Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin Project: Day 17

Friday afternoon we planted our pumpkin in the school's Winter Garden.  Oh, my did it stink!  We had 12 seeds germinate.  The longest vine is about 3".  We will keep making observations in our science journals once a week.  

Three other first grade classes did the same experiment and also have placed their pumpkins in the Winter Garden as well.  One class only has 4 vines, but they are about 8-10" long.  The other two classes did regular pumpkins instead of smaller baking pumpkins.  They have 12-15 seeds germinated each and the vines are about the same length as ours.

Tomorrow we are taking a field trip to a local farm.  The students will take a hay ride through the pumpkin patch, find their way through the corn maze and get vertical in the bouncy house (which has nothing to do with fall, pumpkins or farms, but they are on the farm none the less).  The kids are very excited and so am I!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin Project: Day 16

Look at that pumpkin!  We are loving all the seeds that germinated and how the vines are growing.  Several of the leaves are looking more like pumpkin leaves in the shape and size.

We've been using our senses to make scientific observations.  We can see how many seeds germinated and how long the vines are growing.  We can feel how the pumpkin is getting soft.  Of course we can't hear or taste in this experiment.  But, WOW, can we smell this pumpkin!

It's been outside for about a week.  Now the pumpkin is starting to rot and cave in on itself.  It is attracting flies and gnats.  Notice the super smelling oozing.  Gross and awesome.

Tomorrow we are moving our pumpkin from the bowl on the back porch (we are in a portable) to the winter garden box.  We'll continue our observation notes there.  It will be really good to compare the pumpkins from the other 3 classes that also did this experiment.

Although we aren't quite finished, I'm calling this a success.  I will definitely do the Pumpkin Project again next year.  As the projects frequent observations wind down at the end of the month we will have a discussion about the hypothesis and predictions.  We'll make some charts of the success and how we can improve this experiment next time.  More Pumpkin Project to come next week.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pumpkin Project: Day 9

We have germination!  Yesterday the pumpkin had two little sprouts started.  The class was very excited.  Today five more seeds germinated!

Yesterday and today students drew and wrote about the changes and what they saw about the project.  We are incorporating as much vocabulary as we can. 

We used one of the students exclamations for our sentence today.  Well, with some tweaking.  After seeing the pumpkin on the document camera he called out, "Five seeds have sprouted!".  We discussed the changes and decided to change sprouted to germinated.  Nice.

The journals are upside down because they have a dual purpose.  One side is the Math Journal.  They flip the journal to the back cover and use it as a Science Lab Notebook.  Students will use the notebook until they reach the middle.  Then they will get to start Volume 2.

Side note:  The pumpkin is starting to mold a bit around the inside edges.  I am glad I put the pumpkin in a bowl.  I also keep the pumpkin outside during the school day.  We have had the "Don't Touch the Pumpkin" talk, but I know it can be very tempting.  So far, I am still very happy with this project.

Download Pumpkin Project from TpT!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pumpkin Project 2012: Day 1

We started our Pumpkin Project today!  I pre-cut a hole in the pumpkin and shaved off the seeds and pulp sticking to the top.  The students and I added potting soil slowly and loosely.  I shook the pumpkin and tapped it to get the soil to settle to the bottom.*  Then we added a little water and placed the pumpkin in a big bowl.  We set it by the window for some sun.

Next we completed the Pumpkin Project Hypothesis page.  The students were cracking me up with their predictions.  How many seeds will germinate? 10, 71, 100, 1000, all of them.  How many days will it take to germinate a seed? 1 day, 75 days, 100 days.  I guess we need to do some estimation lessons.  I was proud that they all thought the seeds will germinate because we are giving it dirt (food), water and light.

They also drew a picture of what the pumpkin will look like at the end of the project and of the steps to preparing the pumpkin.

The students glued their hypothesis sheets into their Science Journals.  We did the project about 11:45.  For the rest of the day the students kept checking the pumpkin for sprouts.  They would walk away a little discouraged.  Imagine the excitement if it germinates soon!

*A colleague of mine put soil in the pumpkin and stuck her hand in to mix it with the pulp.  I thought that might be a good idea.  We will see which soil strategy works better.  It will be good data for next year.

Pumpkin Project: Printables Post

Saturday, September 29, 2012

FREE: Writing Folder Dictionary Printables

Now available: 2 new printables!
Are your students always asking you how to spell words?

Of course I teach students how to stretch and sound out words. That works great for most words, but students want to and need to spell words correctly, especially words that are important to them or that they use often. These sheets do not replace stretching and sounding out words, but they are reference tools to help students spell frequently used words correctly and to continues the flow of getting words on paper.  (Which, at times, can be harder than getting blood from a turnip.)  My classes would always ask how to spell words no matter how many “Sound It Out/Stretch It Out” mini-lessons. My students use both these sheets daily. We've placed them in their Writer’s Workshop Folders for easy access.

The Dolch word list has 312 words including all Dolch words from Pre-Primer to second grade level including additional frequently used nouns separated into columns and spread over two pages. I print the sheets back-to-back and place it in a 3-ring sheet protector. Then I stick it through the prongs in the student’s writing folder. After showing the students once how to use this dictionary sheet I rarely get asked to spell words. And when I do, another student is quick to chime in, “Why don’t you look it up in your dictionary? I can help you if you want.” (OK, they don't always offer to help, but the do *always* tell their classmates to look it up.)  Each week the students use a yellow crayon to highlight our weekly phonics spelling words and vocabulary sight words.  This really helps students spot familiar words.

The Personal Student Dictionary sheet has sections marked with each alphabet letter and space to write several words individual students use often during writing. Students add his or her own words to the “Words I Use” sheet in their personal writing folder. Students have added robot, roller coaster, Granddaddy, panda, funeral, Spiderman, sibling’s names and classmate’s names. I print the sheets back-to-back and place it in individual writing folder. I do not use sheet protectors with this page. I want it to be a living, growing document.

Placing these reference tools in my student’s Writer’s Workshop Folders has significantly decreased how many times I hear “Miss 27, how do you spell…?”

Both these printables are availabe for *FREE* on my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Digital paper copyright: PrettifulDesigns

Friday, September 28, 2012

FREE: Pumpkin Project ~ Use the Scientific Method during a Pumpkin Growing Experiment

My co-worker found this pumpkin growing experiment on Pinterest.  I think it is great and am going to try it with my first graders on Monday.  I created a few Science Journal pages for this project.  The download is available for *FREE* on my TpT store.  Please share your experiences with this project.  I will have more pictures and anecdotes as the seeds germinate and the students interact with the pumpkin.

The Pumpkin Project uses the scientific method during a grow pumpkins in a pumpkin experiment. This project includes:
*Hypothesis page
*"Pumpkin Observation: Day__" pages for journals or booklets
*Evaluation page.

Students pages include fill in the blanks, free response and illustrated responses.

I start the experiment on October 1, but it can be started in September or November as well. Seeds generally take 4-7 days to germinate. Pumpkins grow to full size in approximately 120 days.

Vocabulary in experiment: hypothesis, predict, germinate, observation, evaluation, confirmed, experiment

Pumpkin Project 2012: Day 1