Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Perspehone's Pomegranate

Illustration:  Kris Waldherr
After reading and thinking about Persephone and her choice to eat the pomegranate in the underworld, we decided to do our own investigations into the "food of the dead."  
As with our sunflower stem dissection, we made observations about the exterior of the fruit 
and then moved to conjectures about what we would find on the inside once we'd cut into it.  

K:  I remember that it was the "food of the dead."
D:  I know that because it was in the underworld.
Why do you think it was called the "food of the dead?"
N:  Maybe because it's red and red is sometimes considered....
D/O (together): ...blood.
N:  Like fire, or sometimes [red] means evil things.
K:  I think it's the food of the dead because it's so tasty and people wouldn't want to eat it.
L:  Hades dipped them in the river [Styx].

First, the students examined the pomegranate and drew pictures 
of what they thought they might find inside.  Many of them had actually eaten pomegranates before, so they shared their experiences with those who had not.

Sketching preliminary ideas

We divided the class up into two groups - each had their own pomegranate.  The first pomegranate oozed bright red juice when we cut into it.  Many of the students made a connection - maybe the red juice reminded the ancient Greeks of blood, and perhaps that is why it was considered to be the food of the dead.

Like Persephone, F. finds the food of the dead irresistible!

The other group found that their pomegranate did not have bright red juice inside.  Its seeds were very pink, as was the juice.  Many found these seeds to taste sweeter than those of the other pomegranate.
B. enjoys her pomegranate treat next to her lovely pink pomegranate picture

After opening the pomegranate at her table, K. reviewed her preliminary sketches of what she thought she'd find inside, and analyzed the results of her studies:

And all the seeds - all the fruit of our labors - were quickly eaten up! 

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