Tag Archives: math

Fall and Halloween projects for the Classroom (Plant Life Cycles and Pumpkin Math)

Here is a cute yet educational project that is perfect for the season and teaches students about the plant life cycle. It starts with the seed, then the leaf, the flower…until you have an unripe pumpkin and a ripe pumpkin. You can write the numbers of the steps to help students put the life cycle steps in order. The shapes store inside the orange plastic plates that are tied together with green yarn in three places. Just leave the label “Pumpkin Life Cycle” handle hanging out ready to pull.

Here’s the back…..

 

Students can practice reciting the life cycle steps while the shapes are inside the plate holder and “reveal” the answer by pulling out the next step.

 

Another thing I like to do in the fall is to buy pumpkins and let students count how many seeds are in each. If you wait until the day after Halloween, you can really get these cheaply (sometimes free!).

 

Before you begin, estimate the weight height and width of each pumpkin and how many seeds they think will be inside. See who is closest.  Give students some comparable weights of things to help them estimate (toaster? Dictionary? Bowling Ball?)

 

Its fun to estimate which pumpkin IS the biggest, heaviest or has the highest number of seeds inside. They are often surprised to find that asymmetrical pumpkins are deceiving and that the largest pumpkins don’t necessarily contain the largest or largest NUMBER of seeds inside. Sometimes the largest pumpkin is not the DENSEST.

Think about what tools would be needed to compare your pumpkins. Will a ruler do, or would a tape measure help? What units should we use to measure and weigh our pumpkins? A really good lesson is to measure and weigh the pumpkins in two units (e.g. inches vs. meters.)

 

After cleaning their pumpkins you can create a chart that includes the number of seeds that are found in each child’s pumpkin. You can see what the average number of seeds is.

 

There is no end to what you can discover from a project like this. Perhaps you could weigh the pumpkin before and after. Estimate how far the pumpkin seeds would go if laid end to end….

 

I recommend buying pumpkin-carving knives for children when you see them on sale during the fall season.  Many children are not allowed to help in the kitchen (even if there IS someone at home who knows how to cook) They so enjoy being able to carve their own pumpkin.

 

I believe in many Montessori principles at home and in the classroom.  Giving children the skills and tools to discover is very empowering.  As soon as my own children could stand on a kitchen chair they were helping in the kitchen with their pumpkin-carving knives. As a result, they had excellent hand-eye coordination and small motor skills in the early primary years.

 

Don’t forget to roast the pumpkin seeds for a nutritious snack!

 

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds

2 teaspoons butter, melted

1 pinch salt

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).

Toss seeds in a bowl with the melted butter and salt. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown; stir occasionally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under cheap, classroom, Frugality, Lesson Plans, projects, teacher, teaching, tightwad

Free Teacher Resources and Lesson Plans from Agriculture in the Classroom

Agriculture in the Classroom is a program started by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help students understand where their food comes from.  This is an issue near and dear to my heart. Few Americans truly understand how important and fragile our food system is.  We take it for granted.

 

But it’s not only about that—it’s MUCH more. It’s about integrating math, science, language Arts and social studies in a beautiful way.

 

You can find tons and tons of good quality k-12 lesson plans here.

 

Plus, your state agricultural extension service office has even more resources that can be purchased or rented. 

 

I was lucky to attend an all-day training session last summer that was really terrific. Many hands-on activities in all disciplines were offered.  Your state may also run these trainings for teachers.

 

I think these teacher resources are high-quality!  Let me give you one as an example that I’d like to use. 

 

It’s called “More Than One Grain of Rice: Integrating Mathematics, Geography, and (Agri)Culture” and can be used in grades 4-6.You can get the lesson plan here.

 

Among other things, students identify the major producers of grain and calculate the “Doubling of One Grain of Rice.”  What a great way to teach exponential numbers and geography! Add a little fried rice and you’ve got yourself a really cool lesson!

 

 

 

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Educational Video on the Cheap

Let’s face it. Not all our schools have a budget that allows for high-dollar membership in great online teaching resources like United streaming.  What are the rest of us to do?

Well, your school may look at an extremely stripped down version such as learn360 It doesn’t have the lesson plans or full-length videos, but at least it has good short videos that can enhance your teaching and give a visual aspect that kids need to understand concepts they learn on paper.

I’ve been able to supplement with the totally free teachertube.  On the anniversary of September 11th, I found two very moving slideshows that helped kids understand what happened without being so gruesome or scary as to traumatize younger students.

I’ll include links to those teacher-made slideshows soon. Keep tuning in.

Next, The History Channel has wonderful programming for students early in the morning say from 6-8 am EST.  For instance, you cans see all of the excellent episodes of Liberty’s Kids there as well as superior documentaries on most state social studies and history standards.

You can go here to check the History channel schedule:

http://www.history.com/schedule.do

I don’t know the legalities of taping these days so I won’t suggest anything along those lines…

Also at the History channel are short videos you can watch, for instance about Amelia Earhart.  Use these short four or five minute videos as a jump start to your lesson.

I cannot say enough about the math videos at thefutureschannel.  Kids need to see that the daily math they do has real world applications that are interesting. There are resources to go with the videos.

PBS teachers will keep you up to date about what is coming up on programming via email.  This is also a good source of good video and lesson plans and resources for classrooms.

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Filed under educational video, history channel, math video, pbs, teacher resources