One day we brought a pumpkin 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 might happen to it over time. The pumpkin was then placed in a glass tank for all to observe, make comments, 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 as they described what they saw happening. Our goal was to promote observation and wondering, and we began by asking questions:

List of 4 items.

  • Does the pumpkin look the same on both sides?

  • Has anything changed since you last looked at it?

  • What do you think is happening to make the pumpkin change?

  • What do you think will change about the pumpkin 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:

List of 4 items.

  • I think it will get really moldy.

  • It might fall over and get old and smash into little pieces of pumpkin.

  • It will get blacker.

  • When the pumpkin gets brown, it’s going to get stinky because it’s going to be old.

We also read books about pumpkins, such as The Pumpkin Book, by Gail Gibbons, Pumpkin Circle, by George Levenson, Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell and From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfefer and James Graham Hale.

By observing our pumpkin change over time, the children engaged in the process of scientific inquiry. They observed details and changes they noticed. They represented what they know through drawing. They predicted what they think will happen over time and they used an important scientific tool, the magnifying glass, to look very closely at details.
Fayerweather is a happy and energetic place filled with engaged children busy learning and doing. The curriculum is age-appropriate and the teachers are attuned to the needs of their students.
- Fayerweather Parent 
Fayerweather Street School | 765 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 | 617-876-4746
Fayerweather is a private PreK, kindergarten, elementary and middle school. We engage each child’s intellect.