This week and next, our K/1 classrooms are exploring plants in a multitude of ways. We are kicking off this unit with one of our very favorite plants of the season: the fabulous pumpkin!

Inspired by literature and the very fact that math is all around us, we are excited to be estimating, measuring and counting using this seasonal squash. Working in groups, we start with estimating three different pumpkins’ weight, their circumference, the number of ribs and the number of seeds. We then measure and count–using scales, measuring tapes and counting the ribs on various pumpkins. Through comparing our estimates to the actuals, we learn that all mathematicians must revise their thinking…and that taking risks is a welcome part of learning. (We also develop more realistic number sense!)

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Then the counting magic begins… A grown-up safely demonstrates how to cut open each pumpkin, and we dig in and separate the seeds from the pulp. Based on the number of seeds, we figure out if it would be most efficient to count by ones, twos, fives or tens. Whew! That’s a lot of math from a few little pumpkins.

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