Pumpkin Patrol - Math October 20 2009

I love Pumpkin Math! It's a special day in my classroom, and I plan the entire day around these activities.

Basic Guidelines

  • One pumpkin per person, per partner group, or per small group. Number each pumpkin with a permanent marker. I usually provide 12 pumpkins total and work from there.
  • Hand out the Pumpkin Patrol Math Recording Sheet to each person.
  • Decide if you want students to use metric or standard measurement.
  • Set up a station with materials ready to go for each activity. If you have a sink, the volume station will be great right there!
  • Decide how you want students to travel the stations. Do you want them to do one pumpkin at a time through each station? Do you want students at a station for a specific amount of time, then switch (if you choose this method, pumpkins will need to be switched station to station as well)?

If you want to extend this activity, add a column for estimating mass, number of ribs, and/or circumference for each pumpkin.

Helpful Tips

Finding Mass
Use a small grocers scale. If you don't have one, ask your colleagues or raid any science or art storage room in your school (you never know). Have two or three available if possible.

If you don't find grocers scales, you can use bathroom scales. Students can weigh themselves without the pumpkin, then with the pumpkin, then subtract to find the weight of the pumpkin.

Counting Ribs
You're going to need to explain this to your students - count the number of lines on the pumpkin.

Circumference
Provide a few measuring tapes for students to use. If you don't have measuring tapes, ask your colleagues or use a variety of lengths of string, and then yardsticks to measure the string against.

Volume
Provide one or two five-gallon buckets at this station. Do this activity a few times to figure out where the starting water line should be. You'll have to demonstrate the activity for your kids.

The Bar Graph
I included a simple bar graph assignment that could be done right on the provided sheet. For older kids, consider adding mean, median and mode exercises to the bar graph requirements.

Which pumpkin will have the most seeds?
Lay out newspaper or butcher paper across the desks of your groups. Provide paper towels and small zippered sandwich bags. When this activity is done, your students can divide the seeds they harvested and take them home to roast!
One pumpkin per group, top already cut. Estimate seeds and Count seeds. Lay out seeds to dry or have students divide and bag them as they count.
As a class, record the results!

Pumpkin math can easily take the bulk of a school day - have fun! Celebrate with some pumpkin cookies from your local bakery, or pumpkin sugar cookies the kids can decorate after all the work is completed!

Need something to do with Pumpkin seeds? Check out Carol's FREE Pumpkin Seed Math Game!