Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pumpkin Science For Kids

We read in Margaret McNamara's How Many Seeds In A Pumpkin?, that one clue to how many seeds a pumpkin will have, is the number of ribs on the outside. Apparently, each rib represents a row of seeds, inside.

The color of the pumpkin is another indicator. Darker orange pumpkins, have likely had longer to develop on the vine, and therefore might have more seeds.

I'll admit, we were intrigued. We didn't really buy into the darker orange theory, because in the past we've had to ripen pumpkins on our table, after saving them from an early frost in the garden. So, we know from experience, that pumpkins will continue to darken in shade, after they've been cut from the vine.

But, we had to check out the connections between the ribs, and the rows of seeds, ourselves. So, we took two pumpkins, one large, and one small, and counted the ribs.

We also weighed them, and measured, and recorded their circumferences, and colors, just for fun.

The larger pumpkin was a darker orange, but the smaller pumpkin had about ten more ribs, than the larger one. So, we predicted the smaller pumpkin would have more seeds. Then, we cut them open, and checked them out. Sure enough, the seeds were arranged in lines corresponding to the ribs, at least the deeper ribs, on the outside.

All, that was left to do then, was pull the seeds out, and count them. The larger pumpkin had 483 seeds (very large seeds), and the smaller one had 620 seeds (smaller, more tender seeds - good for roasting).

As, I'm sure you can imagine, we had quite a bit of pumpkin themed, math going on as well, but I'll save that for Math Monday, tomorrow.

In the meantime, as usual, you can find more fun with science, at this week's Science Sunday link-up, at Adventures in Mommydom.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Christy Killoran said...

Brilliant! I think we have to try this.

Debbie said...

Wow! This is something I would have never thought of. I guess I never even gave any thought to why a pumpkin would have more or less seeds. I am going to remember this one.

Ticia said...

Interesting, I never thought to compare numbers of seeds.

Did you do the floating pumpkin trick? That one totally wowed my kids last year because it's so big they expected it to sink.

Phyllis said...

Wow, that is fantastic. I will never look at a pumpkin again without thinking of this. This is the type of math/science that will last as a lifetime memory.

April said...

I absolutely never knew that about the pumpkin learn something new everyday! I can't believe you guys counted all those seeds as well.

Chelsea said...

That's so cool! Thanks so much for sharing.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Ticia - We didn't actually toss them in the water. They were too big for the sink, and I didn't want dirty pumpkins in the tub, and it was too late to take them down to the irregation ditch. But, I asked the kids if they thought the pumpkins would float - they were divided, until we cut them open, and they saw how hollow they are - then they all agreed the pumpkins would float - so the lesson seemed to be learned. But, the first chance I get, I'm tossing a pumpkin into the water - just to bring it on home :)

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Fascinating! I learned something new today (together with the fact that a good place to look for missing doll shoes is in daughter's pockets).

Fairion said...

A wonderfully fun seasonal idea. We may just have to try this. I love when I too can learn from the activities.

Munchkin said...

I'm so glad I stumbled upon this! I teach preschool science and used this book and experiment as well. Of course, with a slightly younger crowd, I have adjusted it some. But I like it! :)