Some homeschool science lessons can be super duper simple. OF course, some are not so simple, I went with simple this week because I had in-laws coming and costumes to finish. Lots of costumes to finish for Halloween, sigh silly girl. But, back to the experiment: Does a pumpkin float?
Before we find out does a pumpkin float…
Pumpkin science. There are a lot of very fun math and science activities you can do with a pumpkin. Back when I taught first grade we would spend a whole day working through different activities. Here’s what we would do:
1. Measure the circumference of the pumpkin with a piece of string, and guess how long it would be (learning measurement and predicting)
2. Count the lines around the pumpkin, it’s interesting to compare the number of lines with different-sized pumpkins. I’m totally blanking right now, but it might fall into the Fibonacci sequence (and I’m sure I misspelled that). Fibonacci is a sequence an Italian scientist discovered back during the Renaissance. It goes like this: 1,1,2,3,5,8,13. The next number is the sum of the two previous numbers.
3. Weigh pumpkins.
4. Count pumpkin seeds, and estimate how many will be in there.
As you can see it’s a lot of counting and math, but here are the two things we did.
Does a pumpkin float?
1. Talk about how different things will sink or float. We threw different things in the bathtub (I really shouldn’t have filled it that full, but live and learn). They had lots of fun figuring out what each thing was going to do. The boat floated, and Joker slowly sank.
2. After throwing lots of things in making your prediction will it sink or float. Superman guessed it would float, the other two thought it would sink (I did the super formal stand on this side of the bathroom if you believe it will float).
I’m not sure how much of this was Princess believing it would sink, and how much was, I don’t want to stop playing in the water.
* also notice the boys are wearing shorts. We’re working on them remembering to wear shorts.
Result: The pumpkin floated, just like it should. So, then I let the kids have a few more minutes of throwing in toys and whatever else they could find they could convince me to throw in.
And my bath tub after the experiments:
Yeah…….. That wasn’t as much fun to clean up, however I have a nice clean floor because of all the water splashed.
Expanding on does a pumpkin float to make it an elementary science lesson
A few years later we repeated this experiment, but we took what we’d learned from this experiment to see what would happen with other fruits.
I grabbed another smaller pumpkin, apple, orange, and a tomato. We talked about what happened with the pumpkin, and what we thought might happen with the new fruits.
Than we made our predictions, will they sink or float? Since they all remembered the pumpkin floating, everyone was quite sure the fruit was going to float.
I don’t have pictures of the other fruit in the bathtub, but they all floated.
Why does a pumpkin float?
It all has to do with density, shape, and things like that. Basically, a pumpkin’s density is lower than that of water, so the water “pushes” the pumpkin up to the top.
Are you ready for something screwy? Take the peel off of the orange and see what happens to it.
Check out some more fall science on my Fall for Kids board.
OR you can check out all of our Halloween posts over at Homeschool Halloween.