Pumpkin Investigation

Fall is a wonderful season that lends so many possibilities to incorporate seasonal items into our classrooms. Fall is also pumpkin season and a pumpkin investigation is a great way for students to get hands-on and practicing science and math skills.

I plan a whole "Pumpkin Day" for our investigation but you could also spread it out over several days. 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.

Math Tasks:

  • Students estimate and measure the weight and volume of a pumpkin.

  • Students estimate and measure the height of a pumpkin. 

  • We work together to create a bar graph of where the class pumpkins were purchased.

  • Students estimate and count the number of seeds in our pumpkins. I teach them how to sort the seeds into groups of ten to count them more easily and accurately.

  • We work together as a class to create a graph of pumpkin prices.

Science Tasks:

  • We review the stages of a pumpkin life cycle and students cut and glue the stages of the life cycle in order. 

  • Students observe our class set of pumpkins and classify them and sort them by different properties, such as color, shape, or size.

  • Students observe and record the properties of the outside of their pumpkin. After the pumpkins are cut open, they observe and record the properties of the inside of their pumpkin.

  • As a class, we share and compare our classifications and properties of pumpkins. 

Students love spending the day with a pumpkin and it’s a great activity for Halloween that does not involve celebrating Halloween. I let 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 on Teachers Pay Teachers, HERE.

I love incorporating the holidays and seasons into my lessons and activities in meaningful ways. How do you celebrate the fall season in your classroom?