Pumpkins are everywhere you go during this time of year, so why not use them to do some fall math activities with your kids? There is no shortage of shapes and sizes of pumpkins to choose from, as there are heaping piles of pumpkins stationed in front of most grocery stores just waiting for people to take them home. You can also go on a fun outing to the pumpkin patch to select the perfect pumpkins for these fall math activities.
Fall math activities for young children:
Regardless of what you plan to do with your pumpkin the fist step for most pumpkin projects is to remove the slimy seeds. This messy sensory activity can also be used to create some fall math activities for the young children in your family.
Activity #1- Practice estimating:
Each member of your family can estimate (or guess) how many pumpkin seeds will be inside of the pumpkin. If your family has chosen more than one pumpkin you can guess which pumpkin will have more seeds or less seeds.
Activity #2- Count the pumpkin seeds:
Once everyone has guessed how many pumpkin seeds there are everyone can help remove all of the seeds. As you clean the seeds have the younger kids in your family count how many seeds are inside of the pumpkin. If each family member has their own pumpkin you can all count your own pumpkin seeds and compare who’s estimates were the most accurate.
Fall math activities related to Geometry:
Activity #3- Simple geometry and shapes
Pumpkins are great for teaching kids about geometric shapes. You can talk with your kids about the shape of the pumpkin. Help them understand that it is not just round but it is more like a ball or a sphere. If you are going to carve faces out of the pumpkin, talk about the different shapes that make up the face like triangles for eyes, or an oval for the nose.
(The following are geometry related fall math activities for the older children in your family)
Activity #4- Measure the circumference of the pumpkin
This activity can be done at the same time as the younger children in your family are counting their pumpkin seeds. They can use a soft measuring tape or a string to determine the circumference of their pumpkin. Once they measure with the string they can measure the length of the string with a ruler.
Activity #5- Find the radius and diameter of the pumpkin:
Once you have the circumference of the pumpkin you can use the formula C= 2 x pi x r to find the radius. Or divide the circumference by 2 x pi in order to find the radius. The diameter is just two times the radius. If you are cutting open the pumpkin for baking they can also measure the radius and diameter of the pumpkin with the string or measuring tape as well.
Activity #6- Find the volume of the pumpkin:
Once your child has found the Circumference and the radius of their pumpkin, they can use those measurements to determine the approximate volume of the pumpkin by using the formula V= (4/3) x pi x radius3.
Note: These measurements will not be perfectly accurate because the pumpkin is not a perfect sphere, but it is a good activity to get children to grasp the concepts of these measurements in a way that is more tangible than just looking at drawings on a piece of paper.
Making a pumpkin pie and learning about fractions:
Baking a pumpkin pie is not only a yummy fall dessert, but you can also be one of the fall math activities that can teach your kids about fractions.
Activity #7- Kid’s can help make a pumpkin pie:
Baking is a great way for kids to use math as they measure the ingredients or make adjustments to the recipe. If you are making 2 pies you can have your children double the measurements for each of the ingredients.
Activity #8- Pumpkin pie fractions:
You can ask your child to figure out how many pieces of pie you will need to cut so that each family member can have one slice. Then after serving one slice of pie you can ask them to figure out what fraction of the pie has been served and what fraction of the pie remains.
These are just a few pumpkin related fall math activities you can do with your kids. If you haven’t gone to the pumpkin patch to pick out your pumpkins there is still time! Take advantage of pumpkin season and do some pumpkin related fall math activities with your family.