It’s the great pumpkin, Southwood Elementary students, and it’s fun to weigh, measure and catapult through the air.
The school’s family event, “Math + Pumpkins = Best Night Ever!” put orange gourds at the focal point of learning, from guessing how many seeds they contain to finding just how much girth they have. Each student received a free pumpkin, to use in the math and decorating activities.
To culminate the evening, Rick Evans, whose daughter Katelyn Evans is a Southwood teacher, used his homemade catapult to launch pumpkins far into the schoolyard, measuring with markers how many meters they flew, to the “oohs” and “aahs” of students.
Kindergarten teacher Julie Van Lier said the event was a great way to involve families in math in a unique way with a fall theme. “It’s fun to estimate with a pumpkin, launch a pumpkin,” she said. “We wanted to do something real and meaningful.”
Southwood Elementary School fifth-grader Taeron Grays and his brother, second-grader Dontae Grays, watchedas their mother, Holly Grays, began wrapping a measuring tape around the middle of a fat orange pumpkin. “10 inches!” Taeron guessed its circumference. “32!” guessed Dontae.
The exact measurement: “26 inches,” announced Holly.
Then it was off to the scales, where Missy Limbacher, who works in the school lunchroom, challenged students to guess the weight of their gourds. “What do you think: 20 pounds, 30 pounds, 40 pounds?” she asked, as one by one students tested their pumpkins’ weight.