Share it! Science : Discovering a Pumpkin: STEM Investigation

Discovering a Pumpkin: STEM Investigation

Holidays can be a great time to do some theme based learning. The activity ideas here are perfect for your unit on pumpkins. It is easy to turn observing a pumpkin into an engaging STEM lesson for your students or children at home.

There are so many opportunities for math and science when you study pumpkins. Not to mention, they are easy to find in the fall. You can even make a pumpkin unit interdisciplinary by thinking of the history and impact on culture pumpkins have had. Read on to find out how you can use them for more than decoration this fall!

Pumpkin STEM Lesson

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Studying Pumpkins

When I was a classroom science teacher I would study pumpkins with my 3rd grade class. During the fall we would investigate the pumpkins that they planted in the school's garden the previous spring when they were in 2nd grade. We would measure and draw, count seeds and end by making a recipe. You can find my lesson plan and student printables in their entirety here.

Pumpkins! (Jackie,

Pumpkin STEM Investigations 

Here are some ideas for including some STEM in your pumpkin learning this fall.


What is the color of your pumpkin? The shape? What can the outside of the pumpkin tell you about how this pumpkin might have grown?


How many creases do you count on the outside? Why do you think some pumpkins have more or less than others? How many seeds are inside?

Pumpkin STEM Lesson


How much does the pumpkin weigh? How much do the pumpkin seeds weigh? Do heavier pumpkins have more seeds?

Does it Float? 

Make a prediction of whether or not your pumpkin will float. (You'll have to try it and see for yourself!)

Want to do the complete Pumpkin STEM lesson in your classroom or homeschool? Grab the lesson plan and student printables here.

Using Pumpkins Across the Curriculum

Throughout the years I have found other resources and ideas for pumpkin science to tweak my lesson plan. I have put some of my favorites and those I think others would find most useful in the resource section below.

Pumpkins can be the springboard for teaching Ethnobotany, or the scientific study how how plants have been used historically and culturally. You can cook with your pumpkins. Roast their seeds, make pumpkin cookies or pie!

Save the seeds (raw) and plant them in the spring to learn about life cycles and pollination! You can even use a pumpkin for a lesson in decomposition, try this activity that accompanies the book Pumpkin Jack, or this one that accompanies the book Rotten Pumpkin.

Pumpkin STEM Lesson

The great thing about using a pumpkin as a teaching tool is that it does not have to be used exclusively for Halloween or in the fall, you can learn from it all year long!

Gardening pumpkins throughout the summer at home or at a summer camp can be an engaging activity. I am sure there are many, many other science and math investigations to be tried! If you have an excellent pumpkin resource to share, please add it in the comment section below. 

Pumpkin Learning Resources: 


Pumpkin optical illusion:



More Hands-On Halloween Science! 

Hands-on Halloween Science STEM Experiments Activities

Fluffy Zombie Slime - Little Bins for Little Hands

Bubbling Pumpkin Experiments - Preschool Powol Packets

Halloween Robot Spider Craft - Inspiration Laboratories

Halloween Rock Painting for Kids using Physics - From Engineer to Stay at Home Mom

Edible Candy Corn Slime (Play Dough) - Teach Beside Me 

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