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Pumpkin Science

Tags: Class Ideas, Fall, Outdoor, All Grades, Science, Math, Cooking, Art

Time : 35 mins (This class can be done as 2 series class)

Author: Sameera Balay. This class has been adapted from 

Christina Bainbridge http://bainbridgeclass.blogspot.com/2011/10/pumpkin-observation-book-freebie.html

Outline

Greeting and Review
  • Start in the same space if possible for every class (ex: The Circle, Pond, Back benches)
  • Talk about Fall and review some of the notes at the bottom about Pumpkins. Ask what are the children’s favorite things about pumpkins
Main Lesson 
  • Pumpkin Observation and roasting pumpkin Seeds. You will observe if the pumpkin will sink or float, measure the height, weight, circumference and ribs on the pumpkin and do some creative tasks like drawing, design you pumpkin and finally count and roast the pumpkin seeds. You can do the class in two weeks. Activity 1 – Week 1 and Activity 2 – Week 2
Activity 1a 
  • Does the pumpkin sink/float, measure the height, weight, circumference and count the ribs and seeds in the pumpkin.
  • Materials Needed: Pumpkin, scale to weigh the pumpkin, tape measure, knife to cut the pumpkin, tub large enough for the pumpkin to fit, twine so the kids can approximate the height and circumference. 
Activity 1b
  • Water the garden using the water used to float/sink pumpkin experiment, Pumpkin carving or decoration
  • Materials Needed: Watering cans, Small pumpkins and decoration materials if you want to pumpkin decoration activity
Activity 2a 
  • Roast the pumpkin seeds  with different flavors and vote on the best flavor (Salty, Sweet, Spicy)
  • Materials Needed: Cleaned Pumpkin Seeds, Salt, Black Pepper, Maple Syrup, Baking trays, parchment paper/ foil, Oven, olive oil
Activity 2b
  • Draw a pumpkin and color, Draw your favorite book character as a pumpkin, Compost the pumpkin from previous week if it was carved.
  • Materials Needed: Printed worksheets, crayons/color pencils, 
Cleanup 
  • Activity 1 –  Put away all the tools used for measurements and watering cans. Ask the children to line up the watering cans in the shed.
  • Activity 2 – Put away the cooking utensils and art supplies. The children can help put away the art supplies and compost the plates/napkins used to taste the pumpkin seeds
Goodbye
  • 2-3 minutes to say goodbye. Including a pumpkin song sung to “Ring around the Rosie” at the bottom

Ex: sing a goodbye song or give high fives to children on their way out. 

External References Christina Bainbridge http://bainbridgeclass.blogspot.com/2011/10/pumpkin-observation-book-freebie.html

http://www.everythingpreschool.com/themes/pumpkins/songs.htm

https://www.wonderopolis.org/wonder/do-pumpkins-float-or-sink

Worksheets(Please email the worksheet separately) PumpkinObservation

This class can be done as a series in 2-3 weeks depending on what you can accomplish in each week. In one of the classes we did it in three weeks by baking small pumpkin pies and tasting them outside while enjoying the fall weather. Please use individual worksheets sheets if students don’t need supervision writing on their own.

ACTIVITY 1a: Experiment and Observe the pumpkin

  • Ask the kids to hypothesize if the pumpkin floats or sinks. Conduct the experiment by doing it in front of the kids and see if the hypothesis was true or false. You will need to fill a big enough container with water to fit the pumpkin. I would choose a medium size pumpkin and a clear tub/bucket. If the container is not clear ask the kids to come observe individually. If you are ambitious try different size pumpkins. They all float. (https://www.wonderopolis.org/wonder/do-pumpkins-float-or-sink). This is activity 1 in the booklet 
  • Measure the pumpkin – height, weight, ribs, circumference of the pumpkin. With older kids you can do hypothesis and observe the results of the hypothesis. The children can approximate the circumference using a twine. You can ask the children to use the twine to approximate the circumference and cut it. In the end they can come up and measure to see which twine was closer to the actual. This is activity 2 in the booklet.
  • Cut the pumpkin and wash the seeds. If time permits count the seeds in the garden or they can do it as an activity in their classroom with the teacher. Send the seeds with the teacher. Before you do the actual counting ask the children to approximate the seeds in the pumpkin. This is activity 5 in the booklet.

ACTIVITY 1b : Water and Pumpkin Carving

  • Water the garden with the water used to experiment the pumpkin sink/float. You can use the water to wash the seeds and then wash them again. The children learn the concept of reusing water for different purposes.
  • If you plan on carving the pumpkin then carve the pumpkin and place it in the garden or compost the pumpkin once you have taken out all the seeds.

ACTIVITY 2a : Roast Pumpkin Seeds

  • Roasting Pumpkin Seeds – You can divide the pumpkin seeds from Activity 1a or get more pumpkin seeds and divide them into three groups and roast them.
    • Salty (Mix all together)
      • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
      • 1 – ½ TBSP olive oil
      • Salt to taste
    • Sweet (Mix all together)
      • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
      • 1 – ½ TBSP olive oil
      • 2 TBSP maple syrup or brown sugar
    • Spicy (Mix all together)
      • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
      • 1 – ½ TBSP olive oil
      • ¼ – ½ TSP Black Pepper

Line baking sheets with parchment paper and layer the different mixtures of pumpkin seeds in a thin layer and bake for 15-20mins at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Cool and ask them to taste and vote on their preferences.

ACTIVITY 2b : Draw and Describe Pumpkins

  • While the pumpkin seeds are roasting you can ask the children to do language arts activity preferably outside so they can enjoy the fall weather.
  • Draw a pumpkin and ask them to use adjectives to describe the pumpkins they drew. Activity 3 in the booklet.
  • Ask them to draw their favorite book character as a pumpkin. 

Let them play with their imaginations.

ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES (Include additional activities)

  1. For older kids talk on why pumpkins float and you can also discuss the Archimedes principle. https://www.wonderopolis.org/wonder/do-pumpkins-float-or-sink You can introduce concepts of density, buoyancy, force, displacement and Archimedes principle. “How do the big ships float?”
  2. You can get small pumpkins and let each kid decorate the pumpkin with markers, glue and glitter, etc.,
  3. Carve a pumpkin
  4. Smell and taste herbs from the herb garden.

CLEANUP & GOODBYE (Include Cleanup and Goodbye)

  • Set a timer (on your phone or on a watch the clock) 10 minutes or so before the end of class to gather the class and organize the space. 
  • Allot 5-8 mins for any cleanup – put away supplies, tools, clean dishes, wipe down tables etc.
  • Allot 2-3 minutes to say goodbye. Try ending class in the same space each class,  if you can. Depart with an informal goodbye of your choice, a song, a poem, a high five as they walk out the door, etc.

References

Christina Bainbridge http://www.bainbridgeclass.blogspot.com

https://www.wonderopolis.org/wonder/do-pumpkins-float-or-sink

https://www.browneyedbaker.com/how-to-roast-pumpkin-seeds

http://www.everythingpreschool.com/themes/pumpkins/songs.htm

Worksheet Links

Christina Bainbridge http://bainbridgeclass.blogspot.com/2011/10/pumpkin-observation-book-freebie.html

Additional Information

A pumpkin is an orange fruit harvested in October, this nutritious and versatile plant features flowers, seeds and flesh that are edible and rich in vitamins. Pumpkin is used to make soups, desserts and breads, and many Americans include pumpkin pie in their Thanksgiving meals.

Carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns is a popular Halloween tradition that originated hundreds of years ago in Ireland. Back then, however, jack-o’- lanterns were made out of turnips or potatoes; it wasn’t until Irish immigrants arrived in America and discovered the pumpkin that a new Halloween ritual was born.

Pumpkins are a member of the gourd family, which includes cucumbers, honeydew melons, cantaloupe, watermelons and zucchini. These plants are native to Central America and Mexico, but now grow on six continents.

Pumpkins are low in calories, fat and sodium and high in fiber. They are good sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, potassium, protein and iron.

Pumpkin seeds should be planted between the last week of May and the middle of June. They take between 90 and 120 days to grow and are picked in October when they are bright orange in color. Their seeds can be saved to grow new pumpkins the next year.

An average pumpkin contains about 500 seeds which are a great source of protein. There are 30 varieties of pumpkins but the one we carve for Halloween is the Connecticut Field Pumpkin.

Ring Around the Pumpkin Song 

Sung to “Ring around the Rosie (http://www.everythingpreschool.com/themes/pumpkins/songs.htm)

Put a pumpkin on the floor and sing:

Ring around the Pumpkin, 

Pocket full of nuts,

Leaves, leaves,

They all fall down.

 

Continue by adding new movements as we danced and sang around a pumpkin.

 

March around the pumpkin,

pocket full of nuts,

leaves, leaves,

they all fall down.

 

Stomp around the pumpkin,

pocket full of nuts,

leaves, leaves,

they all fall down.

 

Tip-toe around the pumpkin,

pocket full of nuts,

leaves, leaves,

they all fall down.

 

Jump around the pumpkin,

pocket full of nuts,

leaves, leaves,

they all fall down.

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