A Cut Above the Rest

The first annual life science pumpkin decorating contest resulted in clever creations of a cell diagram, a metaphorical pumpkin food chain and a candy corn hedgehog, among many others. The event for seventh-grade students was held the week of October 26.

The contest was the brainchild of middle school science teacher Dana McNamee. “I’ve been trying to find new and creative ways for the students to engage with the course, whether remote or in person. Some ways are easier than others, and I know that almost every kid loves carving pumpkins around Halloween! It seemed like a clear winner to connect this regular tradition with the theme of life science for our course,” she said.

* Click here to view a photo gallery of the pumpkins

Azariah Charles focused on many different facets of life science and incorporated multiple themes.

“I wanted to do something spooky, but also, since I’m female, I wanted to represent that with the xx chromosomes,” Charles said. “Also, I was inspired by our talk at the beginning of the year about ocean exploration, and that’s why I added the ocean. I didn’t want to leave out the earth science animals, so that’s why I added the earth with worms and bats to the top. I would describe my pumpkin as very diverse.”

Sarelle Ruby enjoyed the communal aspect of the contest and noted the carving process was actually quite difficult.  

“I really enjoyed seeing the other classes (and their pumpkins),” Ruby said. “It was really fun to carve the pumpkin, but some parts were really hard and in places got too thin.”

McNamee was impressed with how much thought and creativity went into the carvings.

”I left the parameters wide intentionally, with the only rules that they must use real pumpkins and they must decorate or carve something within the realm of life science,” McNamee said.

Students voted for their favorites in a handful of different categories. Check out the winners below! 

Best Remote Pumpkin: Alex Kritzer (spider theme with spider skeletorus)
Most Creative: Julian Carnavali (pumpkin food chain)
Most Funny: Sofia Camacho (cat’s behind)
Most Spooky: Alex Kritzer 
Best in Show: Lorelei Gary (the hedgehog)
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