A PreK Science Project
One day a pumpkin was brought to morning meeting. The pumpkin had developed a small area of mold. Together we discussed what we noticed about the pumpkin and what we thought may happen to it over time. The pumpkin was then placed in a glass tank for all to observe, comment, ask questions, and evaluate our previous predictions. Over the course of two months we watched it change dramatically as it decomposed in the tank. On the wall above the tank we documented the pumpkin’s changes with photographs, children’s drawings, and quotations of their words as they described what they saw happening. Our goal was to promote observation and wondering, and we began by asking questions:
- Does the pumpkin look the same on both sides?
- Had anything changed since you last looked at it?
- What do you think will change about the pumpkin over time?
- What do you think is happening to make the pumpkin change?
Over time, as the pumpkin began to decay and change, students were fascinated by the almost daily changes. They eagerly checked our pumpkin’s “progress,” and made drawings and predictions:
- It will get blacker.
- When the pumpkin gets brown, it’s going to get stinky because it’s going to be old.
- I think it will get really moldy.
- It might fall over and get old and smash into little pieces of pumpkin.
We also read books about pumpkins, such as The Pumpkin Book, by Gail Gibbons and Pumpkin Circle, by George Levenson, Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell and From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfefer and James Graham Hale.
Through observing this pumpkin change over time, children have engaged in the process of scientific inquiry. They have observed details and changes they have noticed. They have represented what they know through drawing. They have predicted what they think will happen over time. They have used an important scientific tool, the magnifying glass, to look very closely at details.