It’s Pumpkin Investigation Day!
Picture this: rows of pumpkins of all shapes, colors, and sizes lining the shelves in your classroom. Students begin buzzing, “look at that big one!”, “that one is mine!”, “that one is so bumpy!”
Excitement is in the air. Pumpkin Day is here!
Fall is a wonderful season that lends so many possibilities to incorporate seasonal items into our classrooms. Fall is pumpkin season and a pumpkin investigation is a great way for students to get hands-on and practice math and science skills.
Celebrate Fall with a Pumpkin Day
Plan a “Pumpkin Investigation Day” (or a “Pumpkin Investigation Week”) to investigate pumpkins and practice important math and science skills.
For Pumpkin Day, each student is encouraged to bring in their own pumpkin to use. I send a note home to families requesting pumpkins. I also seek out pumpkin donations from local pumpkin vendors. If you don’t have enough pumpkins, students or groups can easily share a pumpkin.
Before we begin our Pumpkin Investigation, I cut the tops off all of the pumpkins (I enlist parent volunteers to help) and just place the cut tops back on top of the pumpkins.
I use a student recording booklet for students to record answers, observations, and answer questions about the tasks. I project the pages on the board as we go through the investigation.
Pumpkin Math Tasks
There are so many math tasks to use with a pumpkin. Students can estimate, measure, weigh, count ribs, count seeds, and more.
For our Pumpkin Day, I have students:
- Estimate and measure the volume of a pumpkin
Estimate and measure the weight of a pumpkin (I bring in a large bathroom scale for this task)
- Estimate and measure the height of a pumpkin
- Estimate and count the number of seeds in a pumpkin (I teach my students how to sort the seeds into groups of ten to count them more easily and accurately)
- Work together as a class to create a bar graph of pumpkin prices and where they were purchased
Pumpkin Science Tasks
There are also so many hands-on science activities your students can do with a pumpkin. And letting your kids get their hands inside a pumpkin? Messy, good fun!
For our Pumpkin Day science tasks my students:
- Students observe and record the properties of the outside of their pumpkins. They can observe the physical properties of color, texture, size, and shape, Students make a quick sketch and color their pumpkin.
- Students observe and record the properties of the inside of their pumpkins. Students can observe the color, texture, smell, and shape of the inside of the pumpkin. Students make a quick sketch and color the inside of how their pumpkin looks.
- As a class, we share and compare our classifications and properties of pumpkins and record the classifications to create a “properties of pumpkins” anchor chart. Students record the chart in their own pumpkin investigation booklet.
- We review the stages of a pumpkin life cycle and students cut and glue the stages of the life cycle in order.
Students love spending the day with a pumpkin. it’s also a great activity for Halloween that does not involve actually celebrating Halloween.
My students bring their pumpkins home at the end of the day to carve a jack-o-lantern with their families OR we put our pumpkins in our school garden and observe the decomposition. We always get new pumpkin plants in our garden!
I’ve created a pdf of my family letter, teacher instructions, and a pumpkin investigation booklet and it’s available HERE.
I love incorporating the holidays and seasons into my lessons and activities in meaningful ways. Getting hands-on and learning with a pumpkin makes math and science so much fun!
Interested in more hands-on science and math holiday activities?
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