Using Pumpkin Seeds for Math

With all the pumpkins in the freezer, let me share with you what we did with some of the seeds. What an education a lot of people toss into the trash. After washing and drying, we put the seeds we saved into a quart jar. We filled the jar about 2/3 full.

#1: We guessed how many seeds were in the jar and recorded everyone’s predictions.

#2: We counted the seeds. Both boys counted by two’s and placed the seeds in piles of tens on the table. We arranged the piles in straight rows of ten piles in each row. That made 100 seeds per row. We set up ten rows. That gave us 1,000 seeds. When we got to this point, I stopped them and explained that we reached 1,000. We counted them out by ten’s and by hundred’s. Since we had them in straight rows, we could visually see that 10×4=40 or that 10×8=80.

#3: We moved to the opposite side of the table and finished counting out the seeds in the same fashion until we had three rows of 100 seeds and then one row of 84 seeds. That gave us a total count of 1,384. All of our original predictions were too low.

#4: We wondered if we laid all the seeds end to end in a train, how long would the train stretch? We recorded our predictions. But did we have enough room to do that? Could we keep all the seeds straight?

#5: We assumed that every seed was the same size and shape and laid out one pile of ten seeds in a train and measured that. That train was seven inches long. We next determined that we had 138 piles and if they were all seven inches long, then that train would stretch 966 inches (138×7). Dividing 966 by 12, we determined that our train would measure approximately eight feet. We then measured the last four seeds and found them to stretch three inches. Therefore, we approximated our train to be 8’3” long.

This activity does not have to be saved for pumpkin season. Any small object you have a lot of would do…what about watermelon seeds?

Have fun,