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Teaching AI Prompting to Students Through Halloween Pumpkin Carving Contest

I love a good Halloween themed lesson (see previous lessons here). I think it is a great opportunity to take a little break from the current standards or unit you are focusing on, and try something a little whimsical.


That's why this year I am offering a lesson on developing strong AI image prompts through a "Pumpkin Carving Contest," I think this lesson could be adapted to a wide range of ages and used in many content areas.


If you've never discussed AI with your students, consider starting with a conversation on safety, bias, and misinformation, check out my unit plan on Digital Citizenship in the Age of AI.


If you are looking to do more, check out my unit plans on Introduction to AI for English and Art classes, or my FREE guide to all things AI: The AI Teacher. Happy Halloween!


AI Pumpkin Carving Contest



Learning Objective: Students will engage in iterative design, refining AI-generated pumpkin images until satisfaction, while also exploring the cultural history of pumpkin carving and participating in peer-voting.



1. Introduction:

  • Discuss the History

    • Dive into the tale of "Stingy Jack" and how carving turnips, and later pumpkins, became a tradition to deter spirits according to Irish folklore.

    • Explain how this tradition was adapted and popularized in America with pumpkins.

  • Understanding the Contest

    • Unveil that they will be partaking in a pumpkin carving contest, using an AI tool to create their pumpkins and subsequently voting for their favorites.

    • Clarify that the focus is on refinement: they’ll iterate their designs to get closer to their intended emotional expression.

    • Provide you class with a Google Slide deck, where each student has their own slide (consider putting student names on their slides beforehand or assigning students slide numbers).


2. Demonstration:

  • Teaching AI with the "Help Me Visualize" Tool

    • Teaching with AI: Demonstrate using the AI "Help Me Visualize" tool on Google Slides, emphasizing iterating and refining: show how making small changes in inputs can alter the output.

Teaching students to refine their AI prompt

  • Encourage them to think critically about what they want to change to bring their design closer to their vision using the PREP method for prompting AI.


Using the PREP method to teach AI prompting

  • Uploading to Google Slides and Voting

    • Illustrate how to upload their final pumpkin image to a shared Google Slides deck, consider asking students to put their prompt in the "notes" section and reflect on their process.

    • Once all the student have an image on their slide, explain the voting process: placing a tally mark in the notes section of slides to vote for their favorite pumpkins.


3. Pumpkin Display and Voting:

  • Presentations

    • Students briefly present their pumpkin, sharing about their design process, challenges, and how they overcame them through refinement.

  • Congratulate all participants and announce the top-voted pumpkins.

4. Wrap-Up and Cross-Curricular Discussion:

  • AI Across Content Areas

    • Invite students to brainstorm how the AI image generation tool could be applied in whichever content areas they’re currently studying (e.g., creating visuals in Science or Historical Figures in Social Studies).

    • Initiate a discussion about the potentials and limitations of AI in those applications.

  • Importance of Prompts

    • Explore a conversation about the pivotal role of prompts in utilizing AI effectively. Emphasize how clear and precise instructions yield better-aligned results.

    • Share examples of vague versus clear prompts and discuss the different results they might produce.


If you are looking for more lessons on how to introduce AI to your students, check out my unit plans on Digital Citizenship in the Age of AI and Introduction to AI for English and Art classes, or my FREE guide to all things AI: The AI Teacher.

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