Pumpkin and Gourd Observations

We put pieces of the pumpkins and the gourds from last week (when we did the pumpkin packages) into jars, which we then sealed. We are going to watch what happens to them as they decay. To begin this experiment, students observed the gourd and the pumpkin under magnifying glasses and then drew pictures of what they saw. We are working on making realistic drawings that don’t come from our imaginations!

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Testing our Pumpkin Packages

This week, we finished our pumpkin packages and then tested them. Our Principal, Mrs. Osei-Bobie, dropped them out of our classroom window. The students watched from outside to see what happened to their packages. They were very excited to see if their pumpkin packages worked. 3 of their pumpkins were totally fine. One had a crack in it, but that package hit the brick wall as it fell, so we think that’s why it cracked.

We also dropped a gourd and a pumpkin on their own to see what happened to them. Interestingly, the gourd cracked in half, and the pumpkin was totally fine.

We planted some of the seeds from the gourd outside near the playground to see if they will grow into gourd plants.

Pumpkin packages

Jael, Lenin and Cameron with their finished pumpkin package.

Pumpkin Package 2

A pumpkin package before it was dropped out the window

Gourd

This gourd had a big crack in it after we dropped it from the window. It was very easy to pull the halves apart and see what was inside.

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Our Principal Ms. Osei-Bobie dropping a pumpkin package out of our classroom window.

Pumpkin Packages

This week we started building pumpkin packages. The students were challenged to build something out of bags, straws, string, plates, and balloons that could safely deliver the pumpkin to the ground so it doesn’t get damaged, broken or bruised. Students worked in groups of 4-5 to build their pumpkin packages. Next week our principal, Ms. Osei-Bobie, is going to drop the pumpkin packages out of one of the windows on the top floor of the school.

This activity came from Engineer Through the Year.

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“The best schools keep their eye on the prize—the kids—not just whether they are pleasing higher civil authorities. They see the job of adults as one of nurturing intelligence and empathy, openness to the world, while cherishing their children’s uniqueness. They stay close to families, and see teachers and parents as allies not adversaries. Schools for democracy are quintessentially always an act of collaboration with families and communities —-expression of the grassroots vitality and ingenuity that has always made our nation great.” – Deborah Meier

Building Flying Contraptions

This week we read a bunch of books about flying, including fiction books like Abuela and Isla by Arthur Dorros, Going Places, Voilet the Pilot, Rosie Revere Engineer, and non-fiction books including ones about African American scientists and inventors, Bessie Coleman, the first African-American female pilot, Amelia Earhardt, and the Wright brothers. We challenged the students to step into the shoes of an engineer and create a contraption that could help them fly out of straws, paperclips and rubber bands. The students wanted to make things that could fly themselves, so they made a lot of really interesting flying machines, planes, rockets and helicopters! After building their designs, later on many students came up with new ideas and revised their contraptions. After building their design, each student filled out the first page of their Kindersteam journal by drawing a picture of what they made and talking about whether their contraption worked and new ideas they had to improve them.

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