Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Gourd By Any Other Name...

I arranged an assortment of gourds on the ground.  I asked the children to describe what they saw.  One child said "some are pumpkins and gourds".

One girl noticed a pumpkin leaning to one side.  She said, "one of the pumpkins is not standing very well".

Other observations were "a pumpkin is a circle" and "it has a stem".

Next, I asked them to group the pumpkins together.  Some children put everything that was orange in one group.  Others combined the ones that had a visible stem. 

Some looked at the shape and grouped round ones together.

 After several attempts, they discovered that there were only three true pumpkins in the group.

Then they found out that pumpkins are part of a larger family of plants called gourds.
Next, I placed a variety of leaves on the ground.  Each child came to investigate the leaves.  They used their senses to gather information.  I asked them to describe the leaves.

Descriptions included "the stem is so spiky", "this one is soft, this one is scratchy", "this one feels bumpy", "this one is a pokey one".

One child observed, "these two leaves kind of feel the same because they're both bumpy on the stem".
They found out that leaves from a gourd plant have spikes on the stem and are scratchy  when you touch the leaf. 

Then we went on a discovery walk to locate the gourd plants that grow in our garden.  The children had to use their sense of sight and touch to locate the correct leaves.
They found the leaves near the front of the gan.  The two plants were growing cucumbers and cantaloupe melons.  The children learned that cucumbers and melons belong to the gourd family.

They knew this was true because of the characteristics of the leaves.

Stay tuned for the next installment of "A Gourd By Any Other Name"......

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