Have a few pumpkins around? Kids of all ages (and grownups) can flex their math muscles with some simple activities using pumpkins! All of these exercises encourage you to make a guess first. Rather than it being a competition of who was right, making an estimate can focus on what we think will happen versus what does happen. This skill of adjusting our expectations and trying again encourages resiliency, flexibility, and growth mindset.
What You’ll Need: kitchen or bath scale (depending on the size of the pumpkins!), paper/white board, marker/pen
First Estimate: Arrange the pumpkins in order of what you think is the lightest to the heaviest. (Tip: You can mark your pumpkins with a letter to help identify them.) Does everyone agree? Keep track of the predictions that each person makes.
Time to Weigh!: Place each pumpkin on the scale and record the weight. Check the actual weights against what you predicted. Was anyone right? Any surprises?
What You’ll Need: long piece of string, ruler or measuring tape, paper/white board, marker/pen
First Estimate: Look at the measuring tape laid flat. Mark how big around you think your pumpkin is. Talk about how we can measure something that isn’t flat.
Measure Up!: Use the string to “measure” around your pumpkin. Be sure to hold the mark on the string. Now lay your string on the measuring tape. How long is it? Were you close? Try another pumpkin. Now that you have an idea of one pumpkin’s measurement, do you have a new guess?
SO MANY SEEDS!
What You’ll Need: knife for cutting (grownups, please!), bowl, newspaper or paper bag
First Estimate: How many seeds do you think are inside a pumpkin? Record the predictions of everyone.
Cut, Scoop and Count!: Carefully take off the top of your pumpkin. Scoop out all of the seeds. Spread them out on a paper bag or newspaper. What are some ways to make it easier to count? (Tip: We love making piles of 10 so everyone can help with the counting.) How many seeds are there? Did anyone get close?
Planning on carving your pumpkin? What shapes will you use? Cut out pieces of paper in different shapes and try them out on a pumpkin shape. Can you make the pumpkin look happy? Or sad? Or grumpy?!