Pump Up Your Pumpkin Lessons this October

October is a great time to make this super-fruit the center of your lessons on observation, measurement, problem solving, seeds and growth, and more. For these activities, you will need one to two large pumpkins. Let’s start by introducing students to the pumpkin with their senses.

Sensory Boxes
You will need:

  • Fresh/raw pumpkin seeds
  • Cooked or store-bought pumpkin seeds
  • 4 shoe boxes with lids or empty tissue boxes
  • Scissors (to cut holes in boxes, not necessary if you use tissue boxes)
  • Tape (to keeps lids closed, not necessary if you use tissue boxes)
  • Blind fold or bandanna
  • Put fresh/raw pumpkin seeds in 3 of the 4 boxes and label them:

Smell – Poke small holes in this box so that the students can smell the contents, but not see inside the box  
Touch – Cut a hand-sized hole in this box. Have the children put their hands in the box and feel the slimy/wet seeds  
Sound – No holes necessary on this box. Tape the lid onto this box extra tight. Instruct the students to rattle and shake the box.  
Taste – Add cooked or store-bought seeds to this box. Cut a hand-sized hole in the box. Blind fold students and hand them a pumpkin seed to eat (know your students’ allergies before allowing them to participate in this box).  
Sight – for a unique and fun challenge, skip sight. Students will all get to use sight in the next activity.

  1. Have students sense only one box each. Allow a handful of students to sense all four boxes. This will add to your discussion later and improve students’ understanding of their senses.
  2. After each student senses their assigned box, have them return to their desk and write down their guesses. Even have them draw a picture of their guess.
  3. When the students have made their guesses, discuss what they felt, smelled, tasted, and heard. Encourage them to use descriptive words—sticky, cold, salty, crunchy, rattle, etc.
  4. Ask students why they guessed what they guessed. Use this opportunity to dive into a deeper discussion on the five senses. 

Tip: You could even create four stations, one for each sense, with each box and a set of instructions. Send groups of students around to each station. Students should make notes and discuss what they hear, feel, smell, and taste at each station. Through the power of observation they should be able to draw conclusions as to what they’ve observed. Discuss further as a class. 

Pump up your pumpkin science lessons with this sensory activity from @remediapub
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Pumpkin Projects
Now that students have experienced the pumpkin with their other senses including sight. Let them see the pumpkin.

  • Ask them to guess how many lines the pumpkin has. Count the lines with them.
  • Cut open the top of a pumpkin. Let all of the children observe the inside and describe it.
  • Have students help you clean out the pumpkin and separate the seeds on newspapers.
  • Put any amount of seeds in a jar. Have students guess how many seeds are inside the jar. Have them write down their estimates.
  • Have students plant a few of the seeds in clear cups so that they can watch them grow. Display the growing seeds in a prominent place. Have student draw the plant’s progress each day.
  • Dip dried pumpkin seeds in bowls of food coloring. Then let them dry. Have students use these in their next math activity or art project.
  • If you plan to carve the pumpkin, have students draw the face they would like you to carve. Then take a vote.

Pumpkin Reads

  • Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington
  • The Vanishing Pumpkin by Tony Johnston
  • The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons
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