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exploring pumpkins with kindergarteners
Exploring Pumpkins
12 Nov, 2017. 0 Comments. A Day In First Grade, Kindergarten, Kindergarten Holidays, Kindergarten Science, October, Reggio Inspired, STEM. Posted By: Kristen Smith

Hello everyone! I know that the season of exploring pumpkins is coming to a close this year, but we had too much fun for me to skip blogging about it. I hope that you will still enjoy the ideas and details of the fun we had and store the ideas away for next year!

The week before Halloween was our spirit week. This means that every day students come dressed in different outfits, or with “crazy hair” or costumes. As you can imagine, for a school where students typically wear uniforms, this throws off our daily rhythm a bit. In order to keep my students engaged, each day we completed different pumpkin explorations. These activities were such a hit with my young learners that I just have to share them with you!

Pumpkin Math 

For years I have used pumpkins to aide in the practice of many of our math concepts. However, this year I set these activities out a little bit differently. In the past, I would spent one day on “pumpkin math” and then moved quickly on. This year, I set up a new pumpkin math provocation each morning on our train table. Then, throughout our morning rotations, my students would complete the challenge of the day. I really like how this worked this year. I especially loved the conversations that surrounded the table as my young mathematicians explored the pumpkins in different ways.

Many STEM activities to use with young learners to help them explore pumpkins!
On the first day, my students measured how tall each pumpkin on the train table was. They used comparative language and practiced counting naturally. They also drew what they discovered.

Many STEM activities to use with young learners to help them explore pumpkins! Many STEM activities to use with young learners to help them explore pumpkins!

The next day, my students worked on determining the circumference of each pumpkin. Not only did this teach them a new math term, but it fostered great teamwork as students created “belts” to wrap around our pumpkins’ bellies.

Many STEM activities to use with young learners to help them explore pumpkins! Many STEM activities to use with young learners to help them explore pumpkins!

My students also measured themselves using mini pumpkins. Each year this is a huge hit with my young learners!

Many STEM activities to use with young learners to help them explore pumpkins!

After students discovered how tall they were in pumpkins, they added their data to our anchor chart.

Many STEM activities to use with young learners to help them explore pumpkins!

Pumpkin STEM activities

This year we went ALL OUT with pumpkin STEM activities. The first STEM activity combined math, force, and motion. As my students have been very interested in marbles and marble runs, I challenged them to create a ramp to knock down bowling pins that I had made. My students rolled mini pumpkins down their ramps in attempts to knock down the most pins.

In small groups, students took turns creating amazing ramp structures!
Kindergarten students created a ramp so that they could bowl with mini pumpkins.
Kindergarten students created a ramp so that they could bowl with mini pumpkins.

They got very creative!

Kindergarten students created a ramp so that they could bowl with mini pumpkins.

Kindergarten students created a ramp so that they could bowl with mini pumpkins.

It was really neat to see all the different structures that they created and to listen to the collaboration that took place.

Erupting Pumpkins

My students could not get enough of this center! We went through so much vinegar and baking soda that I had to go back to the store each day after school to stock up on more supplies because it was so popular! (One sweet parent brought me in Costco sized bags of baking soda and vinegar after the week was over to replace our supplies!)

To set this activity up, I placed a few pumpkins that I hollowed out (and our pumpkin that we hammered golf tee letters int0) along with baking soda, measuring cups, a turkey baster, science tools, and vinegar that I dyed orange.

Kindergarten science experiment: Erupting pumpkins in a sensory table

My students then went to town erupting the pumpkins!

Kindergarten science experiment: Erupting pumpkins in a sensory table

It was SUPER MESSY fun!

Kindergarten science experiment: Erupting pumpkins in a sensory table Kindergarten science experiment: Erupting pumpkins in a sensory table Kindergarten science experiment: Erupting pumpkins in a sensory table

Pumpkin Slime

Another HUGE hit was making pumpkin slime. I found the recipe for this here:

How to Make Pumpkin Slime with Real Pumpkin

My students could not get enough of this activity!

To make it, we gutted out a pumpkin and saved all of the seeds in a pumpkin bowl.
Kindergarten science experiment: how to make pumpkin slime!

I wanted to make four batches of slime so I divided the seeds into four buckets so each group could make their own batch.

First, we added a bottle of orange glitter glue.
Kindergarten science experiment: how to make pumpkin slime!

Then we added a bottle of clear glue.

Kindergarten science experiment: how to make pumpkin slime!

Next, we added water.

Kindergarten science experiment: how to make pumpkin slime!

Finally, we added liquid starch…

Kindergarten science experiment: how to make pumpkin slime!

…and gave the bowl a big stir.

Kindergarten science experiment: how to make pumpkin slime!

As we stirred all the ingredients together, it made PUMPKIN SLIME!

Kindergarten science experiment: how to make pumpkin slime! Kindergarten science experiment: how to make pumpkin slime! Kindergarten science experiment: how to make pumpkin slime!

I don’t know about your students but mine are SO into slime this year. This was a perfect activity for them!

Kindergarten science experiment: how to make pumpkin slime!

Kindergarten science experiment: how to make pumpkin slime!

Other pumpkin activities

As the week progressed, I had a few centers up and running for multiple days. My students really enjoyed hammering golf tees with letters on them to spell their sight words.

Kindergarten students practiced spelling their sight words by hammering golf tees with letters on them into a pumpkin!
Kindergarten students practiced spelling their sight words by hammering golf tees with letters on them into a pumpkin! Kindergarten students practiced spelling their sight words by hammering golf tees with letters on them into a pumpkin!

They also really enjoyed making jack-o-lanterns using play dough and loose parts.

Fun ideas to use when exploring pumpkins in your kindergarten or preschool classroom. Fun ideas to use when exploring pumpkins in your kindergarten or preschool classroom.

We had SO much fun with these activities! I hope that all is well with y’all!

 

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