It’s the end of October, and you are a high school math teacher…how do you incorporate the holiday of Halloween into an advanced math class? This activity will do the ‘trick’! It requires a few special materials, for which you may want to enlist the help of your students or your fellow teachers. Students will be working in small groups, preferably 4 students in each group. For this reason, you will need 1 pumpkin for every 4 students.
At the end of the activity, students will discover the meaning of the r-value and its implications for correlation: strong vs. weak, positive vs. negative.
1. Pumpkins of various sizes (1 pumpkin for every 4 students)
3. Sharp knife
4. Bathroom scale
5. Graphing Calculators
6. Measuring Tape
7. Hand sanitizer
1. Before the lesson, collect your pumpkins of various shapes and sizes. This activity works best when the pumpkins are of different sizes. Using a sharp knife, cut around the top of the pumpkins so that the students can easily remove the lid/stem during the activity.
(Secure the knife in a locked area once you are finished using it; do not allow students to cut the pumpkins.)
2. Copy a class set of the included Activity Sheets (3 pages).
3. Organize the students in small groups, preferably 3 to 4 students in each group.
4. Place newspaper on the students’ desks and give each group a pumpkin. The newspaper will help for easy clean-up.
5. Students should follow the steps on the Activity Sheets and record their answers in the appropriate places. One step in the activity tells them to weigh the pumpkin. For this step, they will need to use the bathroom scale. Another step tells them to determine the girth (circumference) of the pumpkin, for which they will use the measuring tape.
6. Be sure to move around the room to monitor the students’ work.
7. Have hand sanitizer and paper towels available for when students are counting the seeds inside. (Some students may never have cleaned out a pumpkin before! This will be a fun experience for them!)
8. Once all statistics are compiled from the pumpkins, students will use their graphing calculators to complete the second and third pages of the Activity Sheets.
9. Allow time at the end of the class period to discuss each group’s findings. The questions on the third page can lead your discussion.
I hope you have as much fun in your classroom with this activity as I did in mine!
Looking for other resources for statistics? Check out these products!
Unit Test on Statistics – Multiple-Choice
Cumulative Frequency Graphs – Guided Notes
Practice with Normal Distributions - Dominoes