PUMPKINS: 5 Easy Science Activities!

Autumn isn’t complete without a trip to the Pumpkin Patch!  We went this week with our local MOMS Club chapter, and the kids each got to pick a pumpkin out of the field.  They were so pumped about exploring their new treasures that I decided I would sacrifice a portion of my fall decor in the name of SCIENCEwww.stayathomescience.com-4.png

There are many great ways to use your pumpkin for early STEM learning! (STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Here are 5 fun STEM-skillbuilding activities that work well at home or in school:

1. Measuring Your Pumpkin

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Measurement is a hands on way to build early math skills!

(STEM Skills: Numbers and counting; Using tools; Collecting data; Estimating; Making a Hypothesis)

 

2. Pumpkin Sink or Float

(STEM Skills: Making and testing hypothesis)

  • Pumpkins are pretty heavy, but will they sink in water?  Have kids make a hypothesis about whether the pumpkin will float or sink.  Ask them to back up their guess with a reason (this is always the tough part!).
  • Place the pumpkin in a large bin of water and observe what happens!  (Pumpkins have a lot of air inside them, just like large boats, which makes them less dense than water, and therefore able to float.)
  • Check out the Titanic Game from StayatHomeScience.com for another fun Sink or Float activity!

3. Pumpkin Discovery and Sensory Learning

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Gooey pumpkin guts are fun to explore with all five senses!

(STEM Skills: Making observations;  Counting; Estimating)

 

  • Cut a hole in your pumpkin (you can open it from the top if you are planning to carve it, or open up the side for a different view).  Let the kids look and reach inside the pumpkin and make observations using their five senses.  (If you have a magnifying glass or microscope, they can explore in greater detail!)
  • If you hate the idea of messy pumpkin guts everywhere, you can place the innards in a gallon Ziplock to make a Sensory Bag!
  • Pull the seeds out of the pumpkin…either have kids count as they go or fill a jar and estimate the number of seeds inside!  (Roasted pumpkin seeds are a delicious snack that kids can help with by collecting and rinsing the seeds. This is my favorite savory method from Simplyrecipes.com.)

4. Pumpkin Volcanos

(STEM Skills: Chemistry; Making observations; Making a hypothesis; Manipulating variables; Forming a conclusion)

  • Turn the old baking soda and vinegar experiment into fall fun by turning your pumpkin into a volcano!  Baking soda reacts with vinegar in a chemical reaction that produces Carbon Dioxide gas in the form of bubbles.
  • You can produce a similar reaction by mixing baking soda and lemon juice.  Have the kids hypothesize which combination will make a larger reaction and then test it out!
  • If you are tired of the traditional baking soda and vinegar, you can make Fizzing Foam erupt out of your pumpkin instead!  Click here for the full FOAM instructions from StayatHomeScience.com.

5. The Decomposing Pumpkin

(STEM Skills: Biology; Making observations; Using tools)

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. rigelg says:

    At my house we do well with the “decomposing pumpkin” lesson. Add to that the “pumpkin plant sprouting out of the compost pile” lesson the following spring!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rachel says:

    These suggestions would be great for homeschooling families or I would like to see it happen even in preschool after the fall field trip.

    Like

    1. I agree that it would be perfect for a preschool class after the pumpkin patch! 😊 Thanks for your comment.

      Like

  3. Debby says:

    As a scientist, I cannot tell you how cool these ideas are. I wish I had thought of these when my kids were young. Always a great way to have fun while learning.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. crazylifewithlittles says:

    I love all these ideas. We’re heading to the pumpkin patch soon and will have to give these a try.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Flossie says:

    Oh, I totally love this post! I am all about making everyday activities at home with your kids fun AND educational, and the teacher in me can’t wait to do these with our kids!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. These are great ideas! I will have to use these. We bought pumpkins yesterday. Family project time!

    Like

  7. Karen Dennis says:

    I am always on the lookout for new and exciting things to do with children, so will definitely be trying some of these #happynow@_karendennis

    Liked by 1 person

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