Instructions:1. Bring a pumpkin into the classroom.
2. Let children observe and explore it. How big around is it? Is it heavy? Are there any bumps or bruises?
3. Carve the pumpkin into a jack-o'-lantern and save the seeds.
4. Let the children explore the jack-o'-lantern by looking at the insides, at the pulp and by smelling and touching it.
5. Leave the jack-o'-lantern in the classroom for a few days. After Halloween is over, tell the children you will put the jack-o'-lantern out in the garden and they can watch what happens to it. Introduce the idea of decomposition, and observe the changes at regular intervals. Have any animals nibbled it? What color is it now? Is it still round?
6. By springtime, most of the pumpkin will have decomposed. Discuss the fact that the pumpkin has become part of the soil and will now help the garden grow. Occasionally a seed that remained in the pumpkin will plant itself and grow!
More to do
Math: Estimate and then count how many seeds were in the pumpkin.
More science: Allow some seeds to air dry completely and save them to plant in the garden in the spring.
Snack: Wash and roast the pumpkin seeds for a snack.