Last year, we opened up a pumpkin, poured in some soil and and watched the seeds inside sprout. However once it started smelling, molding, and rotting into mush, I placed it outside my back door where no one goes. The soil is hard as a rock and nothing seems to grow there, well until this year. We had 9 baby pumpkins growing in our mini pumpkin patch. Little did I know the custodian had been coming all summer to water them. He takes good care of my plants. I never water the planters by my front door either.
The first grade teachers have been bringing their students to my pumpkin patch to talk about the parts of the plant. It is fun to hear them them get so excited, especially when they say, "I was in this classroom let year! "
On Wednesday, we will be opening up the pumpkins, we will be using this pumpkin math page. it is FREE in my TpT store.
They will work in pairs or triads, depending on how many pumpkins arrive. This year I asked for 7, but parents usually bring more than we ask for. One year we ended up with one for every child. That is a lot of pumpkins. Make sure to get parent volunteers. You will need a lot of strong hands to cut those tops open. Don't forget the knife. I have parents come during lunch time to do this part.
After they measure their pumpkins they can take the top off and explore the inside. I'll provide magnifying glasses for them to examine the seeds. After they have had a chance to remove as much of the seeds and pulp as possible and have had an opportunity to examine their pumpkins, they are given the task of separating the seeds from the pulp. I will take the seeds home to wash and bake. We will enjoy them on Friday.
Next up is decorating. Once we've had a chance to clean up a bit, I let the kids decorate the pumpkins using their crayons.
To help with the mess from all the gooey pumpkin slime I came up with a great solution this year. Just so you know I do not like carving pumpkins. I always did it with my kids because they LOVE it- they still do. Its a sensory thing for me. I don't even like to cut up fruit- I'd rather a watermelon rot then to cut it up. I can't stand that sticky slimy stuff on my hands. but, I'm a mom and that is what we do for our kids.
Ok, so back to my solution for easy, peasy clean up. Take the containers that the kids will be scooping the pumpkin pulp into and wrap them in plastic. I use dishpans from the Dollar Store and large trash bags. You probably can ask your school custodian for a few. Just cut them down the side and across the bottom. The large bags should cover a few dishpans. Use a piece of packing tape or duct tape to secure. Then, when you are ready for clean-up. Just undo the tape over the garbage can and dump the plastic and all. No more scrubbing out the containers. Let's face it who has time to scrub off dried pumpkin pulp and ruin a manicure- not this girl.
Here's a fun video book version of the Runaway Pumpkin to show your students at the end of it all.
Happy pumpkin week. Be glad Halloween is Saturday. You have Sunday to rest and an extra hour for the children to get some of the sugar out of their system.