It’s that time of year where social media is flooded with autumnal images and is it just me or is there an influx of pumpkin photos this year? So I started thinking about how we could use this seasonal vegetable in a way that was purposeful to our curriculum in Key Stage One. Then it hit me! Pumpkin maths!
There’s no better maths than that which is applied to real life! Now, confession, I haven’t delivered this to my own class yet. I will be doing it around the same time you’re probably reading this post, but I wanted to get it out there in time so all of you could give it a go whilst it’s relevant. That way we can also experience the joys of this activity together! Check the bottom of the article to find out how!
So here are my ideas for Key Stage One Pumpkin Maths delivered through continuous provision!
Introduce the enhancement to your class and leave the untouched pumpkin out with some key questions and equipment. E.g. How tall is the pumpkin? How fat is the pumpkin? How much does the pumpkin weigh?
Equipment provided: multi-link (measuring with non-standard units), rulers, measuring tapes, weighing scales, paper and pencils for recording.
Make sure to give your children time to share their findings with the class and expose everyone to these real-life mathematical investigations. You may find that you leave this out for a few days to allow interest to build and to give time for those reluctant mathematicians to come forward!
Carve a lid into the pumpkin and leave for the children to discover! Today’s key questions will be about the contents of the pumpkin! E.g. How many scoops do you think it will take to empty the pumpkin? (Potential for addition and multiplication here! By recording and adding how many scoops each child did or having each child perform the same number of scoops to multiply by the number of children!) How much do the contents weigh? How much does the empty pumpkin weigh? How many seeds do you think are inside?
Equipment provided: tuff spot (save yourself earache from the cleaners!), spoons/scoops, a large bowl, weighing scales, a chalkboard (to tally the number of scoops on), paper and pencils.
Leave out the empty pumpkin and its contents (store in a sealed container over night). The children could continue their investigations from yesterday; you may find that the children have thought of a completely different way of applying their skills (mathematical or otherwise!) and you may want to pursue that! Alternatively today’s key question could be how many pumpkin seeds can you count?
Equipment provided: lots of small bowls/containers to collect the seeds, tuff spot, tweezers, spoons/scoops, weighing scales, a chalkboard, paper and pencils.
To conclude . .
There’s so many ways that you could interpret this activity! Additionally you could ask the children to create carving designs for the pumpkin and ask them to write a letter to persuade you to choose theirs. You could then carve the pumpkin and weigh/measure the discarded carved pieces. After having a candle lit inside (safely and under supervision), you could weigh the pumpkin again to find the difference. Bring some science into it and discuss how the pumpkin has changed/why. Apply some PSHE and talk about keeping safe around fire (very relevant for the fast approaching bonfire night). Not to mention the bags of potential for developing fine motor skills and hand strength through the scooping of the contents and picking out the seeds. Plus the abundance of vocabulary you can expose the children to throughout the experience.That’s part of the joy of continuous provision, there is always so much potential behind open ended activities such as these.
Are you going to give this activity a try? If so drop your photos and comments below the post on Facebook. Or use the hashtag #pumpkinmaths on Instagram to join in with the fun! I’ll make sure to document the fun and learning we have with this activity too! I can’t wait to see how you and your class use this activity!!