Pumpkin School: Math and Science Activities for Autumn

Math, science, geography, history, AND language arts all in one super-fun day of pumpkin school? YES!

Skip the textbooks for a few days and enjoy some fall-themed learning with your elementary and middle school students.

Pumpkin School: Hands-On Math and Science Activities for Fall

We have enjoyed one version or another of pumpkin school for years. While you can certainly have fun with without friends, these activities are so much fun to do with a small group.

Living Math and Science with Pumpkins

Several of these ideas come from my how-to book for parents called Loving Living Math.  It’s a book that teaches you how to include “living” (real life, hands-on, meaningful, conceptual) math into your homeschool.

Pumpkin Math and Science Activities

The ideas below are straightforward and to-the-point. Grab as many or as few as you like and have a ton of fun learning with pumpkins! You can complete your activities using one pumpkin – or two or more to make comparisons.

Pumpkin School: Hands-on Math and Science Activities for Fall

Before You Cut into the Pumpkin

  • Measure the circumference by wrapping a tape measure around the largest part of the pumpkin.

  • Calculate the diameter and radius using only the circumference measurement. The formulas you need:
    • d=C÷3.14 (that means diameter = circumference ÷ π)
    • r=d÷2 (that means radius = diameter ÷ 2)

  • Count the vertical lines on the skin of the pumpkin.  These numbers can be used to calculate:
    • fractions – “1/2 of our pumpkin is equivalent to 6/12”, for instance.
    • percentages – “What percent of our pumpkin is equivalent to 2/12?”
    • degrees – “If a full circle is 360°, how many degrees is 1/4 of our pumpkin?”

  • Estimate the weight and use a scale to weigh the pumpkin.

  • Complete simple algebra problems.  For example, weigh three pumpkins on a scale together.  Remove one pumpkin from the scale.  Use an equation like Total Weight – P = New Weight.

  • Measure heights and widths of the pumpkin and its stem.

  • Measure the volume of the pumpkin using water displacement.  (This is most ideal to do with a smaller pumpkin.)  Place water into a container with measured marks. The container needs to be big enough to immerse the pumpkin completely in the water.  Before putting the pumpkin in the water, record the volume of water by using the measurements on the side of the container.  Submerge the pumpkin and write the new water volume measurement.  To determine the volume of the pumpkin, simply subtract the smaller number from the larger number.

  • If you have several pumpkins or several children, make comparisons between the pumpkins. You can:
    • order them by height
    • order them by weight
    • determine averages data such as height, weight, volume

  • Make graphs of any comparison data you collect.

  • Have pumpkin races to answer such questions as:
    • Which pumpkin makes the fewest revolutions to reach the finish line?
    • Which pumpkin goes farther when rolled down an incline?
    • Do varying inclines make a difference in how far a pumpkin rolls?
Pumpkin School: Hands-on Math and Science Activities for Fall

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Cutting into the Pumpkin

  • Estimate the number of seeds, then count the seeds and compare your estimate.

  • Examine and open the seeds.  Measure and weigh them.

  • Observe and note the differences between the inner and outer pumpkin shell.

  • Measure the thickness of the shell.

  • Look for signs to see where the pumpkin touched the ground and notice differences in the shell.

When You’re Finished with the Pumpkins

  • If you can safely do so, drop pumpkins from a height to answer such questions as:
    • Do larger pumpkins splatter more than smaller pumpkins?
    • Do larger pumpkins fall faster than smaller pumpkins?

Pumpkin Geography, History, Language Arts, Art, and More

  • Learn about the geography of where pumpkins grow in the world and complete a map.

  • Learn about the history of pumpkins in America.

  • Make your favorite pumpkin recipes.

Get a PRINTABLE Copy of the Activities

Grab a free, printable copy of all the activity ideas listed above to add to your lesson planner!

Printable Pumpkin School

Get all these fun activity ideas in a convenient printable.

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    Worthy Pumpkin Books

    Pumpkin themed books in general are meant for a younger crowd. These are some of our long-time favorites that are at least appropriate for mid to upper elementary.

    The Pumpkin BookThe Pumpkin BookThe Pumpkin RunnerThe Pumpkin RunnerThe Biggest Pumpkin EverThe Biggest Pumpkin EverToo Many PumpkinsToo Many PumpkinsPumpkin JackPumpkin JackThe Vanishing PumpkinThe Vanishing Pumpkin

     

    More Fall Themed Science Learning

    For an entire curriculum full of ideas to study all sorts of fruits and nuts this autumn, check out the Fruits and Nuts NaturExplorers guide!

    I can help you teach your children!

    If nature-based science lessons are right up your alley, I have great news…I teach LIVE classes twice a month to children in 1st-8th grades!

    Your children will love the interactive classes and you’ll love their excitement as they learn science. We’d love for you to join us!

    Live nature study classes for elementary and middle school students from teacher, author, and speaker Cindy West!

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    17 Comments

    1. Wonderful and fun resource! Thank you for always inspiring us in living math (and thanks for including our pastel pumpkins 🙂

    2. This is wonderful!
      We are going to the pumpkin patch this weekend.

    3. The Mommy Mess says:

      Fun! We will definitely put some of these ideas to use! Thanks

    4. You’re welcome. Have fun! 🙂

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