Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pumpkin Math

This year our school goals are heavy on the math - which is a little challenging for someone in my position. BUT I am finding lots to do with math, even if it is a subject that STILL makes me have nightmares!

This week I am reading the book How Many Seeds in A Pumpkin by Margaret Mcnamara and illustrated by Brian Karas.

The book is a about a class whose teacher gives them a lesson on how many seeds are in a pumpkin. They have three pumpkins of different sizes, they cut open the pumpkins and count out the seeds , they find that the pumpkin they THOUGHT would have the most seeds does not.

This is one of those books that, while might not end up someones favorite of all time, teachers love because we can do so much with it.
Since I only have a class for about 40 minutes, I decided NOT to carve a pumpkin during class, but instead I took a video of me carving two different sized pumpkins at my house. I pulled out the seeds, dried them out and put them in two paper bags - one marked LARGE and one marked MEDIUM.

After the kids watch the video I split them into two groups, one counts the seeds in the large pumpkin and one counts the seeds in the medium pumpkin. Just like in the book, one group counts by 5's and one group counts by 10's. As luck would have it (and NO I did not plan this) the medium pumpkin does indeed have more seeds than the large pumpkin - and the kids LOVE that.

Some of the teachers have taken this lesson back to the classroom and had the kids do a writing exercise on WHY they thought the results came out the way they did.
Plus, this lesson gets me in a Halloween kinda mood!

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