Pumpkins are arguably the most iconic symbol of the Fall season. Even better, pumpkins are widely available in stores and homes. They are awesome when used in decor, recipes and halloween carving fun. This makes them a perfect object to incorporate into our lessons. Continue reading below for 5 fun pumpkin lessons for kids!
1. Scientific Procedure
First things first, if you have an untouched pumpkin, then you have the perfect object for a scientific investigation. Students can be introduced to the idea of a hypothesis in which they can take guesses as to what is inside the pumpkin. For example: “I think the pumpkin will have seeds inside of it, because most things that grow from the ground have seeds” OR “I think the pumpkin will be orange on the inside, because it is orange on the outside”. Students can also be asked to make scientific observations by noting the size, color, shape, texture and smell of the pumpkin. Afterwards, kids can (safely) examine the pumpkin on the inside and confirm their hypotheses and/or continue their observations. My daughter was amazing when we opened up our pumpkin!
2. Pumpkin Life Cycle
After the messy work of de-seeding the pumpkin, kids will be fascinating with this wonderful thing they just investigated. This is the perfect time to introduce them to a pumpkin’s life cycle. Students will love learning about the different phases of the pumpkin’s life, starting with the one tiny thing they’ve just discovered inside of it… the seed! I recommend first discussing the concept of seeds with students. Have a discussion about plant growth and the importance of soil and germination. Then, I recommend reading Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie (published by National Geographic Kids). Next, using the seeds the kids have just removed from the pumpkin, create pumpkin life cycles! My daughter colored the seeds with marker, but you could have your students paint them as well. Be warned, this can get messy (but that’s part of the fun).
3. A Pumpkin Story
Carving a face for your class (or home) pumpkin may just get kids’ creative writing juices flowing. This would be the perfect time to introduce a creative writing task. Have kids create a story featuring the pumpkin. To add some extra fun, have kids share and/or edit each other’s work. If each student has their own pumpkin, then they can pin their stories to their pumpkins, or leave them side-by-side on display. Be sure to use a story writing graphic organizer (like this one) to help kids achieve success.
4. Seed Math
If you’re looking to incorporate some Math criteria into your pumpkin lessons, addition is a great way to go. Using left-over seeds, have younger students create addition problems or give them pre-created addition problems. Get their little hands busy by having them glue the seeds into boxes, and count the seeds to find the sum. For older students, have them create arrays to solve multiplication problems, or use the seeds to demonstrate fractions.
5. Seed Art
If after all of your lessons, you still have plenty of seeds left over, considering using them for an art activity. The seeds would provide a different texture to the artwork. My daughter decided to create a pumpkin out of her seeds (creative, right?). We then dabbed the seeds with paint using a cotton ball.