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Teaching with pumpkins
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Students in Tamara Arizpe’s kindergarten class at Gardners Elementary School put their math and science skills to the test during a lesson about pumpkins on Tuesday.

For the activities, Arizpe divided the children into groups of four. The students collaborated to name their pumpkins, guess the weight and measure the width of their pumpkins, guess the number of seeds inside their pumpkins and even taste tiny pieces of the fruit.

In order to guess the pumpkins’ weight, students took turns picking up the pumpkins. After each group agreed upon the estimated weight, Arizpe placed each pumpkin on the scale. She wrote the pumpkins’ names and weights on the board and had the students rank them from largest to smallest. “Mr. Scarey” weighed in at 9 pounds, not the 40 pounds guessed by his group, for example.

The students wrapped orange string around the pumpkins to determine which group had the widest pumpkin.

Students had to guess the number of seeds without looking inside their pumpkins. After writing down their estimate, the students used their hands to remove the inside of their pumpkins, separate the seeds and count them. Instead of counting, some of the students were more interested in taking the stringy pulp and squishing it in their hands.
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