Pumpkin Seeds

In preparation for the Fall Festival, the children each purchased a pumpkin.  The students were eager to decorate them with paints and the geometric shapes they have been learning about over the last few weeks.  The designed faces and other patterned designs using these shapes, and when they were done they were quite pleased with their creations.  The children discussed amongst each other the different shapes they had used.  The teacher noticed their excitement and saw the opportunity to read the students a book entitled How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?  The students made predictions about the story, used information from the text to determine which characters were which in the illustrations, information about pumpkins, and skip counting.The students did not realize that a pumpkin is a fruit.  We discussed last year that a fruit has seeds, but they never realized that a pumpkin contains seeds.  They also learned that the more lines a pumpkin has, the older it is and the more seed it will have.  One of the students related it to a tree.  The students ran over to their pumpkins to decide who would have the most seeds. They each took turns counting the lines on the pumpkin.  “I have twenty,” Isela shouted.  Nohea counted the lines on her pumpkin but realized even though her pumpkin was bigger it had fewer lines.  Alex counted her line and was excited to have twenty-three.  Tirza informed Alex that she had more lines than all of them.  Sean wasn’t sure he wanted to counted his.  As he began to count, the girls decided to help him.  After the girls counted with him, he counted his line again alone.  :)

They needed to see if their predictions were right.  Does Alex have the most seeds?

With the help of Coach Chip and Ms. Meredith, the students cut into their pumpkins and removed all the seeds and pulp.“Look at all of my seeds,” Mark and Jennifer discussed amongst themselves.  The students washed their bags of seeds and laid them out to dry.  The following day, they would determine if the number of lines really determine the amount of sees. In the story, the characters decided that they would count their seeds by 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s.  Some of the students began to separate the seeds into groups of 2’s so that they could count them.  Other like Isela felt like their was nothing wrong with the old fashion way and counted her seeds by 1’s.  “I’m going to need more room,” she informed the teacher.  So while other worked at the table, Isela moved to the floor.  “I have 163,” Isela told everyone. Nohea, however, chose to work on her 2’s.  As she was counting, she noticed that there was a pattern.  “All of these numbers end in 2, 4, 6, 8.  I can just keep going,” she said as she continue until she was well into the 100’s. Other chose to put their seeds in groups of 10’s.  “Its faster this way,” one of the child advised the others.

It is important that children practice math skills in a variety of ways.  This enhances their understanding of the concept and validates math through real world experiences.  This pumpkin activity allowed the students to not only memorize and recite skip counting, but by providing a manipulative it allowed the children to understand when and how to use this concept.  It also provide another lesson as the children noticed a string coming from the seed.Can we grow a pumpkin?  Is that what this is?  Why is growing without dirt?  These are all questions that we intend to find the answers to.

This activity focuses on the following learning goals:

Mathematical process standards. The student uses mathematical processes to acquire and demonstrate mathematical understanding. The student is expected to:

(A)  apply mathematics to problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace;

(B)  use a problem-solving model that incorporates analyzing given information, formulating a plan or strategy, determining a solution, justifying the solution, and evaluating the problem-solving process and the reasonableness of the solution;

(C)  select tools, including real objects, manipulatives, paper and pencil, and technology as appropriate, and techniques, including mental math, estimation, and number sense as appropriate, to solve problems;

(6)  Patterns, relationships, and algebraic thinking. The student uses patterns to make predictions. The student is expected to:

(A)  use patterns to predict what comes next, including cause-and-effect relationships; and

(B)  count by ones to 100.

(5)  Patterns, relationships, and algebraic thinking. The student recognizes patterns in numbers and operations. The student is expected to:

(A)  use patterns to skip count by twos, fives, and tens;

(B)  find patterns in numbers, including odd and even;

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