Pumpkin Science

We hosted Take Action Tuesday in the park today, with 21 homeschool kids, 6 public school kids (one of the family’s was here on vacation from Chicago), plus parents.   We love to invite families who are already playing at the park to join us too.

Take Action Tuesday is a grass roots outreach to encourage physical activity, play, socialization, and lots of outdoor learning adventures for families.  Our learning programs focus in several key areas such as: Science, Life Skills, Sports and Games, and Community.  We truly believe that hands on learning outdoors is a key ingredient in growing up healthy children and strong families.  Please see other stories about this, posted here.

It was a gorgeous fall day with 72 degree temperatures, sunny skies, and a slight breeze.   We had kids of all ages and stages join in the fun.

Besides getting active with our families, playing and having lots of fun on the playground with our friends, we also did a fun pumpkin science program and learned a little about the various fall leaves on the ground in the park.

While the kids played, I set up two picnic tables with pumpkins, colored pencils, crayons, and worksheets….

… a sharp knife, plates, and a large scale.

We started off by having each of the kids collect 3 or 4 different fallen leaves in the park and bring them to the table.  We talked about the 4 seasons during the year, and that we are now in the Fall Season.  Children volunteered to show one of their leaves they collected and we matched it to a poster that had various leaves and names of what tree they came from.

Leaves from trees we identified today included:
Sugar Maple
White Oak
Black Cherry
Yellow Poplar

The kids were given a handout they could take home.  They were to place the handout over their leaf, and use a crayon or colored pencil to color the paper while it sits on top of the leaf.  The veins and outline of the leaf would show through their project.  There was also questions on the paper to identify what tree the leave comes from and several more observations.

Next, we discussed what is a pumpkin, how it grows, and made several observations about the life of pumpkins.  Several of the children have been to a pumpkin patch to pick a pumpkin, and some have grown pumpkins in their home gardens.  It is good for the children to share their personal experiences.

Today our goal is to have the kids compare two pumpkins with hands on learning activities, and answer the question “which one has more seeds?”.

We had Pumpkin 1 and their team, and Pumpkin 2 and their team.  Even though the teams did their own measurements and observations, the teams shared information about their pumpkin with the other team, so everyone had the information to fill in their worksheet and make the comparisons.

They compared these characteristics in the two pumpkins:
How many lines on the skin
Guess the number of seeds
Count the number of seeds

After making observations on the outside, we cut the top from the pumpkin so we could see the inside.

Now what do we see?  We can see all the parts of the pumpkin:

The kids were encouraged to use their observation skills to describe what they see, smell, and feel inside the pumpkin.

Each team removed the seeds from their pumpkin.

Next, they took their seeds out to the sidewalk and counted them by groups of tens.

Each child was asked to make piles or groups of ten seeds.

Then they counted by ten to learn how many seeds they had altogether.

The children wrote all their observations on their worksheets and compared the different characteristics of the two pumpkins.

The outcome:                              Pumpkin 1                                      Pumpkin 2
                      orange                                          orange
Height                                            10 inches                                      11 inches
Weight                                           16.8 lbs                                        17.4 lbs    
Circumference                                37 inches                                    38.5 inches
How many lines on the skin            21 lines                                        31 lines    
Shape                                            round                                            round
Guess the number of seeds            ??                                                 ??
Count the number of seeds            438                                               473

Though the pumpkins were similar in size, the children agreed the bigger pumpkin had more seeds.

Finally, we opened some store bought bags of roasted & salted pumpkin seeds for everyone to eat and see how delicious pumpkin seeds can be. (I did not have time to roast them myself before our meeting today, but it is a family favorite activity for us to do this each fall.) 

You can buy pumpkin seeds in the shell that have been roasted and salted; pumpkin seeds without the shell raw; and pumpkin seeds without the shell that have been roasted and salted.  You can also buy pumpkin seed nut butter (similar to peanut butter) and pumpkin seed oil for cooking, granola and trail mixes that include pumpkin seeds, and various seasoned pumpkin seed snacks.

Several families who participated today plan to roast some seeds at home in the oven to enjoy and further their learning.

We finished up with some more play time in the park.  It was such a beautiful fall day to be outdoors being active, learning, and playing together.

Stay tuned for more fun Fall Science and Pumpkin stories, with links to lots of free printables, coming soon!

This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
Science Sunday
ABC and 123
Play Academy
Raising Homemakers

Please share.
This entry was posted in Homeschool, PE and Outdoor Activity, Science on by .

About Melinda Weiser

I am a sinner, saved by grace. I am on a journey and offer to share my story with the hope that it will bless you. My one desire is to bring glory to my creator. I am a wife and the mother of 6 children, plus two in heaven. I enjoy homeschooling, research, teaching, homesteading, natural gardening, grass based farming, cooking, fresh raw milk, herbs, children, midwifery, and music. I am a writer, biblical mentor, and also work part time in the healthy foods and vitamin business www.weisernaturalfoods.com I have a BSW degree from Kansas State University, and trained professionally as a medical social worker, biblical counselor, tutor, and vocal performer. Thank you for stopping by to read about our homeschool and family life adventures. Be blessed!

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