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The glorious mess of cleaning a ripe pumpkin is only the beginning of this inventive lesson that explores plant life cycles. Additional hand-on activities include seed planting, monitoring plant growth and observing decomposition, which all strengthen science skills while introducing the class to important concepts like germination, and pollination. Information about the historical food value of pumpkins and squash also raises awareness about First Nations traditions and promotes healthy eating.
This learning activity could incorporate a visit to a local farm or farmer’s market during which students select their own pumpkins. Science and English Language Arts outcomes could be integrated by asking students to create a vocabulary list that describes the texture, colour and smell of their pumpkin. An interesting math exercise could have older students weighing and measuring fresh produce at the farm stand.
This resource could lead to a community-based service learning project. Linking students with a local organization to develop a "teaching" garden that grows fresh produce for low income families would also raise awareness about the value of urban green spaces. Bringing together the school, community members and local First Nations elders for a harvest celebration would add a memorable dimension to this project while reinforcing curriculum concepts related to sustainability, culture and community.
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