Fall is the air, and you know what that means: a trip to the pumpkin patch! Take advantage of this wonderful time of year to introduce these season-inspired, hands-on math activities. Explore the concepts of measurement, counting, operations, shapes, graphing, and more!
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1. Montessori Math with Pumpkins and Acorns
Source: Natural Beach Living
Go on a nature walk and collect acorns with your students. Then, click on the link above to download these free pumpkin counting cards. Let students practice matching the number on each card with the same amount of acorns.
2. How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?
Source: Mr. Elementary Math
This engaging lesson from Mr. Elementary Math starts with a read aloud of How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara as the perfect set up for an introduction to math concepts of estimation, skip counting, operations, and graphing.
And for more fun ideas using pumpkin seeds, check out 3 clever uses for pumpkin seeds in the classroom.
3. Pumpkin Geoboard
Students love working with geoboards. Why not take advantage of the perfect work surface to let them explore shapes? All you need is a collection of firm pumpkins, pushpins, and rubber bands.
4. Runaway Pumpkins
Source: Math Geek Mama
Start this lesson with a read aloud of Sixteen Runaway Pumpkins by Dianne Ochiltree and follow along as Sam tries to stack 16 pumpkins in the wagon for his grandfather. Then print out this fun printable game to work on addition and subtraction as you try to stack your own pumpkins.
5. Pumpkin Pie Fractions
Source: Creative Family Fun
Paint a stack of paper plates so that they look like pumpkin pies. Divide each “pie” into a different number of “slices” and mark each piece with the proper fraction. Use the pieces as puzzles, have students find equal slices, or make a mixed fraction pie.
6. Measuring Pumpkins
Source: Little Bins for Little Hands
This lesson begins, “Pumpkins really do make awesome tools for hands-on learning.” And do they ever with this lesson, which tackles the math skills of making predictions, circumference, measurement of height and weight, as well as data collection.
7. Decomposing Numbers with Pumpkin Seeds
Source: Math Geek Mama
Understanding different ways to pull numbers apart and put them back together is important for building number sense and helps kids develop their own mental math strategies.
8. BIG Pumpkins
Source: Education World
Word problems are always a tricky concept to teach and learn. This lesson uses pictures of record-setting pumpkins as the starting point for talking about how to create and solve word problems. It includes a worksheet that helps students pick out key words and get organized before solving.
9. One-to-One Correspondence
Many young children have memorized the number words in the proper order but sometimes do not yet understand the concept of one-to-one correspondence. For example, they might say “one, two, three, four, five” but skip an object. Or, they count an object twice. These Montessori pumpkin activity trays can help your students practice their counting skills by using tweezers to count out pumpkin seeds as they fill up the tray.
10. Pumpkin Candy Counting
Ask parent volunteers to bring in bags of pumpkin candies, then download this free Pumpkin Candy Preschool Math Printable for students to practice their math skills on.
11. Pumpkin Stacking
Your young students will love this hands-on activity using pumpkin candy, Play-Doh, and magnetic letters. First, have each student choose a magnetic number. Then have them count out the matching number of pumpkin candies. Finally, they will build a structure using the candies and Play-Doh.
12. Place Value Practice
Source: Rainy Day Mum
Place value can be a tricky concept. Give your students hands-on practice with this activity featuring pumpkin seeds and craft sticks. Check out the blog at the link above for subtraction and addition ideas as well.
13. Circumference and Estimation
Bring in a selection of mini pumpkins. For each pumpkin, cut a ribbon that wraps all the way around, then cut one longer and one shorter. Children first guess which ribbon they think will fit around the pumpkin and then try each one to see whether it fits. Make a chart with the results.
14. Pumpkin Addition and Subtraction
Source: School Time Snippets
All you need for this activity is a few egg cartons, dice, and candy or marble pumpkins. To play, students roll the dice, add the numbers together, ‘pick’ that many pumpkins from the ‘pumpkin patch’ (a pile of pumpkin candies), and fill in the cups and the lid of their egg carton. To make the game more challenging, use another die marked with plus and minus signs so they can practice addition and subtraction.
15. Pumpkin Number Line
Source: Royal Baloo
Number lines are some students’ favorite way to make sense of addition and subtraction concepts. Download this free template to create a fun, easy sliding number line for your students to use.
16. Order of Operations
Pumpkin math’s not just for little kids! These free puzzles help students practice a more sophisticated math skill, order of operations. Fit the pumpkins together by solving the problems in the proper order.
This roundup of pumpkin math activities from Mathwire will keep your students learning while having a lot of fun! Click on the link for all of the ideas below and more.
Try the Pumpkin Jumble Game:
Using the key on the template, students toss a die to create a jack-o’-lantern face from pattern blocks. The first person to complete their jack-o’-lantern wins the game. This fun game builds cooperative play skills as well as familiarity with geometric shapes.
Or the Pumpkin Farm Game
Just like the popular game Battleship, this Pumpkin Farm game helps students practice the math concept of plot coordinates. Students place twelve pumpkins on their grid and take turns guessing the location of their partner’s pumpkins.
Or the Pumpkin Seed Math Mat:
This seasonal mat uses two pumpkins of different sizes to model addition problems. Using dice, pumpkin seeds, and the mat, students will write and solve their own number sentences.
Introduce coordinate graphing skills and create this silly jack-o-lantern.