Information provided for classroom use only; not for publication. 2002


Wild About Watermelons!

Watermelons ... a sweet, drippy, juicy way to learn!  ;)  So let's start out with some watermelon facts:

Watermelon Facts:
* Watermelons are more than 90% water.  That's how it got its name!
* For that reason, in ancient times travelers used them as a source of transportable water.
* They probably originated in Africa, but are now grown around the world.
* They are part of the gourd family.
* They grow on a vine and must be replanted yearly.
* Most people consider them to be a fruit, but horticulturists consider them a vegetable.
* They vary in size and shape.  The Japanese recently even developed a SQUARE watermelon!
* The outside of the watermelon is the rind.
* Inside the watermelon you'll find the flesh (the stuff you eat), and seeds.
* Watermelons can be different colors inside and out, as well as the amount of seeds that they contain.
* Most watermelons weigh from 5 - 40 pounds, but some get as large as 100 pounds. 
* The 1996 Guiness Book of Records lists the largest watermelon as being 262 pounds!
* The seeds (like the pumpkin's seeds) can also be roasted and eaten.
* Some people use the watermelon rind for making preserves, pickles, or relish.
* That makes the whole watermelon edible!

* The Enormous Watermelon ~ Brenda Parkes & Judith Smith
* Watermelon Day ~ Kathi Appelt
* The Berenstain Bears & the Missing Watermelon Money (Step Into Reading Book - Step 2) ~ Stan & Jan Berenstain
* The Berenstain Bears & the Double Dare ~ Stan & Jan Berenstain
* Down by the Bay (Wright Group publications)
* One Watermelon Seed ~ Celia B. Lottridge
* Chestnut Cove ~ Tim Egan

Vocabulary Words:  2nd Grade Vocabulary Words for Watermelon Day by Kathi Appelt

*vocabulary word "knelt" is misspelled*

Harcourt Trophies Vocabulary Words

These vocabulary words created and shared by Sara Tomon

Vocabulary Words

Bulletin Board:  "Take a Bite Out of _______" (Kindergarten, First Grade, The New School Year, Summer)  Use a red & white checked tablecloth as your background, with red/white/green/black border or any of those colors layered.  If you want the bulletin board up for the beginning of the year, create either of the art projects below, program each slice with a student's name and add them to the bulletin board.  Then add some black, construction paper or plastic ants and you're ready to go.  Once the children arrive, they can tell/write something they enjoyed during the summer and it could either be written on the slice itself (flesh or rind), or written on a paper napkin and attached.  Or, if using the bulletin board during the school year, have your students create the watermelon slices.

Watermelon Art Project: Cut one of those cheapy paper plates in half.  Paint the rim of the plate green to resemble the rind.  If desired, smear a strip of white obove the green (and it's OK if the two mix).  Let that dry, then paint the rest of the plate red.  Glue watermelon seeds inside the red area.  Sprinkle the red paint with salt before drying.
(if you need a visual, look at the picture on down this  page)

Another Watermelon Art Project:  Cut a large watermelon slice shape out of dark green construction paper, then cut one slightly smaller out of light green (or white), and a still smaller red one.  Glue these to resemble a slice of watermelon.  Stamp black fingerprints to represent seeds, or glue on real watermelon seeds. 

TLC Ant Art Project: Because watermelons are all that they are (sweet, juicy, and drippy with LOTS of seeds), they are most often eaten outdoors.  And because of that, ants ALWAYS want to be invited to dine as well.  So this would be a great unit to include the TLC Ant. 

Another Ant Project: Because many of my SPED students have visual perception/spacial problems, we do activities similar to the TLC projects, but I provide them the pattern pieces to cut out and assemble.  Even using this simple method, we have some strange looking finished projects sometimes! :) (pattern)

I provide the students with the pattern pieces, and they cut them out and assemble them.  But, before I hand them any materials,  I take a copy of the pattern(s) myself and proceed to cut them out.   As I cut, I talk about the process of cutting and I hold the pieces where they can see what I'm doing as I cut.  I tell/show them ahead of time what line(s) they're supposed to cut on and how many pieces they should have when they get finished cutting them all out.  Then once everything is cut out, I start laying out the pieces on the paper as we discuss how they should be assembled and why they should be assembled in a certain order.  Once I get them layed out, then we discuss how I'm going to go back and glue everything down.  Then the finished product is placed on the board for them to use as a model when completing their own project.

This process would probably be over-simplified for many students, but as I said before, even with this kind of modeling and the model to use as a guide, many of my students still have difficulties with these kinds of projects.  They have difficulty visualizing the finished project in the defined area of their workspace, as well the assembly of the actual finished product.  That's why we lay everything out ahead of time so that they can tell where they need to start working so that half their project isn't hanging off the edges of the paper.  I'm sure I would get better results if I had them complete their project as I completed mine, but I'd like for them to be able to follow directions AND be able to problem-solve on their own.  Plus, normally I don't have the time it would take for the whole group to complete a project like this together.  Some of my students are very, very, very, very slow!  And my slowest student would cry if we attempted to move on before she'd finished.

The Watermelon Song
(Tune: Frere Jacques)

Watermelon, watermelon,
Tastes so yummy, tastes so yummy,
Green on the outside,
Red on the inside,
With black seeds, with black seeds.
~ Author Unknown

Watermelon Song
(Tune: Are You Sleeping?)

Watermelon, watermelon,
See how it drips, see how it drips.
Up and down my elbow, up and down my elbow,
Spit out the seeds, (phooey!)
Spit out the seeds. (phooey!)
~ Author Unknown
(I took the liberty of changing "pits" to "seeds")

Slices by the Inches: Measuring sheet (Worksheet Magazine, Grade 1, April/May/June 1991)
Note: Worksheet Magazine is now Teacher's Helper.  I add these older resources for those schools like ours that archive all those teacher resource books.  We have them back to the '80s I believe.) 

Watermelon Slices: Open sheet (Worksheet Magazine, Grade 1, April/May/June 1991)

Watermelon Punctuation: Ending punctuation (Teacher's Helper, Grade 1, Sept/Oct 1997)

Watermelon Counting:  Make this fun counting activity to reinforce counting 1 - 20 (or whatever's appropriate for your students).  You will be using those cheapy, white paper plates again.  :)  Follow the directions given in the first Watermelon Art Project at the top of the page.  When they're completely dry, use a Sharpie marker to program each watermelon slice with a number.  Use scalloping scissors to cut out a "bite."  Students count out watermelon seeds to match the number and place them on the slice.  (I always clean and save watermelon seeds each summer to be used in activities like this.  After you've washed the seeds, spread them on a newspaper or paper towel and let them dry for a few days.  You want to make absolutely sure that all the moisture has been removed from the seeds before storing them or they will mold.) 

Of course, you can't do a Watermelon Unit without actually eating watermelon!  But before you cut it, you have some great opportunities to introduce/explore/reinforce those math skills.  So before you cut it ......

Graph:  Use a T-Graph and have your students indicate whether or not they like watermelon, or if they don't know, if they THINK they'll like watermelon.  A T-Graph can be set up in many ways.  You can simply use a piece of chart paper and make a huge capital T on it.  The question, "Do you like watermelon?" would be written on the top of the T.  "Yes" would be written underneath the top of the T on one side, and "No" would be written under the top of the T on the other side.  Then students could simply use a marker or crayon to write their name under "Yes" or "No", depending on their answer.

If you're attaching the graph to a magnetic surface, the students' names could be written on a card or something with a magnet attached to the back.  Then they could just place their name in the appropriate column starting at the top.

Another way would be to cut a large T shape out of posterboard.  Write the question at the top, "Yes" or "No" underneath, and the students' names on wooden clothes pins.  Then they just clip their pin to the appropriate side of the graph.

An additional graphing activity would be to have the sudents graph whether or not they'd like red or yellow, seeded, or seedless watermelon best.  For the color graph, have them tape a red or yellow watermelon slice in the appropriate column.  For the seeds/seedless graph, you could have LARGE pre-cut watermelon seeds and then those same seeds glued on to a card with a red circle around them and a slash through the circle (like the no smoking icon, but with a watermelon seed instead of a cigarette .. :)   )  Graph the same as the colors.

An alternative to graphing on chart paper is graphing in a pocketchart.  I LOVE to use pocketcharts, so I come up with lots of ways to use them.  You can use them the same way as the T-Graph, but write the question on a sentence strip and place it on the top row.  Then write "yes" and "no" on 3x5 index cards and place them appropriately underneath the question.  The students could write their own names on additional 3x5 cards and place them in the pocketchart underneath the correct response.

To graph the color/seeds, set the graph up from bottom to top (however, you could do top to bottom if you preferred).  Glue one of each colored watermelon slice/seed picture to a card, or write the color word/seed/seedless on a card (this differentiates your watermelon slices/seeds from the students' so as not to confuse them).  Then place number cards (3x5 cards cut in half) going UP the left hand side of the rows.  Students indicate their preferences by placing their name card in the correct column starting at the bottom. 

Since there will be only 9 rows left for the students to indicate their preferences, if you have a large class or a majority of answers all the same, you may have to double up the name cards in each row.  If your students are ready, this would be a perfect time to introduce/reinforce times when graphs use pictures to stand for 2 or more instead of just one thing.  You can also use this teachable moment to introduce/reinfore counting by 2s or putting those basic multiplication facts to real life use.

One last graphing activity would be to have them graph whether or not they think a watermelon will float or sink?  I bet you'll get me surprised oohs and aaahs out of this one once you actually conduct "the experiment"! :)  But not just yet! .....

Estimate: Have your students estimate how many seeds they think is inside the watermelon and write their estimation on a slip of paper along with their name.  Place these in a container and hold on to them for a while. 

Then, have your students estimate how big around they think it is by cutting a length of yarn to show their estimation.  Have them hold on to their yarn for a bit.  :)

Next, have them estimate how heavy they think the watermelon is and write down their estimate on another slip of paper.  Put this in a seperate container.

Now that they've graphed and estimated everything we could think of dealing with a watermelon, it's time to let them experience each process.

Experiment:  Fill a large tub or sink with water.  Discuss the results of the sink/float graph.  Then put the watermelon into the water.  Discuss why they think it floats.  Could it be that the watermelon itself is more than 90% water!?!  :)  Now go back and look at your graph again.  Reward all those right with a watermelon flavored Jolly Rancher or another watermelon flavored treat!  Then ask them why they chose their answer.

Weigh: Now graph the results of the weight estimation and discuss the results.  Then weigh the watermelon.  Review the estimations by the students on the graph.  Discuss who estimated correctly (if anyone), who was the closest, who was the furthest off, etc.  Then give those who estimated correctly, (or if no one) then those who were close, a Jolly Rancher as well.

Measure: Use a tape measure to measure the size of the watermelon.  Discuss why you used a tape measure instead of a ruler or yardstick.  Discuss as well how you could have used any length of something flexible (belt, ribbon, yarn, string, twine, rope, etc.) to measure it.  Then tape the tape measure on the board or a chart, making sure to indicate in a big way the size of the watermelon (ex. a piece of red tape at 23" if that's how big it is).  Then have the students either come up individually and measure their yarn against the length of the tape, or measure their yarn with a tape measure, and then record their answers on a graph.  Once everyone's yarn had been measured and the results graphed, discuss the results of the graph.  Of course, reward the person who estimated correctly, or close, with a Jolly Rancher. 

Then you might want to give the students an opportunity to practice measuring the watermelon using other non-standard units of measurement (paper clips, linking chain, etc).  They may also want to explore measuring the height or length using Unifix cubes, blocks, and even rulers or yardsticks.

And the time has finally come to ... CUT THE WATERMELON! :)

Taste: If you did all the graphs mentioned, then you'll need to have a "watermelon tasting."  You'll need to provide each student with a paper plate divided into 4 sections, or fourths.  On the rim of each section of the plate, write one descriptive word per section: red, yellow, seeds, seedless.  You'll also need to decide a head of time which watermelon you're going to use to count the seeds.  Then provide each student a tasting of each kind of watermelon in each of their sections.  Make sure to tell them to save their seeds in the appropriate section.  First, have them taste both the red and then the yellow watermelon.   Record on a chart their preference.  Then have them taste the seeded and seedless watermelon.  Record their preference here as well.  Last, gather up the seeds from the chosen section and place them in a container.  Then how you proceed in letting them partake of the rest of the watermelon is totally up to you ... just remember to save the seeds from the chosen watermelon.

Once the watermelon eating is finished, it's time to count those seeds!  Have the children work together to remove all the seeds from the watermelon that you chose to use for counting and don't forget to add the ones in the container.  The children can count the seeds into tiny cups, 10 seeds to a cup.  You can either leave them divided this way, or when 10 cups are full, combine them into a 100 cup.  When they've finished removing and counting the seeds, help them to use counting by 10s or 100s, addition, or multiplication to figure up how many seeds the watermelon contained.  Record the answer.

Now it's time to go back and look at the answers that were last recorded and compare them to the graphs that were done in the beginning.  Of course, reward those who's answers were the closest on estimating the number of seeds in the watermelon.  After all that watermelon, they'll probably want to save their watermelon Jolly Rancher for later! :)

Additional ways to use those watermelon seeds ...

Watermelon Seed-Spitting Contest:  Have a seed-spitting contest and then let the students practice measuring how far their seeds went.

Letter W: Use the watermelon seeds to create a tactile W.  Provide each student with a W (capital/lowercase/or both).  Put a stream of glue on top of the W.  Students add the watermelon seeds to form the W and let dry.


Letter W Reinforcement:  Plant watermelon seeds in wheelbarrows and add worms.  Collect enough laundry scoops so that each child will have one.  Have them fill the scoop 3/4 full with potting soil, then plant the watermelon seed(s).  Water lightly.  Hot-glue macaroni wheels, large buttons, or milk tops to each side for wheels.  A candy or plastic worm can be added coming out of the soil.  Once the watermelon plants start to grow, send them home to be transplanted.


click on image to enlarge


New! 5.21.06

Grow Your Own Watermelon:


Sequencing: Use the pictures from the page above to create sequencing picture cards, print on cardstock, color and laminate.  Have the students sequence the pictures or match to the correct sentence strip and sequence in a pocketchart.

Additional sites and links:
Watermelons @ The Teacher's Bookbag


Watermelon Day

Addie's Wonderful Watermelon Unit

Watermelon Coloring Page

Watermelon Shape Book

Watermelon Math 101

Watermelon Bookmarks

The Enormous Watermelon

Preschool Printables: File Folder Watermelon Numbers


Watermelon Glyph






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