What do pumpkins have to do with the PYP theme, Where We Are in Time and Place? In Grade 2, they are making the connection!
Learners are celebrating the fact that they are living in Poland at this time in their lives, and that their host country is awash in the beautiful colors of fall, and yielding a bountiful harvest of crops, like pumpkins!
Through the three-day Pumpkin Investigation Unit, Grade 2 had the perfect springboard for learning and applying skills in descriptive writing, counting beyond 100, planning, collaborating, and problem-solving. On the first day, students in mixed groups looked at the features of many different kinds of pumpkins and shared their observations with group mates. They came up with adjectives describing the outside of their pumpkins---their shape, size, color, texture, smell and sound. They were amazed at how different each pumpkin was from another!
On the second day, students observed the inside of the pumpkin. Most of them dug their hands with gusto into the interior of the pumpkins and scooped out fiber, mush, and seeds. Squeals of delight could be heard alongside words and sounds expressing dislike and discomfort, but there was no doubt as to every student practicing being risk-takers and being open-minded as they used their senses of sight, smell, touch, and taste.
Day 3 focused on finding ways to count items in large quantities (in this case, seeds), and representing numbers in different forms. First, students exchanged ideas on how to organize the pumpkin seeds so they could keep track of their counting. Soon enough, they filled their paper mats with piled seeds, which they boxed or circled, and labeled with numbers in multiples. Finally, they showed the total number of seeds in standard, word, expanded, place value, and picture forms.
The now-hollow pumpkins have just been composted, and their seeds cleaned and stored away to be planted in the spring!
By Sharon Ocaya Gamon, Grade 2 PYP Teacher