Oodles of Pumpkins

Oodles of Pumpkins lesson plan

How did jack-o'-lanterns become Halloween symbols? Use Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils to "carve out" a contemporary version of these traditional orange delights.

  • 1.

    If possible, begin this pumpkin project in the spring, when fields of pumpkins are being planted. Every week or two, visit the fields to see how the vines, blossoms, and then pumpkins are growing. Ask students to make sketches of the changes (size, color, shape) seen with Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils. After graduation to a new grade level, sketches are left for new students in the fall. This group will complete the cycle of pumpkin sketches.

  • 2.

    Just before pumpkins are ready to be harvested, ask students to organize their set of sketches from beginning to end. What did the pumpkin seed look like? What did the plant look like when it first peeked above the soil? How did it grow? How long did this take? How much attention, water, etc. did the seeds need? Discussion to follow.

  • 3.

    Assist students with discovering how Halloween and its pumpkin customs originated. For hundreds of years on All Hallows Eve, the Irish hollowed out turnips, rutabagas, gourds, potatoes, and beets. They placed a light in them to ward off evil spirits.

  • 4.

    On paper, ask students to use erasable colored pencils to draw a field full of large pumpkins. Color in the colorful pumpkins.

  • 5.

    Erase jack-o'-lantern faces or other designs inside your pumpkins. Use your imagination to make each one unique.

  • 6.

    Color in a night sky with erasable colored pencils. Then erase sections to show ghosts, stars, and a moon in the sky. Color in erased areas. Complete your drawing by adding vines and soil around pumpkins. Happy Halloween!

Standards

  • LA: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • LA: Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Participate in shared research and writing projects.
  • SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.
  • SS: Describe how people create places that reflect ideas, personality, culture, and wants and needs as they design homes, playgrounds, classrooms, and the like.
  • VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.
  • VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.
  • VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.
  • VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

Adaptations

  • Possible classroom resources include: Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell; Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson; How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara; From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer;
  • Have students work in small groups to plant pumpkin seeds and care for them. Students document the progress of their seeds using a journal format or audio-taping the progress. Students should also be encouraged to sketch the progress of the seeds. Report on the progress to classmates.
  • Have students collect pictures of jack-o-lanterns. Students illustrate the photographs and post these sketches as window decorations.
  • Ask students to bring in recipes from home of their favorite pumpkin treats. Students word process recipes and sketch a scene of pumpkins on the paper. Organize the recipes into booklet format. Make enough copies for each student in the class.