Pumpkins!? Still?! Yes! The pumpkins continue to enchant and inspire our young investigators. It has been my objective to provide a variety of activities to fulfill our need for a variety of learning styles and what Howard Gardner describes as “multiple intelligences.”* But what is so interesting is how an abundant variety of pumpkins and gourds in itself can fulfill the need for a rich learning environment for our children.
Here are some examples of the many activities and discoveries that continue to stimulate the learning and imagination of the children of Hanna.
Children love to climb on top of the larger pumpkins and show off their great courage and ability to balance on such a massive orb. .
More fancy tricks!
One of the most surprising uses for the pumpkins and gourds was how several children incorporated them into their play. This fine specimen turned out to be a wonderful stand in for a baby.
This scene is the beginning a very deep and prolonged story acted out by several girls in the 3 Day Class. They used the pumpkins to represent a family who were going on a trip “very far away on a different planet.”
At one point, a pumpkin was used to “put gas” into the dinosaur.
In this scene, the family had arrived at the planet and were being settled into their beds. What a wonderful adventure!
Another interesting use for pumpkins came about while Kendra was watching the 3 Day afternoon group rolling pumpkins down the slide. She gathered paper and taped it to the slide and positioned bowls of paint at the top of the stairs. This activity garnered lots of excitement and was a natural extension of what the children had been doing with the pumpkins.
Another example of a negotiated curriculum was a project that Lori (student teacher) initiated after watching the children paint the pumpkins. She recalled a favorite activity from her childhood where she paper mached small balloons that were filled with such things as beans or rice. After they dried, the finished products could be used as musical instruments. This project would end up (we hoped) looking like the dried gourd we use as an instrument.
Our pumpkins continue to entertain, inspire and offer opportunities for learning. One of the things we are curious about is the sprouted seed that was pulled out of the inside of this cracked pumpkin!
I hope that you feel the same sense of wonder that I felt as you look at how the children engage with mere vegetables. The great varieties of pumpkins and gourds that lie around the pepper tree and under the climber have brought a storybook feel to the Garden Classroom. Yet, it is the children who bring the magic and make the Garden Classroom so enchanting. It is their curiosity, vivid imagination, inexhaustible energy and developing intellect that fills us with gratitude everyday and especially in this time for Thanksgiving. As for the pumpkins, I believe they will continue to inspire new adventures and investigations when we return after our holiday. Happy Thanksgiving! With Joy! Francie
* “Howard Gardner of Harvard has identified seven distinct intelligences. This theory has emerged from recent cognitive research and “documents the extent to which students possess different kinds of minds and therefore learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways,” according to Gardner (1991). According to this theory, “we are all able to know the world through language, logical-mathematical analysis, spatial representation, musical thinking, the use of the body to solve problems or to make things, an understanding of other individuals, and an understanding of ourselves. Where individuals differ is in the strength of these intelligences – the so-called profile of intelligences -and in the ways in which such intelligences are invoked and combined to carry out different tasks, solve diverse problems, and progress in various domains.”
The Distance Learning Technology Resource Guide, by Carla Lane /tchweb.org