PreK Pumpkin Unit-Math Skills

As we continue exploring our pumpkin unit, now we will look at what Math skills are age appropriate for preschool children. Children in PreK learn such a wide variety of math skills in a few short years.  There are many math concepts that can be addressed but four very important ones for preschool are; Shapes Patterns, Measurement, and Numbers.

Below are a few example activities that cover these skills and fit into our current Pumpkin Unit Theme.

Shapes

In advance, precut different 1-3″ shapes; Orange Ovals and Circles (pumpkins), small green rectangles (pumpkin stems) Tall Brown Rectangles (tree trunks), Green Triangles (tree tops) and any other creative pieces you can think of. Provide each student with a piece of white construction paper. Review the names of the shapes and show them how they can create different things from the shapes. Encourage the children to create their own pumpkin patch drawing, using the cut out shapes to make pumpkins, trees, etc. Then encourage them to finish their drawing by using markers or crayons to add other details to their paper, such as grass, clouds, suns, etc. Remind them to be as creative as they want! This helps teach them that objects in the world have defined shapes and they can use shapes to create different objects.

 

Patterns:

Image result for jack be little pumpkin

To prep for this activity, I would purchase 10-20 small pumpkins. These are often called Jack Be Little Pumpkins and can be found fairly cheap. I would try to find 3-4 various colors like shown in the photo. If you can’t find different colors, another idea would be to buy what you can find and paint them various colors. That would be a great way to teach color recognition as well for the primary colors. Once I have my pumpkins ready to go, I would set up a few different patterns and take photos of them. I would then laminate the photos and add them to our Math center with the pumpkins. Children can have fun creating the patterns in the photos OR coming up with their very own patterns! You could even provide a kid tuff camera for them to take photos of their patterns to add to the collection, or you could take photos for them.

 

Measurement 

For this activity, you will need to provide a couple small pie pumpkins. With a black marker, label them A and B. During large group, have children sit in a large circle on the floor. Briefly explain the different ways we can measure things and explain one way is by weighing them. Connect this with them getting weighed on a scale at the doctor to see how big they are! Next, pass the pumpkins around the circle and have each child name which pumpkin they have in their hand and how much they guess it might weigh. Write all the guesses down on a standing flip chart. Last, pick two student helpers to place the pumpkins on a scale one at a time. Record the weight and go over the guesses with the children. This is a great way to expand measuring things, explore the idea of weight, and how to measure weight.

Numbers 

Prep for this activity is lengthy but so worth it and materials can be reused. This is a great activity for centers. Cut and laminate small round orange pumpkins with numbers written on them. Print, cut out and laminate a second set that has empty ten frames on each pumpkin. Next, clean and dry pumpkin seeds and bags them into sandwich baggies. Children will engage in this center by drawing a numbered pumpkin and a ten frame pumpkin, placing them next to each other on the table, and counting out the exact number of pumpkin seeds to fill in the ten frames. This will help them with number recognition, counting objects to ten, and building on ten frame skills.

A few more things…

In addition, I would change up materials, activities, and centers to help further develop math skills that fit our current theme and educational needs of my students.  One way would be adding pumpkin themed visual aids around the classroom such as numbered pumpkins or different color pumpkins set in patterns for the children to observe. Another way is providing pumpkin manipulatives that can be used to play with while they compare sizes, color, shape, and even count or create patterns from themed items. I would also change out some materials in the dramatic play center as well. I am confident that my students will make great progress in their development from these changes and activities.

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