Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pumpkin Seeds

For Halloween, we gutted the larger pumpkin from Day 197 for two reasons:
1) To carve it and
2) To roast the seeds
*Little did I know this pumpkin would produce many number sense opportunities beyond Day 197's weight estimate.

My 4.5 year-old son helped gut the pumpkin with me. We gathered as many seeds as possible and set them aside for the roasting process. The recipe I use can be found here. Before mixing the seeds in olive oil and seasonings, I lowered the pan down to my son and asked how many seeds he thought there were. [How many do you think there are?]
Me: How many seeds do you think there are?
Son: Well, ...[thinking for a few seconds]... there's definitely more than a hundred.
Me: How do you know it's more than a hundred?
Son: It just looks like more than a hundred.
Me: Make me a pile of seeds that would be about 100. 
He takes his hands and makes a pile toward the bottom of the pan. I can't contain my excitement to see what he has done.

His pile actually makes sense to me and definitely looks close to 100, give or take. Now that we've made a pile of his "one hundred" seeds. I ask:
Me: How many piles of 100 seeds do you think we can get?
I see he's a little confused by my question, so I ask it differently.
Me: How many piles do you think we could make where each pile has 100 seeds?
He starts to think, but by this time, my almost two year-old daughter sees the pan of seeds is now at her level, so she comes running over and wants in on the action of moving seeds. I thought our conversation was derailed as I brought the pan back up to counter height. But my son keeps it going. He didn't necessarily attempt to answer my question (which is fine by me). He took it in a different, pleasantly unexpected direction:
Son: What if we could get 10 piles?
Me: Do you mean ten piles of one hundred?
Son: Yes!
Me: Are you asking me how many seeds we would have if we had ten piles of 100?
Son: Yes.
This blew me away. Where'd this come from?
Me: Well, ten piles of one hundred seeds would mean we have a thousand seeds.
Son: A thousand??!!
Me: Yes.
Son: What if we had twenty?
Me: Twenty piles of 100 seeds?
Son: Yes.
Me: Well, what two numbers make twenty? Ten and...
Son: Ten!
Me: Right. So if ten piles make a thousand and another ten piles make a thousand, we would now have two th...
Son: ...ousand! 
Me: Right.
Son: What's 100 piles? 
Me: You mean, what's one hundred piles of one hundred? 
Son: Yea.
Me: That would be ten thousand.
My wife chimes in.
Wife: No. 
Me: One hundred piles of one hundred? Ten thousand.
Wife: Wait. You're right.
And our kids are now off in the other room playing and getting ready for going outside and looking at Halloween decorations before trick or treating. So many cool things happened:
  1. I love how we pursued my son's questions and not mine. 
  2. I love that he was fascinated by the word "thousand" even if it didn't make sense.
    1. Because he thinks a "hundred" is big.
  3. I love how we started with actual seeds (concrete) and went way more abstract.
  4. I love how my wife had the best estimate in the house [375 seeds].
  5. I love how the "pumpkin seeds" estimation challenge is just large enough so you can't accurately eyeball the amount and it's just small enough where it wouldn't take me an absurd amount of time to accurately count.
My wife and son watched the video answer this morning. My wife's response:
This is perfect for my [1st grade] students!

We paused the video when we saw ten groups of ten and paused it again when I made a larger pile of one hundred seeds. He struggled with making sense of final amount. 
Me: How would you say that number?
Son: Forty-eight eight? 
Me: How many piles of one hundred are there? 
Son: Four.
Me: So we say "four hundred" and let's count the piles of ten together. Ten, twenty,..
Together: thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty,  
Me: And. Wait. There are only eight in this last group. So we say eighty-eight. Four hundred eighty eight. Say that.
Son: Four hundred eighty eight.
Me: Great. Let's go make breakfast.
Here's the recipe again and some pictures of the process.
Ready for the oven.
Roasted and ready to eat!

P.S. Thanks to Christopher Danielson and all he does at #tmwyk!

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