Pumpkins and Apples, Oh My!

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Objective

Students will be able to compare and contrast two non-fiction books with a similar theme – in this case plant life cycles.

Big Idea

Compare and contrast plant life cycles.

Introduction

15 minutes

First I ask the students to raise their hand if they can recall our apple unit.  

“Okay good, hands down. Now raise your hand if you think you can tell me the stages of an apple’s life cycle.” There are usually one or two students who raise their hand and can accurately recall the stages in the apple life cycle. I take notes on the SMARTBoard of what the student tells me.

Now I ask the class to check to see if what we have written on the SMARTBoard is correct. Through this process student prior knowledge is accessed and those who do not recall the information are re-introduced to it through their peers.

I hold up the book we read during our apple unit – Life Cycle of an Apple. I inform the students we will take a brief picture walk through the book to double check we have the information correct.  

Once our picture walk is over I hold up the new book to show the students Life Cycle of a Pumpkin

I explain to the students that this book is very similar to the book we just took a picture walk through. “Can anyone tell me the meaning of the word similar? We discussed the meaning of this word back when we compared the two stories of The Three Little Pigs.” Some students are able to recall the word and state the definition, but many students will not be able to. “Well the word similar means it is a little bit alike. For example, my glasses are a lot like Shelby’s. They both have rectangle eye frames and both have pink on the inside of the ear pieces. But Shelby’s glasses have pink on the outside of the ear pieces and mine have purple. So our glasses are similar, but they are not the same.” Vocabulary instruction

“We are about to read a book which is similar to Life Cycle of an Apple. I need you to be very good listeners and observers to see if you can spot the places where the books are the same and the places where they are different.”      

Now I read the book to the students. 

Activity

45 minutes

Whilst reading the book I ask the students questions about some of the details throughout the book. For example, “I recall you telling me that the apple’s life cycle started out as a seed. Looking at this picture I think the pumpkin life cycle may also start out as a seed. What do you think and what does this tell us about most plants?” I do this several times throughout the book. Another good place to compare the information is the pollination pages. While not used in the assessment piece of this lesson a student could elect to use this information in the activity. Comparison for discussion 

   

At the end of the book I have my SMARTBoard ready for use. On the screen I have drawn a Venn diagram. The two main circles are labeled – one is apples and the other is pumpkins. The overlapping space in the middle is labeled with the word same. I tell the students that we are going to compare and contrast the two books we read together.

I tell the students that last time we used a chart to compare and contrast the two stories we read and this time we will use a tool called a Venn diagram. I point out the parts of the Venn diagram to the students. “This part of the Venn diagram is labeled “Apples” so it will be used for information we found only in the apple book. This part of the Venn diagram is labeled “Pumpkins’ so it will be used for information we found only in the pumpkin book. This section in the middle is labeled “Same” so this will be where we put information we found in both books.”

I ask the students to raise their hand if they can tell me something that is the same about the two life cycles. I take several answers and note the responses on the SMARTBoard for all of the students to see. For my non-reading students and visual learners I will draw quick little pictures to represent the words listed in this space.  

Next I ask the students to raise their hand and tell me something that is different about the two life cycles. Once again I take several responses and note them on the SMARTBoard. I also ask the students where they got that particular piece of information – “Was that piece of information from the apple book or the pumpkin book? Which circle will I need to write your response?” pumpkin apple Venn diagram

 

Now I tell the students they will be making a Venn diagram of their own. I show the students a blank version of the paper they will find at their work station. Apple Pumpkin Comparison I tell the students that they will need to record one thing that is the same about the two books. I ask the students where they will put this piece of information.

Next I tell the students they will need to find one thing which can only be found in the apple book. I ask the students to tell me where this piece of information will go.

Finally I tell the students they will also need to find one thing which can only be found in the pumpkin book. I ask the students to tell me where this piece of information will go.

Constantly asking the students to tell me where the information goes helps them to remember the directions when they get back to their seats to work on the assignment. 

  

Before beginning the activity remember to have the supplies ready at the tables to cut down on loss of instruction time. You will need to have a copy of the comparison chart (one for each student), pencils, crayons and a copy of both Life Cycle of an Apple and Life Cycle of a Pumpkin available for students to reference.

Before having the students go to the work area I like to remind the students to use their resources such as the SMARTBoard and the books available on the table if they need help recalling some similarities or differences. I also like to remind the students to take pride in their work by drawing carefully so other people can understand their work. Now I send the students back to their seats a few at a time to maintain a safe environment in my classroom.

While working with the students I will allow some students to just draw the information. Other students I will ask to label with the beginning sounds or other phonetic sounds they hear, and other students I will ask that they label from information they can get from the book. 

Allow the students about 15 minutes to complete the task.  

Closure

10 minutes

When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look listen” technique mentioned above. “When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot.”

I remind students to put their completed work in the “completed work” bin and those that are not complete go into the “under construction” bin.   Apple Pumpkin Activity Checklist

Once everyone is seated on their spot I tell the students that their “exit slip” to get their snack is to tell me either a comparison or a contrast between the life cycle of an apple and the life cycle of a pumpkin. Student work sample   Student work sample 2   Student work sample 3   Student work sample 4   Student work sample 5

Assessment

20 minutes

For this activity the assessment will take place the following day at one of the integrated work stations. The students will be given a blank copy of the same Venn diagram used the previous day and a group of words which state the various stages of both the apple and the pumpkin life cycle. Students will be asked to cut apart the words and glue them in the correct place on the Venn diagram. Apple Pumpkin Comparison Venn diagram Labels for assessment on apples and pumpkins Students who have difficulty with reading will be read the words and some of the words will have picture clues.

Apple Pumpkin Assessment

 

Extensions

Make the life cycle of a pumpkin using paper plates as the pumpkin shell which houses the other parts.

Measure the height of different sized pumpkins using snap cubes.

Measure the girth of different sized pumpkins.

Pumpkin seed counting book – group by tens.  

Do the sink or float test and predict whether a pumpkin will sink or float. Use a scale to show weight comparison with a variety of items first.