It’s pumpkin season! And while the big orange pumpkins seem to get all the glory, the seeds inside are actually pretty awesome, too. Sure, you can roast some or save a few to plant next year, but what other kind of magic can you make happen with ordinary pumpkin seeds? We have three genius ideas on how to make them fun and useful in your classroom. Watch the video right here, and then read on for full instructions below.
What You Need
- Pumpkin seeds
- Food coloring
- Plastic cups and spoons
- Permanent marker
- Construction paper
What to Do
STEP 1. Make sure your pumpkin seeds are completely dry before you dye them. If you just removed them from your pumpkin, let them dry overnight or roast them in the oven for a bit.
STEP 2. In a plastic cup, combine 1/4 cup of water, 2 teaspoons of vinegar, and a few drops of food coloring. Stir with a plastic spoon. Then repeat in as many cups as needed for the number of colors you want.
STEP 3. Add the pumpkin seeds to your cups of dye, stirring the seeds thoroughly so they’re completely coated. Let sit for at least 20-30 minutes. (You can let them sit longer if you want a really deep color.)
STEP 4. Remove the seeds from you color mixture. Dry them (either by letting them sit overnight, or by placing them in a microwave or conventional oven). Once the pumpkins seeds are dry, you’re ready to put them to use!
3 Ways to Use Pumpkin Seeds in the Classroom
1. Classroom Reward Jars
Recycle small glass jars, labeling each one with a different class reward. For example: “Extra Recess,” “Popcorn Party,” “Movie Afternoon,” or “Stuffed Animal Day.” Then let students earn pumpkin seeds as rewards for good behavior, such as turning in homework on time or lining up quickly. They get to choose the jar they put their seeds in, and when a jar is filled to the top, you get to do that activity as a class. They’ll love the extra incentive!
2. Pumpkin Spelling
Use a permanent marker to write letters on pumpkin seeds. For added fun and challenge, you could designate different colors to be worth different points. So maybe vowels are all worth 1 point and written on red seeds. Easy consonants are worth 2 points and written on blue seeds. And harder consonants are worth 3 points and written on yellow seeds. Put all your seed letters in a bag, and let students draw out 10 to 12 at a time. (You could also have three different bags and let them draw out of each one.) See how many words they can make, and points they can earn, with each turn. Then put them back and draw again!
3. Math and Graph
Students love polling one another. Here are some survey questions to get them started:
“What’s your favorite color of apple—red, yellow, or green?”
“At what time of day do you most like to read—morning, day, or night?”
“What pet do you like most—cats or dogs?”
Once the students pose questions like these to the class, have them calculate the results. Some grade levels will even be able to figure out the percentages or write word problems with the results. All students should be able to use the data for graphing, and this is where pumpkin seeds make an excellent visual aid. Hang all the result on a bulletin board to show your classroom results. This is the perfect combination of math, social skills, and art!