Parts of a Pumpkin and their Functions

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The students will learn the parts of a pumpkin and their functions by exploring a real pumpkin.

Big Idea

Students will learn that plants have different parts that serve different functions in their life cycle.


10 minutes

While the students are sitting at their seats, I take a large pumpkin and place it on a table at the front of the room.  I tell the students, that just like the apples we learned about, pumpkins have different parts to them and that all of the parts of the pumpkin have a job to do.  I tell the class that we are going to learn the names of the parts and get to see them from a real pumpkin.

I ask, "Do any of you know what parts a pumpkin has?  Are they similar to the parts of an apple?"

This begins a class discussion that most likely evolves into a compare and contrast conversation about the parts of an apple and a pumpkin. 

If there are questions about a part of the pumpkin, we can add it to our anchor chart from lesson one.

Learning the parts of the pumpkin gives students an understanding of the patterns of plants and what they need to survive.




20 minutes

I begin with the outside parts: stem, leaves, rind (skin), ribs.  Then I cut open the pumpkin from the top to the bottom in halves so that the students can see the inside (cross-section).  I then teach them the names of the inside parts: pulp, seeds.

As I go through the parts of a pumpkin, we discuss what each function of the parts is.  Students should be able to connect their knowledge of the parts and functions of an apple and use that knowledge to connect it to pumpkins.  If the students do not know what the function of one of the parts is, we will brainstorm ideas as a class and come up with our best guess to be researched later if needed. We record our ideas on an anchor chart.  The anchor chart is set up with the parts of the pumpkin going across the top.  We will fill in the function for each part or record our questions in that space.

After the whole class discussion, I pass out a cross-section of a pumpkin to each table in order for the students to do observations of the parts close up.  Magnifying glasses are available to each table to share.

I choose to use real pumpkins for this lesson so that students can have to opportunity to see and feel the real things.  Often times, the students that I teach do not have the ability to experience things outside of school and the more that I can use real objects, the more concrete the lessons are to the students.

Independent Work

30 minutes

After doing individual discoveries of the cross-sections of pumpkins, students use pre-cut paper pieces to create their own pumpkins with the teacher's directions.  Students then glue on short pieces of yellow yarn to the middle and real pumpkin seeds (dried) to represent the inside of a pumpkin.  I then pass out the words that have the names of the parts.  The students glue these to the appropriate parts of the pumpkin.  There will be picture cues and words to label them in the pocket chart at the front of the room for students to refer to as needed.

I have students make their own paper pumpkin representations because scientists make models of their work.  I explain to the students that when we make models of things we see, it helps us remember the parts and apply what we have learned.


10 minutes

During the Independent Work, I will be walking around talking to the kids and watching for those who have a full understanding and stopping to help the students who may need extra support.

I look for students who are able to label the parts correctly. If a student needs extra support, I encourage the student to ask their table partners first.  If the table partners are unable to help, I will step in and assist students.

During this time, I ask students clarifying questions to check for understanding.

What part of the pumpkin is this?  What does this part of the pumpkin do to help it grow? Why does the pumpkin need this part?