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    pumpkin math
    By maryellen

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    There is lots of math/science to do with pumpkins too, if you wnat to avoid the candy issue. You can have the children work in three or four groups, each group with a pumpkin, or use only one pumpkin and have the whole class work together om it. Have them cut yarn to estimate the pumpkin circumference (a pumpkin "belt") and test it, sorting onto a sticky tape banner that says "too long" "too short" "just right". Estimate which of 3 or 4 will be heavier, weigh on a scale and compare, or if you only have 1 pumpkin, how many apples or whatever will weigh the same. Estimate then count the lines on the pumpkin's skin, (are there more lines on a bigger pumpkin?) does it float or sink (interesting answers as to "why"). the number of seeds, are the seeds facing pointy end up or down? Taste the raw pumpkin and then cook it with a sprinkle of water and brown sugar. Or take a vote on what kind of face they want on their pumpkin and then let them each design a face, transfer the winning face design to the pumpkin and carve it. Re-weigh the pumpkin after carving. You could limit the face design to squares, triangles, rectangles, circles if you're doing geometry. Test float and sink again after carving. Why the change? Compare the # of seeds to the weight of each pumpkin. Toast and taste the seeds, saving a few untoasted for each to take home to plant next spring. Have some kind of contest to see who wins the pumpkin to take home, or donate them to a hospital or nursing home. What happens to a candle lit inside before the pumpkin face is carved, then after. Why? Hope these ideas are some help. Don't use them all, pick the ones that fit your classroom, number of helpers, and curriculum. Your principal will be pleased if you involve parent volunteers or some from a leadership class at your junior or senior high to help with the small groups. Have fun....your principal probably picked this day to have some fun him/herself!!

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