Halloween Estimation with Pumpkins

By: Mary Kienstra on: October 28, 2017  in: #tlap, Engagement, estimation, Math

Teaching math on Halloween requires even more creativity than other days.  Holding kids’ attention when they are only thinking about dressing up and trick or treating takes a special kind of  magic.  So what’s a teacher to do?  Halloween estimation with pumpkins!

Here’s the plan:

  1.  Go to your local grocery store or anywhere that sells pumpkins and has scales.  Bring your phone or digital camera.
  2. Choose 3 pumpkins of various weights.
  3. Take pictures of those pumpkins on the scale.  (You will get funny looks from other shoppers, but keep smiling.)
  4. Create a slide show or some way to show those pictures to your students and bring the pumpkins to class.
  5. Engage your students by passing around the pumpkins, one at a time.  Let the kids chat about their estimates as they determine the weight of the pumpkin.  Make sure the discussion includes what units to use as well as what weights make sense.  Stand back and enjoy.   After revealing the weight of the first pumpkin, start the same process with the remaining pumpkins, one at a time.
  6. Extend this lesson with pumpkin circumference, diameter, volume, surface area or whatever content is appropriate for your learners.

Using real life experiences and current events engage kids in realizing that math is everywhere, a part of our lives.  Estimation with pumpkins keeps kids talking about math on a day when kids would rather be anywhere but math class!

 

Inspired by Andrew Stadel and Estimation 180.

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