Pumpkin Science

You can approach almost any topic from a scientific point of view. Just use the scientific approach of posing a question, conducting investigations to get information, thinking about what you have observed and reaching a conclusion. Here are some questions to investigate on the seasonally interesting topic of pumpkins:

Are the seeds scattered randomly within a pumpkin or arranged in some sort of pattern?

Do big pumpkins have larger seeds than small pumpkins? 

Is there anything in a pumpkin which lines up with the creases on the outside?

What does a pumpkin seed weigh?

How many seeds does a pumpkin contain? 

Do all pumpkins have the same number of seeds?

Can you tell which side of a pumpkin was against the ground? How? Does the stem help you figure it out?

Will pumpkins float in water? If they do, do they float stem up, stem down, or stem sideways?

Can pumpkin seeds be sorted into groups?

How thick is the skin of a pumpkin? How far in is the meat?

Place an empty wastebasket in a dishpan. Fill the wastebasket to the rim with water. Carefully place a pumpkin into the water. Weigh the water that was displaced. Does the weight (mass) of the water equal the weight (mass) of the pumpkin? 

Do birds eat pumpkin seeds?

Make a list of the properties of a pumpkin and give it to someone. Can they guess what the object is?

Will pumpkin seeds grow if planted right away?

What folklore can you find about pumpkins?

Where did pumpkins come from originally?

What other plants do we eat which are related to pumpkins?

What is a pepo?

If every seed in a pumpkin grew into a plant which produced one pumpkin and each of the seeds produced a plant which did the same, how many seeds would be produced?

Measure the diameter, circumference, volume (with seeds and pulp taken out), and weight of several pumpkins. Graph your findings. As the size of pumpkins increases, do all these measurements increase at the same rate?

What other pumpkin investigations can you think up?

Visit the University of Illinois Extension pages Pumpkins and More or a pumpkin hobbiest's site, The Pumpkin Nook, for a variety of pumpkin links.
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