Pumpkins Aren't Just for Carving
Loess Hills AITC Visits Local School
Carroll, Iowa – November 12, 2019 – Preschool classes within the Kuemper Catholic School System received a lesson on agriculture using pumpkins as an example. Three morning and two afternoon classes each had a chance to explore pumpkins, inside and out. The students were familiar with using pumpkins for carving, but there was much more to learn.
Melanie Bruck, of Loess Hills Agriculture in the Classroom, brought resources to the classroom for this Pre-K lesson. She displayed pictures of different sized pumpkins from very small to large. These different varieties had names like Baby Boo, Fairytale, Full Moon and Cinderella. The students discovered that pumpkins are not always orange.
Bruck then carved the top off of the pumpkin to show the inside and how the seeds are connected to the flesh of the pumpkin. Bruck explained how the inside of pumpkin can be used to make pumpkin puree which can then be used to make soups, breads and pies. The rind of the pumpkin can be used to make a ‘snack-o-lantern’ for wildlife or fed to backyard animals.
Office administrator for the Carroll County Farm Bureau, Julie Von Glan, assisted with the classroom programs, passing out charted paper ‘plots’ and seeds for the students to practice planting. Bruck explained the things a pumpkin needs to grow, the amount of space each pumpkin needs, how far apart to plant each pumpkin seed’ and how many seeds can come from just one pumpkin. Not only used in a classroom activity, seeds can be eaten, left for wildlife, or even used to plant pumpkins the next year. Each student got a chance to try a roasted pumpkin seed.
Students were also able to touch and feel the inside of the pumpkin. It was a very large pumpkin and some students really seemed to enjoy it, placing almost their whole arm inside the pumpkin.
“It’s so cold,” the students exclaimed since the pumpkin had been left outside prior to coming to the classroom.
“The students were full of energy and willing to learn,” said Von Glan. “They were eager to share their experiences and were willing to learn new things.”
Von Glan went on to say, “Even in rural communities, generations of families are starting to get further away from the farm. Without a direct link to the farm, it can be difficult for children to understand how the food that reaches their plate got its start. Showing students seasonal produce such as pumpkins is a great way to introduce agriculture into their everyday lives.”
For more information, please visit www.IowaAgLiteracy.org.
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About Loess Hills Agriculture in the Classroom
Loess Hills Agriculture in the Classroom is a regional effort of the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation (IALF). It serves school districts in five counties in southwest Iowa including Carroll Co., Crawford Co., Harrison Co., Shelby Co., and West Pottawattamie Co. The IALF mission is to educate Iowans, with a focus on youth, regarding the breadth and global significance of agriculture. IALF serves as a central resource for educators and volunteers who want to teach Iowa's students about agriculture. As leading producer of agricultural products, it is important for all Iowans to understand the essential role agriculture has in their lives. The mission of Agriculture in the Classroom is to "increase agricultural literacy through K-12 education." An agriculturally literate person is "one who understands and can communicate the source and value of agriculture as it affects quality of life." AITC programs seek to improve student achievement by applying authentic, agricultural-based content as the context to teach core curriculum concepts in science, social studies, language arts and nutrition. By embedding agriculture into curriculum, AITC cultivates an understanding and appreciation of the food and fiber system that we rely on every day. AITC is unique within the agricultural education community as the lead organization to serve the full spectrum of K-12 formal education. For more information visit IALF online at www.IowaAgLiteracy.org, on Facebook, and Twitter.
Loess Hills Agriculture in the Classroom
Melanie Bruck, Education Program Coordinator
Loess Hills Agriculture in the Classroom