Investigating Decomposing Pumpkins

Are you tired of doing the same old pumpkin activity year after year? Looking for something to jazz up October? This is the lesson for you! Students work with you to design an experiment to see if carving a pumpkin decomposes faster than not carving!

The lesson begins with students using the strategy See, Think, Wonder in order to generate words, phrases, and ideas to describe a really gross picture! Students will later learn the picture was really a rotting pumpkin!

Students then read the book Rotten Pumpkin in order to learn what actually breaks a pumpkin down! This is a great informational text with lots of details for students! For little ones, I just focused on the pictures!

After talking and reading about decomposing pumpkins, students use the 4 Question Strategy to design a testable question. They work with you to set up their experiment. Over the next 9 weeks, they will collect observations and measurements (changes in the pumpkin weight) to tell if carving makes a difference.

The lesson also has an opportunity for students to survey their friends and family in order to collect data related to the same question. This will allow you to practice graphing within the context of this lesson! Plus, students are doing authentic research they can then compare to the actual results of the experiment.

Lesson plan also includes writing templates!

Lesson cover 4 20 minute sessions (I call these snap-shot science opportunities) and then observing for 90 minutes!