Pumpkin Circuit Learning Centers

Set up pumpkin activities in a circuit. Cooperative groups rotate from station to station.  This activity may be planned during a unit on pumpkins. I usually plan it toward the end of my unit on pumpkins in late October.

Materials:

  • A student record sheet on which information from each task is recorded
  • 5 large sheets of paper-I use bulletin board paper cut to about 4′ lengths. Each of these sheets have a “task”:
    • Draw a large simple pumpkin with 3 vines twisting about. The task is for each student to estimate the length of each vine in centimeters, record, then using tape measures, find the actual length of each vine. Record.
    • Draw a Venn diagram (I draw one “circle” to look like a pumpkin and the other to look like an apple.) The task is for the students to compare and contrast apples and pumpkins based on their knowledge from the apple unit in September and the pumpkin unit. They record one comparison and one contrast fact on their record sheet.
    • The students predict whether a pumpkin will sink or float. A large bucket of water (and towels) is provided. The students record their predictions, experiment, record results. I like to provide varying sizes of pumpkins for exploration. Sometimes I set out carrots or other veggies that sink… At this station I also set out a scale for estimation/actual measuring of weight in pounds.
    • Students estimate, record, then measure for the circumference of several pumpkins using inches. They also decide if the numbers are odd or even, and they order the pumpkins in various ways.
    • The students brainstorm all the ways they can of a pumpkin’s use… food, decoration, literature…( I have gotten interesting ideas-the usual…but also, Cinderella’s carriage, Peter,Peter Pumpkin Eater’s wife’s home…

Lesson Plan:

I enlist parental help at most task stations… this enables me to “float” from station to station.

The class is divided into 5 groups. Student record sheets are distributed. An explanation is given for each station. (The instructions for each are on the paper for each station as well).

Each group is put at a station and we begin. I allow approximately 10 minutes per station. Then each group rotates to the next station.

Each group must work cooperatively… although it is fine for them to have different estimations, they should all find the same actual measurement numbers…

At the conclusion of this circuit, we discuss results and I post the posters. We thank the parent volunteers.

This has proven to be a FAVORITE of my students. It is a fun way to incorporate math, science, and literature concepts early in the fall.

Comments:

I use several “circuit” activities through the year… apples, bugs, simple machines, magnets, Mini-Metric Olympics to name. Some of these activities have been varied from AIMS, or GEMS, or other ideas. The pumpkin circuit is all mine!

Once the class is familiar with the circuit idea, a teacher can use the concept for any number of objectives. It is a very good way to “assess” of sorts as it can use a variety of manipulatives, materials, and concepts.

By: Lisa Slaughter, 2nd Grade Teacher


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