Gooey Pumpkins Lesson Plan

What We Are Learning


Science Focus:

pumpkins, exploration using senses


Theme Vocabulary:

gigantic, bumpy, smooth, rotten



five senses




  • Prime students to use their senses by playing “Guess the Mystery Object.” Before reading the issue, put a small pumpkin in a paper bag. Tell children that everyone will get to guess what’s in the bag. Have them close their eyes, reach in, and feel the object. Once everyone has had a chance to guess, pull out the pumpkin! Tell students that they’ll learn more about pumpkins in the magazine. engagement

Science: Sink or Float?

Materials: pumpkins of different shapes and sizes, tub of water, chart paper, marker, “Will It Sink or Float?” online skill sheet

  • This simple experiment gives children the opportunity to make and test a hypothesis.
  • Ask children what they think will happen if you put a pumpkin in water. Will it sink? That means it falls to the bottom. Or will it float? That means it stays at the top. Askwhy they think that will happen. Have themrecord their predictions on the skill sheet.
  • Now put their predictions to the test. Put a small pumpkin in water. It will float! Do children think the same thing will happen with bigger pumpkins? Try it out with
  • pumpkins of different sizes and shapes. Explain that pumpkins float because they have mostly air on the inside. No matter how big a pumpkin is, it will always float in water. experiment
A boy scooping pumpkin seeds out of a pumpkin

Materials: pumpkins, sharp knife (for teacher use), spoons, sealable plastic bag

  • Let children get messy with pumpkin guts—just like on the cover of the issue!
  • Cut open a few pumpkins: Slice some in half, and cut holes in the tops of others. Then let children start exploring. Have them pull out the pulp and play with it for a sensory experience. They can also separate the seeds from the strands.
  • As children are playing, ask them how the pumpkin pulp feels. Try to elicit fun descriptive words! Is it slimy? Is it squishy? Is it soft?
  • Some children may not tolerate the sensory experience. That’s OK. If children do not want to touch the pumpkin guts directly, you can create sensory bags. Simply fill a sealable plastic bag with pumpkin pulp. Children can feel that. sensory play