Grade: Elementary
Subject: other

#212. Pumpkin Potpourri

other, level: Elementary
Posted by Addie Gaines (
Seneca Elementary School, Seneca, MO USA
Materials Required: depends on activity
Activity Time: depends on activity
Concepts Taught: integrated lessons

Start with the book, Pumpkin, Pumpkin by Jeannie Titherington. It is the sequencial story of the journey from seed to pumpkin and back again. The story features softly illustrated pages with interesting details. Available as big book from Scholastic.

Pumpkin story wheel: Because of the story's cyclical format a perfect activity is making a story wheel. Start with a circle and divide it into eight sections. In each section write part of the story. You will have to combine some of the pages. Students will illustrate the sections and then cut out the wheel. Fasten to paper plate in the middle with a brad. I try to use orange styrofoam plates available this time of year, but white paper plates work too, the children can color the edges with crayon. Staple a piece of green or brown const. paper to be the stem. Read the story wheel together by reading the section that is by the stem and then turning the wheel so that the next section is on top.

Pumpkin mural: Roll out long sheets of butcher paper and encourage children to draw pumpkin vines, flowers, sprouts, and green and orange pumpkins. I like to use light brown paper so the back looks like dirt, but the children's work still shows up. Makes a nice backdrop if you want to diplay the next project...

Paper pumpkin patch: Stuff lunch sacks with newspaper and twist the top. Secure with masking tape. Paint the bottom part orange and the top green to look like a pumpkin. Let dry. I like to display these in the hallway with vine cut from paper hanging on them and the pumpkin mural backdrop. Tip: Don't paint faces on them and they can stay in the hallway during NOV too!!!

The story of a seed: I have drawn small pictures of the sequence of a pumpkin's growth. I have the children color them, order the pages and we staple them into a small picture book.

Pumpkin poems:

You've probably heard this one:
There were five little pumpkins
Sitting on a gate.
The first one said,
"Oh, my it's getting late!"
The second one said,
"There are witches in the air!"
The third one said,
"I don't care!"
The fourth one said,
"Let's run and run and run!"
The fifth one said,
"I'm in the mood for fun!"
The crash went the thunder
And out went the lights
And the five little pumpkins
Rolled out of sight.

One more...
A Pumpkin Seed
A pumpkin seed's a little thing.
When it's planted in the spring
But, oh, the fun it can bring.

At Halloween it turns into
A pumpkin pie for me and you
Or jack-o-lantern that says...

by Alice Crowell Hoffman

Now for the real thing....

Here are some activities to do with a real pumpkin:

You could start the unit with a mystery box. Decorate a large box and place a pumpkin inside. Have students ask questions and determine what you have hidden.

Have the students estimate the pumpkins weight, then actually weigh the pumpkin.

Have the students determine whether or not the pumpkin will float and test it out with a large tub of water. Follow this up by going to
(I think this is the right address, I found this using a Yahoo! search. It is from the January 1997 edition of the Ottawa-St. Lawrence Growers Newspaper) It is a story about a man who took a giant pumpkin and made a boat out of it. Two pix are included.

Estimate the circumfrence of the pumpkin by having the students cut a piece of yarn that they think will fit around the pumpkin. Sort pieces by too short, too long and just right.

Estimate the number of seeds in the pumpkin. Open the pumpkin and clean it out. Wash, dry and save the seeds.
To keep the pumpkin fresher longer, wipe out the inside with bleach to retard the growth of mold. If you carve a jack-o-lantern face, rub the edges with petroleum jelly to retard shrinkage.

Count the pumpkin seeds into groups of ten and then put the tens together into hundreds to determine the total.

Soak some pumpkin seeds over night, cut them open and the students can see the tiny plant embryo inside the seed.

Have each student plant a pumpkin seed in a ziploc bag with a little dirt and water. Zip the bags tight, hang them up somewhere and they require no further maintenance. The bags will fog up and clear up and you can explain to your class how it is similar to clouds and rain. The ziploc bag is like its own little world. The other really awesome aspect of the bags is that you can see the seeds open and the roots grow down and the sprout grow up. Send the plants home shortly after they sprout, because they need to be transplanted.

We gotta eat!!! Roast pumpkin seeds by spreading oil on a pan, spreading out seeds in a single layer, adding a little salt and paprika for color (I like chili pepper at home, but I don't do that at school), and roast at 400 degrees until brown. It only takes about 10 or 12 minutes. At a pumpkin recipe web site it said to roast them at 200 degrees for 1 hour. I have also drawn the steps for this process which the children color and assemble into a little book to take home.

Finally try the link at the bottom of the page to go to a site with neat photos and coloring pages to print. If you have any pumpkin ideas, please e me. I love new ideas!!!