Saturday, November 12, 2011

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?

Last week, our classroom finished up a 3 day science project on pumpkins to introduce plants to students. I found this 5 Es lesson in the Science and Children journal archives at Written by Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan, authors of Picture-Perfect Science Lessons, this hands-on lesson encorporates math and science into an engaging, real-life experience for students.

On the first day, students made predictions as to which pumpkins would have the most seeds (mini, small, medium, or large). I used cheap dot stickers (like the ones used at garage sales) to have students mark their predictions on a graph (Hello, math skills!). We then hung this graph up and discussed our results. After graphing, we read the first few pages of the picture book, How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? We then spent the rest of the day in groups scooping out seeds from our pumpkins. It was messy, but lots of fun!

After the seeds dried overnight, we read a few more pages of the story and students spent the next day deciding the most effective way to count their seeds. After counting by 2s, 5s, or 10s, students wrote their total number outside their pumpkins. We finished reading How Many Seeds and discussed the different variables that determine what makes a pumpkin have more seeds than others (I'll leave those as a surprise for when you read the story!).

Finally, I followed up the lesson by having students write down other questions they had on sentence strips. We then discussed how scientists categorize their questiosn into two categories: researchable and testable. Students shared their questions and categorized each one into their categories.

If you decided to complete this lesson, it makes for a really neat bulletin board display, however, I will warn you that the pumpkins will start to smell and mold after about 2-3 days.

Thanks for stopping by!