October 16, 2014

Pumpkin Predictions Measurement Fun!

I was looking through some classroom photos the other day, and I happened to see several snapshots of my former students measuring pumpkins. Wow! The memories came flooding back and I remembered how much fun we used to have in October. I also realized how much I miss those kids!

Pumpkin Predictions is a perfect fall-themed activity for upper elementary students because it's not a Halloween activity, but it seems like one. The lesson is actually a great math review since it involves estimation and hands-on measurement. The activity is designed as cooperative learning lesson that requires students to work together to complete the team task. 

What You'll Need
To do this activity, you'll need a variety of pumpkins in different sizes, preferably one pumpkin per team of four or five students. If you have fewer pumpkins, you can set the activity up in a math center, demonstrate what to do, and rotate groups through that center. You'll also need a measuring tape and a ruler for each group. Decide whether to use the metric system or the customary system when taking measurements.

Before you begin, you'll need to have each team create a chart like the one shown below for recording data. You'll need one chart for each pumpkin that the team will measure, so if you plan to repeat the activity, you'll need additional copies. To save time, you can purchase the October Activities Mini Pack and print out the chart from there. (The one in the packet is just the black and white chart below. I just jazzed it up with a bit of clip art for the blog!)

Pumpkin Predictions Procedure: 
  1. Have students number off around the team, and Person #1 becomes the first recorder. 
  2. Each team member estimates the height of the pumpkin and Person #1 records each estimate.
  3. Person #1 measures the height of the pumpkin to the top of the stem and records it in the column for the actual measurement. All team members assist as needed and check the measurement.
  4. Repeat the same steps with the remaining dimensions, allowing each person on the team to take a turn being the recorder and measurer for one dimension. 
  5. If you have time and enough pumpkins, allow teams to trade pumpkins and repeat the activity.
  6. If teams trade pumpkins, have them compare their measurements when they finish.
October Activities Mini Pack
You'll find this activity along with more seasonal lessons for upper elementary students in my October Activities Mini Pack. The pack includes a letter to send home to parents requesting pumpkins, a writing activity, a Spooktacular Story Board, and more! You can preview all the directions and printables when you view this item in my TpT store.

I hope your students enjoy this activity as much as mine did! Be sure to take pictures during the activity and store them in a safe place. Time flies, and one day you'll be looking through your old photos remembering how much fun your students had with this activity, and how thinking about how much they learned without realizing they were learning!  

1 comment:

  1. I love that this activity gives them a few chances to predict and practice measuring. It would be perfect for the week of Halloween or Thanksgiving when kids need more engagement yet isn't really a holiday activity. Thanks!

    The Math Maniac


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