  • teddy bear counters
  • string
  • Unifix Cubes
  • chart paper
  • markers
  • paper
  • pencil
  • pumpkin carving kit with pumpkin saw
  • vegetable oil
  • electric skillet

Pre-activities

Students will:

  • make a KWL chart about pumpkins.
  • learn how to use a double pan balance scale and counters.
  • learn how to measure using string and Unifix Cubes.

Activities

  1. The students will observe the characteristics of the outside of a pumpkin. They will list the observable characteristics as a class on a circle map. They will then write in their own words a description of a pumpkin and draw a picture.
  2. They will share a book on how a pumpkin grows. They will then sequence the events from planting the seed to harvesting. They will then make a mini-book about pumpkins. (See examples one and two.)
  3. The students will predict which small pumpkin weighs the most. They will then measure the small pumpkins using a double pan balance scale and teddy bear counters. After they measure the pumpkins, the class will graph the number of bears each pumpkin weighs.
  4. The students will predict if the heaviest pumpkin is also the largest around. The teacher will record the students’ thoughts. They will then measure the pumpkin using string. They will mark the string with a marker. Next they will measure the string by joining together Unifix Cubes. The class will graph the results and discuss the findings.
  5. The students will predict what the inside of the pumpkin is like. Then the students will explore the inside of the pumpkin. The teacher will open the top of the pumpkin using a pumpkin saw. S/he will then scoop out some of the pumpkin seeds and then put the seeds in the bucket of water. The students will then take turns scooping out the pumpkin seeds and placing them in the bucket. After all the seeds have been removed from the pumpkin, students will wash and strain the seeds. The seeds will then be set aside to dry. The class will then describe how the inside of the pumpkin felt, smelled, sounded, and looked.
  6. The students will observe as the teacher roasts the pumpkin seeds. Place a light coating of oil in the electric skillet. Cook the seeds at three hundred degrees until they are golden brown. Let cool and lightly salt. Allow the students to taste the pumpkin seeds. Let them describe how the seeds tasted. Finally, have the students color a picture of how the seed looked before and after it was roasted.

Assessment

  • Teacher observation
  • Oral responses during class discussion
  • Sequencing activity
  • Picture of seed before and after roasting

Supplemental information

I recommend the Newbridge Big Book Growing Pumpkins by Melvin Berger.

Attachments:

Comments

I recommend visiting a pumpkin farm as a culminating activity to this unit.

I also recommend using the pumpkin for a classroom Jack-O-Lantern.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • Mathematics (2010)
      • Kindergarten

        • Measurement & Data
          • K.MD.1Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight. Describe several measurable attributes of a single object.

    • North Carolina Essential Standards
      • Science (2010)
        • K.L.1 Compare characteristics of animals that make them alike and different from other animals and nonliving things. K.L.1.1 Compare different types of the same animal (i.e. different types of dogs, different types of cats, etc.) to determine individual differences...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Mathematics (2004)

Kindergarten

  • Goal 2: Measurement - The learner will explore concepts of measurement.
    • Objective 2.01: Compare attributes of two objects using appropriate vocabulary (color, weight, height, width, length, texture).

Science (2005)

Kindergarten

  • Goal 4: The learner will use appropriate tools and measurements to increase their ability to describe their world.
    • Objective 4.03: Use nonstandard units of measure to describe and compare objects.