All About Pumpkins {Simple Science for Primary Classrooms}

Boy looking at conical flasks in classroom

I love teaching science!  Seriously, it’s just so much fun!  My first graders truly believe that most of science is magic, so they are easily impressed.  The other thing I love about teaching science though simple, hands on investigations is that it reaches a completely different type of student.  You know the little faces that struggle with decoding words and can’t seem to remember the random symbols we assign to represent numbers?  Science gives them an opportunity to enjoy school and find success!

So…I’m sharing some of my favorite simple science activities!

Up first…

Pumpkin header

‘Tis the season for all things pumpkin!

During our pumpkin taste test yesterday one of my girls exclaimed, “Don’t you just love pumpkin spiced lattes?  I know I do!”  hahaha  Starting them young, I guess (and for the record, I don’t actually like pumpkin spiced lattes…it’s basically the only type of coffee that I won’t drink).

Because of my schedule, I spread this investigation out over the course of a week, but you could easily have pumpkin day!

pumpkin and apple

venn diagram

I usually teach apples and pumpkins back to back, so we started with a a Venn Diagram comparing apples and pumpkins.

pumpkins float

floating pumpkins

Talk about an amazing bit of science!  You would not believe my kids faces when they saw the pumpkins floating!  How could something so big actually float?!?  They all had to touch the pumpkin and watch it pop back up in the water just to make sure I wasn’t playing some kind of trick on them!

We learned the big time scientist word “density,” which basically means that there is more air in the pumpkin than in the water.

The next day we measured our pumpkin.

unifix cube measuring

We used unifix cubes to measure the height of our different pumpkins.

measuring pumpkin height

Even though standard measurement isn’t in our current first grade standards, we used yard to measure the diameter of our pumpkins.

measuring with yarn

Apparently it takes 4 first graders to wrap a piece of yarn around a pumpkin and cut it to see how big the pumpkin is around.

measuring pumpkin diameter

Then, we measured the yarn using a yard stick.  If you’re wanting to use non-standard measurement, you could easily use cubes (or anything else!) to measure the length of the yarn.

inside the pumpkin

Now we’re finally ready to open it up!  It’s not usually a surprise for them to see what’s inside, but most of them still love to dig in to all the “goo!”

smartboard graphing

We graphed to vote for the eyes, mouth and nose the kids wanted to carve on the pumpkin.

While I carved, they counted the seeds.

Counting Pumpkin Seeds

First, into groups of 10 and then transferred the groups of 100 to larger pumpkin printouts.

532 pumpkin seeds

Our pumpkin had 532 seeds!  (Sorry for the bad picture…so many stripes, lamination and florescent lights!)

tasting pumpin

Last up, we tasted pumpkin puree!  I used a can of 100% pumpkin, not pie filling, and gave each kiddo a little spoonful.  It wasn’t a very popular snack.  I also found some pumpkin spice marshmallows that went over much better!

Some years we taste other pumpkin foods, too.  Pumpkin pie, bread, seeds, cookies…

You can check out my pumpkin investigation booklet on TpT by clicking the picture below.

investigation preview

Check back for the rest of my Simple Science series (hopefully) coming each week this fall!  I’d love to hear about your favorite science activities, too!



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2 Responses to All About Pumpkins {Simple Science for Primary Classrooms}

  1. Melissa duguid says:

    Hi how do I get copies of all the above resources…I would love to have a pumpkin day and these resources would be perfect for my class!


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