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Halloween is a great time to use objects from children’s lives to capture their interests in learning.  Educators can pull in several aspects of this holiday for play-based activities, without making it a “theme” within your classroom.  In our Full Day Kindergarten room, we have been focusing on the “big ideas” in the FDK curriculum and fitting in aspects of Halloween we find appropriate.

One of the curriculum goals in math is measuring.  Pumpkins are a great item to capture the children’s attention at this time of year.  We brought in pumpkins of various sizes so we could measure how tall they are, how “around” they are and how much they weigh.  We did this activity in small groups so we could adjust to each groups’ learning level. 

For all of the groups, we used unifix cubes to measure how tall the pumpkins were.  For the students at a high learning level, we first used different lengths of yarn to wrap around the pumpkin and then used an actual ruler (a flexible sewing one that could wrap around it) to find out the length of the yarn in centimetres to introduce them to the concept of centimetres.  For the groups who have never done an activity like this and were only being introduced to measuring, we only used the varying lengths of yarn.  For weight, we used balance scales to see which pumpkins weighed more/same/less and then we used an actual scale for the children who are at a higher learning level to introduce them to the concept of grams.  We used a scale that most children have in their homes, not a scientific scale that older grades may use.  We had chart paper with us, so that we could record each group’s findings and post them in our classroom.  The picture is one example of the findings.  We also drew pictures of the pumpkins and used these pictures to record our findings.

For the rest of the week, we left the pumpkins, yarn, unifix cubes and balance scales in our math centre for the children to continue to explore when they wanted.  We also made sure we had small enough pumpkins for them to be able to handle themselves.  Tomorrow, we will add a squash for them to be able to compare to a small pumpkin.


The children in our full day kindergarten class have really been enjoying the “How Many?” question charts we have been doing.  So, to build on their current interest, we added another “How Many?” chart this week.

In our sandbox, we had plastic measuring cups.  I took those out and added red scoops and green sand pails.  Right beside our sandtable, I posted a “How Many” question.

As a large group, we did a quick demonstration of what the question was asking, as well as reminded the students how to fill our the chart.  Some of the children wanted to fill out the “I think” column right away!  They can continue to do this activity all week, and on Friday, we can have a large group discussion to review what we learned, and to see if anyone was close in their estimation and what surprised us about the actual number of scoops it takes.