Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Pumpkin Math Investigations

Are you looking for new ideas for hands-on Fall math activities? Look no further, I have a great math activity just for you, Pumpkin Math Investigations!

Using read-alouds to teach math concepts is a great way to engage our kids. One of my favorite Fall math books is How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? In this book, a classroom of students guess how many seeds are in a pumpkin. This is the perfect set up for a math activity.

With that said, let me share Pumpkin Math Investigations!

What You Will Need:

-       Book – How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?
-       1 Pumpkin (Lesson Parts 1 and 2)
-       A Small Pumpkin OR Pumpkin Seeds in a Brown Bag for each Small Group (Lesson Part 3)
-       A Plate
-       Pumpkin Seed Grouping Mats – Free
-       Pumpkin Investigations Recording Sheets – Free
-       LOTS of Hand Sanitizer (LOL!!!!)

This activity is intended to last a couple of days, moving from whole group to small group lessons. Each lesson is focused on grouping, skip counting, comparing numbers and addition. So let’s get to the math!

PART 1:  Whole Group Activity - Estimate How Many Seeds Are in the Pumpkin

Read How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? and ask questions.  Tell your kids that you bought in a pumpkin, like in the story and you want them to guess how many seeds are inside. 

Have students guess the number of pumpkin seeds and record the responses. Write initials next to the number that students guess. Next, remove the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. To get all the seeds you will probably have to use your hands. It’s messy, but fun!

Let your kids see the pumpkin seeds on a plate and ask them to now estimate the number of seeds on the plate.  Ask if anyone wants to change their guess. Revise student answers to reflect any changes.

Teacher Tip – Let the seeds air dry, but do not leave them on a paper towel because they will stick. I learned the hard way! 

PART II:  Whole Group Activity - Count the Pumpkins Seeds

Once the seeds dry, count the number of seeds using the different grouping mats. Model skip counting on each mat and adding the leftovers.

Record the total number of seeds on a chart. Have a discussion by comparing the estimations and the total amount of counted seeds.

Write addition equations that represent the seeds on the counting mats.

Example:  10 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 +10 + 10 + 7 = 127
                   100 + 20 + 7 = 127

PART III:  Small Group Activity – Estimate, Count and Graph the Pumpkins Seeds

Tell students that they are now going to work in groups to find out the amount of seeds in their pumpkins.

Give each group (4 – 5 kids) a pumpkin and have them repeat everything Part 1 and Part 2. (Pre-cut the tops for safety reasons)

Use the Pumpkin Investigation FREEBIE so that students can record their work.

Teacher Tip – For time’s sake, if you want to skip the part where kids scoop the seeds out a pumpkin, use prepackaged pumpkin seeds instead. Place the seeds in a brown paper bag and ask your students to estimate the number of pumpkin seeds in the bag.

Watch my video for more details and don’t forget to download the Pumpkin Investigation FREEBIE.

PS - I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fun Halloween Math Activities

Try out these fun Halloween themed math activities in your classroom. You can differentiate each one of these ideas and use them in your Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms.

Webby Math Representations

Use a web template and attach a string to it. Based on the level of your students, choose a number that you want them to represent. Write the following on a label “Ways to Represent (Your Chosen Number)”. Place a label in the middle of the web.  Give your students index cards and let them write up as many representations as they can think of on their index cards. Have your kids pin the index cards to the string with clothespins.

Note – Representations can range from pictures to expanded number sentences. Accept any representation as long as it is the same amount as the chosen number. Your students might surprise you with their creativity.

Teacher Tip – Have students work in small groups and see which group is able to create the most representations.

Tricky Treats

Create and write math related True or False statements on index cards. Place them inside of a Halloween themed bag. Throughout the day pull a True or False statement out of the bag. Ask one of your students to answer the question and justify his or her answer. If students answer correctly, let them pull something from a bowl of treats (i.e. erasers, candy, pencils, etc.).

Teacher Tip – Call on students randomly.  You can write each students’ name on a popsicle stick and then pull their name from a cup. That way students know it is a fair process.

Fill the Pumpkin

Obtain two pumpkin shaped containers and popsicle sticks.  Determine how you want students to sort cards into the two containers (i.e. Odd and Even Numbers, Greater Than/Less Than, etc.). Create sorting cards using index cards and glue them to the top of the popsicle sticks. Have your students sort the cards into the correct pumpkin.

Teacher Tip – You may want to copy the category cards on different color paper than the sorting cards, so that students are reminded of the sorting categories.

Teacher Tip – If you can’t find any pumpkin shaped containers, use regular containers and tape a photo of a pumpkin on them. 

Spider Equations

Create a spider template using construction paper. See the video below for instructions on how to make it. Write a number sentence on the middle of the spider (i.e. 25 + 10 is the same as…). Have students write an equation on each of the legs that equals the same amount.  See photo below for example.

Teacher Tip – Use a plate to make a circle for the body of your spider.

Download the free templates and watch me walk though each one of these activities in the video below.