Pumpkin Carving for K-2 Students
by Judie Haynes
Children love Halloween and your English language learners are no exception. They usually have little experience with celebrating Halloween the way we do in the United States and will love this lesson on carving pumpkins.
Proficiency/Grade levelBeginning, advanced beginners, grades K-2
Content Concepts and SkillsPumpkin carving; estimating the number of seeds
Vocabulary neededHalloween, pumpkin, jack-o'-lantern, carve, eyes, nose, mouth, triangle, draw, scoop, stem, seeds, pulp, slippery, slimy.
Materials or ResourcesSeveral pumpkins of different sizes and shapes; sharp knife, large spoon, newspaper, paper towels,
Instructional Sequence for Grades 1-2
- Read some simple pumpkin or Halloween stories to your English language learners. You want to build background knowledge about this holiday.
- Study several pumpkins (different colors, sizes and shapes.) Discuss whether all pumpkins are the same color and what different shapes pumpkins can be.
- Discuss whether a pumpkin is really orange. Have students match the color of their pumpkin to the colors in their crayon boxes. Have students recognize that they are describing the outside of the pumpkin.
- Introduce students to pumpkin carving vocabulary.
- Do the actual cutting but have students decide the shape for the eyes, nose and mouth. Let them scoop out the pulp and discuss what it feels like. Develop vocabulary for the inside of the pumpkin: Pulp, seeds, mushy, stringy, wet.
- Turn off the lights in your room and light a candle or flashlight in the pumpkin. Play spooky Halloween music to set the mood.
- Students can draw pictures of the layers of a seed and label them.
- Students draw pictures or write the steps needed in carving a pumpkin.
- Download our PDF files Pumpkin Pattern. Trace this pattern on orange construction paper. Each student will need two orange pieces for the front and back pieces of their work. Download Inside Pumpkin Pattern and have students cut this out in white paper. Glue this piece to the second organce pumpkin which is the inside piece. Have students glue pumpkin seeds on this white paper and make pulp from pieces of orange yarn. For 1st graders, cut out writing paper for the inside of the top cover. Have students write a sentence about their pumpkin.
- Don't want the mess carving a pumpkin causes in the classroom? Try carving a virtual pumpkin at The Pumpkin Farm.
Instructional Sequence for kindergarten
- Talk about the shape of the nose, eyes, and mouth.
- Discuss whether they want a happy, sad, or scary pumpkin.
- Retell the carving of the pumpkin through pictures.
- Decide if pumpkins are really orange by using a variety of oranges and yellows from their crayon box.
- Put a candle in the pumpkin, turn out the lights and make scary noises.
- Use pumpkins and a paper bag to practice spatial concepts: on, in, under, over, next to, in front of, in back of
- Make pumpkin bread, roast pumpkin seeds, and taste pumpkin pie (your ESL students may never have another chance to do this)
© 1998-2005 Judie Haynes, www.everythingESL.net