The Art & Science of Pumpkins
Kindergarten students are observing the life cycle of pumpkins in the Primary School Garden.
It’s harvest season, and Fay’s Kindergarten students are enjoying the fruits of their labor. Last spring, as Pre-K students, they planted pumpkin seeds in the raised beds of the Primary School garden. When they arrived back on campus this fall, they were delighted to find that the seeds and shoots that they carefully watered and tended in the spring had bloomed, producing bright, round, orange pumpkins.
In Kindergarten, art and and science are combined into a single cross-curricular program that provides multiple entry points to each unit and a rich and developmentally accessible educational experience. Growing pumpkins from seed to fruit is just the first step in the Kindergarten pumpkin unit. Students have begun scientific pumpkin investigations that involve sketching mini-pumpkins, estimating and measuring their size, counting the seeds and lines, predicting whether their pumpkins will sink or float, and then testing their hypotheses.
Since they grew the pumpkins themselves, students have experienced much of the life cycle first-hand and will expand on that knowledge by learning the scientific names for each part of the pumpkin and creating “open” and “closed” collages using construction paper, string, and felt seeds that identify each part of the fruit. Students will also have the opportunity to do some paintings and drawings of their pumpkins, learning how to draw the curvy lines of the pumpkin to give their drawing a three-dimensional appearance.
If time in the busy Kindergarten schedule allows, students may also have the opportunity to explore some of the gastronomic possibilities presented by their pumpkins by making pumpkin bread and roasting pumpkin seeds. Students will certainly use the pumpkin study as a launching pad to discuss the differences between how fruits and vegetables grow and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “My Plate” recommendations. The hope is that this aspect of the unit will inspire some healthy food choices and fruit and vegetable investigations at lunch time!