7 Ways to Learn with Pumpkins this Fall

Halloween is days away and what better way to spend it than with some fun and educational pumpkin activities.

Whether you’re still in need to pick the perfect pumpkin, or if it’s already starting to decompose on your porch (oops!) there is so much to learn from these bumpy, round, and bright vegetables.

Here are seven ways you can get you can celebrate pumpkin season with your early learner this fall:

1 – Measure your pumpkinImage result for measuring pumpkins

Have your child make a dot on the pumpkin with a marker. Using a flexible measuring tape or piece of string, start at the dot and wrap it all the way around the pumpkin. If using string, have your child hold their finger at the marker, then line up the string with a ruler.

Record your measurements and see which pumpkin is the roundest. You can even measure the height, too!

2 – Line up pumpkins by size

Image result for row of pumpkins by size

Get a whole variety of pumpkins and have your child line them up from big to little. Make it tricker by adding in pumpkins of all different shapes and weight.

3 – Counting seeds

After you’ve separated the seeds from the gooey inside, let them dry out (or roast them!) and use them for all kinds of learning activities.

From counting charts:

Image result for counting pumpkin seed

To color sorting:

Rainbow pumpkin seeds ready for preschool name activities

There are endless ways to use these perfect-sized learning tools.

4 – How do pumpkins grow?

A pumpkin patch is the perfect place to explore how plants grow. Walk your child through each stage a pumpkin goes through before it is ready to be picked. Maybe even save some seeds for your own garden.

Here is a helpful book to get you started:

5 – Bake a pumpkin pie

Learn how to make a pumpkin pie from scratch! Baking is a great way to introduce measurements and other math skills. Plus, the satisfaction of seeing a pumpkin transform into an edible form is so exciting to behold. Your child will get to taste something of their own creation.

Here is a kid-friendly recipe:

6 – Weigh your pumpkin 

Have your child stand on a scale and write down their weight on a piece of paper. Then, have them hold the pumpkin and weigh themselves again. Subtract their own weight from the weight with the pumpkin to get the pumpkin’s weight.

You can weigh the pumpkin by itself to see if their math is right.

Kindergarten Pumpkin Weighing Activity

7 – Why do pumpkins rot?

Image result for rotting pumpkin

Pumpkins don’t keep their beautiful shape forever – especially after we carve them. Make an outdoor science project on your front porch by studying what happens to a pumpkin when it decomposes. Take pictures each day, make notes and have your child use other senses like touch and smell to make observations.

How to Stay Organized this School Year: Note Taking

Now that you have your planning method down, let’s figure out some great techniques for staying organized during class.

Taking time to structure your notes can have a big impact later on when that exam, quiz or project pops up. If your notes are clear, concise, and easy to locate, you are already setting yourself up to succeed. Let’s dive into some easy tips for note taking success!

Organization 101

Let’s set the scene:

Your chemistry exam is this Friday and you’re getting a head start by going through your notes and practice questions. You open your notebook only to find…gasp! your chemistry notes are interspersed with world history facts and quotes from your literature class. You know you took more notes than this! You scramble through five other notebooks and try to compile all of your chemistry notes into one place.

Ah, If you had only kept all of your notes for each class…separate.

One of the simplest ways to keeping your notes organized is also keeping them separate. Having a notebook (or binder) for each class saves much time and stress when it comes to reviewing for an exam.

Weather it’s physical notebooks, tabs, or folders on your computer, keep them all in one place and organized by subject.

Tried and True Note Taking Methods

Now that you have your subjects separated and are now ready to start taking notes, the trick is finding a method that sticks. To find the best way that works for your learning style or class topic check out the examples below.

P.S. Don’t forget to write the date!

Cornell Method

How it works: Paper is divided into three sections: cues, notes, summary. The student makes notes during class, then reviews notes after class by writing key words, cues, or phrases in “cues”. A summary of notes is given at the bottom.

Highlights:

  • Provides multiple ways to review
  • Keeps notes neat and organized by page

Mapping

How It Works: Organized by topic, branching out into subtopics

Highlights:

  • Great for visual learners
  • Helps you make connections between lessons and topics
  • Easy to set up

Outline

How It Works: Uses headings and bullet points to organize by main topic, subtopics, and details

Highlights:

  • Good for note taking that requires a lot of detail
  • Great method for typing
  • Easy to edit

Charting

How It Works: uses columns to organize information by relation

Pros:

  • Good for lessons that require a lot of facts
  • Keeps the page neat and organized
  • Easy to review and study

Tips for Taking Speedy Notes

Do you ever feel like your hand can’t keep up with your teacher? Try some of these tricks to help alleviate hand cramp:

  • Use abbreviations, just make sure you can decode them when reviewing later on.
  • Try not to get stuck in the mode of copying an entire slide or writing what the teacher says verbatim. You’ll have a hard time keeping up. Instead, pick out key words or phrases that stand out and use your own language.
  • If you already know a fact, no need to spend time taking notes on it.
  • Take cues from your teacher – if they write something on the board, you bet that it will be important. Notice that they seem particularly passionate on a certain topic? Write it down!

No matter which method you choose, your note taking skills are sure to improve with a little practice and a lot of paper.