Plan for Pumpkins - It's Not Too Late!

In Florida we do a lot pretending around this time of year. We're having a "cool" weekend in the mid 80's and I guarantee I will see at least three people wearing a scarf or Uggs when I head out to run some errands. I'll play along as I sip my pumpkin spice latte and scrunch up my shoulders against the "cold" and nod to them in fake-fall solidarity.

I don't let the fake fall and real sweat stop me from going all pumpkin-palooza in my classroom. We had a half day on Thursday, so it was the perfect time to get our pumpkin on! 

I always start by doing a RAN chart on pumpkins, then reading How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin. I love that it's set in a classroom and shows the kids arranging the seeds in different groups to skip count. Eventually the kids make a great discovery about the groups they choose to count. I'll stop here. I don't want to ruin it for you. Ha! I'll link to the book at the end of the post.

RAN stands for Reading and Analyzing Nonfiction. Unlike a KWL, those letters don't stand for the areas on the chart. I have this one in my pumpkin unit which I'll link to at the end. I like the detailed nature of the chart and how it gets the kids to think more about their prior knowledge and then reflect on it during different parts of the activity. I'll have to do a whole blog post on the RAN chart soon.

One thing I'm really working hard on lately is condensing and combining things to take up the least amount of paper possible. I used to use a version of this activity and each separate station was its own piece of paper. Each kid had a packet that was about 8 pages long! Insanity in these days of crazy low copy limits. So I made a trifold brochure for my kids to use that has 6 panels, one for each rotation. It's a lot less copies and they seem to like the novelty of the brochure effect. Hey, whatever works!

My partner and I each set up three experiments and a research station in our adjoining rooms. We had one pumpkin at each station.  The kids went from station to station as they were ready, read each direction card, made their prediction, completed the experiment or activity and rotated through the two rooms.

I've done this many different ways over the years. When I didn't have an adjoining room with a great partner, I enlisted parent volunteers to help man the stations. I've also done it with just one pumpkin with me leading the experiments in more of a demonstration style with some children assisting me while others watched and we all recorded the results. If your school prohibits Halloween parties, this would make a fun alternative for the kids. Luckily, we can have a fall festival, but it still needs to be heavy on the academics and light on the party/food/crazy sugared up children side. I'm actually ok with that!

This would also make a great day after Halloween activity, especially considering that would be a Friday this year. Half price pumpkins, here we come!

As always, I really tried my best to make this unit easy to understand and implement. Along with everything you actually need for the kids, I included teacher tips for each station, a list of resources and books, and a possible timeline. I like things that I can just print and use, without a lot of brainpower required to get it up and running in my room, so that's why I strive to do the research, formatting, and a little planning for you in everything I make. Be sure to see the links below for the book, unit and some other freebies that you might like this week!


  1. I love how this isn't holiday based. I have a Jehovah's Witness in my class this year, and these next couple of months are going to be brutal because most everything out there has some reference to the holidays! This is my first year with a JW, so I'm trying to figure out what will work and what won't.

    Learning in Room 203.

  2. Thank you so much for these lovely freebies!! I'm saving them right now for my future classroom :)

  3. I love using the book How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin! The kids love learning about how to counting the seeds!
    Thanks for sharing!Rambling About Reading

  4. These are fabulous activities! The kids look like they are having such a great time - I sort of wish we were in school this week so I could do all this. :) Next year - I'm bookmarking this page to make sure!! :)


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