Our Pumpkin Patch
To build on the 6+1 Global Competencies of Collaboration, Creativity, Technology, Communication, Citizenship and Critical Thinking skills with my students. To bring awareness to global warming and the importance of caring for our earth.
In the fall, my class read the story of Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell. It is a story about a boy who is very sad when he discovers that his Jack O’Lantern has begun to rot. As the story progresses, the pumpkin decomposes and a new pumpkin plant begins the grow. We decided that we would like to explore the life cycle of a pumpkin. We placed a small pumpkin that we carved, inside a water jug with some soil at the bottom. We then sealed the jug and began to observe. It took many weeks for us to begin to see any change. We observed and recorded our observations throughout the fall and winter. In the spring, we took on the garden project at our school and began planning for our very own pumpkin patch. We continued to watch our pumpkin (who we named Pete) decompose in the ecosystem we had created. What we saw was a lot of water and mold. We were worried about the seeds rotting so we decided we should plant a few of our own plants to put into the pumpkin patch in case this experiment failed. We also began researching for our raised garden bed and discussing the lifecycle of plants through a variety of read alouds. We needed to plant vegetables that can be harvested in the fall, and not vegetables that need to be picked all season long.
As we continued to monitor Pumpkin Pete, we began discussions about the moisture in soil and what plants needed. We moved Pumpkin Pete to a sunnier window in hopes that more moisture would evaporate. This lead to the class coding microbits that could test the moisture in soil.
When the warmer temperatures arrived, we removed the lid of the water jug and placed Pumpkin Pete outside. We added soil on top of the rotted pumpkin to see if anything would grow and we are continuing to observe this process.
Throughout our investigations, students had the opportunity to explore many concepts. Many activities turned into reading and writing prompts and outdoor learning. Students explored what plants need to grow and we began a composting initiative at our school. In collaboration with the Difference Maker project from our board, students created presentations on why we should compost and presented to a variety of classrooms. Our next step is to build a second composter for our garden space so that we can use the healthy soils in our gardens and our pumpkin patches. Students hoped that composting would also encourage healthy eating in classrooms and reduce the amount of garbage going to landfills.
Reflection & Celebration
The class looks forward to seeing the results of the garden project and harvesting our pumpkins in the fall.