In the spirit of Halloween, Mr. Briner created an activity for his 7th grade life science class that allowed them to apply their critical thinking skills and have fun creating jack-o’-lanterns at the same time.
Students in Mr. Briner’s class brought in pumpkins of all different sizes, and Mr. Briner weighed each one before students officially began the lab assignment. They then used the scientific method to predict which pumpkin would have the most seeds and, in general, whether or not the weight and size of a pumpkin affects the amount of seeds within it.
When their predictions were made and their individual pumpkin-carving areas were set up, students carved out the tops of their pumpkins and removed the insides so that they could count the total amount of seeds inside each one.
What the students discovered is that, despite what many of them thought, the size of the pumpkin was not relative to how many seeds it contained. Some smaller pumpkins had hundreds of seeds, while even the larger ones did not even break triple digits.
“One of our classmates had a really big pumpkin, but then it only had about six seeds,” Lauren K. said.
It was a reminder to students of how unique every individual creation is and that certain variables will remain independent, while others will remain constant, and some will be dependent.
Sydney L. said that, though the size of the pumpkin was perhaps a bit deceiving, it makes sense that the number of seeds wasn’t what was originally expected because, as she pointed out, “all pumpkins are different.”
And that uniqueness of each pumpkin is what makes it difficult to determine how many seeds it will have inside.
“It’s like a snowflake,” Lauren added.
After students had finished counting all of the seeds and recording their results, they used their creativity skills to carve their pumpkins into decorative jack-o’-lanterns that could be displayed at the Historic Anaheim Campus’ annual Halloween Haunt later that evening. They were then tasked with writing reports that detailed their findings and what they learned throughout the process of the activity.
This activity allowed students not only to apply what they’ve learned with the scientific method and discover new truths about independent, dependent, and controlled variables but also to enjoy one another’s company with an exciting and interactive assignment — and having fun in the classrooms certainly has its benefits.
“It’s the best way to learn,” Sydney said.