By Emily Murphy | Pagosa Peak Open School
The doors swung open and a line of kindergartners stood shoulder to shoulder at the front of Morgan Webb’s classroom. Parents quietly filtered into the room and waited for the festivities to begin. Minutes later, the group broke into song: “Do you know how pumpkins grow?” The lyrics walked the audience through the life cycle of a pumpkin while the performers’ movements emphasized each stage.
This day was a culmination of a monthslong project students had been working on with Webb since October. Students studied how light, water and soil affect plants; planted their own pumpkin seeds; compared and contrasted types of pumpkins; journaled the stages of decomposition after cutting open a pumpkin; and, in the end, cooked with pumpkin at home and brought in treats for taste-testing.
“We learned all the ins and outs of the pumpkin,” Webb said. “I am so proud of them for learning the life cycle and applying it so quickly. They especially loved getting hands on and dissecting the pumpkin.”
During the festival, students walked their families through pumpkin-themed centers that emphasized the kindergarten standards covered through the project. Students counted, sorted letters, organized stages of the life cycle, painted pumpkins and read stories with their guardians. In the end, families gathered around their potluck contributions and shared the food they made with their children at home.
Webb started as a kindergarten teacher at Pagosa Peak Open School in the spring of last year and has years of experience teaching projects in early elementary. She’s looking forward to her next project exploring weather concepts starting this month.