Fall has arrived and the markets are filled with Halloween pumpkins and acorn squash. Talk turns to family activities such as carving a jack-o-lantern and the family Thanksgiving dinner. In the Gan, our conversation turned to a particular family, the Gourd family. Our students heard the story of Pepo's Family Reunion. We learned that Pepo (an oversized berry with a hard rind) has many cousins, and aunts and uncles. Uncle Turk wears a turban of many colors and Aunt Chioggia must have been really old because she had bumps all over. Pepo even has a cousin named Banana squash! One of the students said Aunt Chioggia had "a billion bumps".
The students took a few minutes to meet Pepo's family. They found out that some things were the same and some things were different between all the family members. We also talked about how they have brothers and sisters, or cousins that might have the same color hair or different color eyes, but they are still part of their family. They said Pepo was "smooth like a popsicle" but another family member was "scratchy in my hand". It was interesting to use the sense of touch to feel the different textures.
Then the children went to visit one of Pepo's cousins that lives in the Gan. Cousin Loofah looks like a "cucumber" or a "pickle". It even "feels like a cucumber". But it is "not round like Pepo". And it doesn't have a hard rind, it is softer.
When Loofah gets old and dries out, the fiber turns into a sponge - a loofah sponge! And you can use it in the bath tub to scrub clean. There was so much to remember about Pepo's family that the students documented their discoveries.