Perfect Pumpkin Science
Some of the best teaching ideas come from those who have spent time in the classroom! This idea by Sally, a 4th Grade Teacher, from Greensboro, AL is no exception. Combine the resources of the fall season with authentic learning for a great science lesson. Check out her fun, fall science idea below and hurry out to the pumpkin patch!
National Association of Pumpkin Scientists
When local pumpkins are plentiful, our class becomes headquarters for the National Association of Pumpkin Scientists (N.A.P.S.). As lead pumpkin scientist, I wear a lab coat, and issue each student a name tag printed with our N.A.P.S. logo.
First we learn about how pumpkins are grown and harvested. Then I divide my class into groups of four and assign each group a different-size pumpkin for experimental purposes.
Each teams weighs its pumpkin and use string and measuring tape to gauge the pumpkin’s circumference. Teams hang their strings side-by-side to create a graph showing pumpkin circumference from smallest to largest. Teams also test their pumpkins to see if they will sink or float, and count the number of creases in each pumpkin. Finally, each team estimates, then counts the number of seeds inside each pumpkin. We scoop the seeds out, rinse them off, and let them dry before roasting them. I take the smaller pumpkins home so I can cook the meat for pumpkin bread.
Our N.A.P.S. experience is a lot of pumpkin-y fun, and we learn lots of math and science in the process.