Science Shorts: Gourd-ous Decompositionby: Amy Rubenstein, Stacey Cleary, and Christina Siry

Journal ArticleDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

While pumpkins are an iconic symbol in the classroom that represent fall, harvest time, and Halloween, they are also an ideal subject for teaching elementary students the fundamentals of scientific inquiry and plant decomposition. In a second-grade classroom in New York, the mold, mush, and blackening flesh of a decomposing pumpkin creatively demonstrated decomposition for the Halloween hungry, jack-o-lantern obsessed children. Here the authors describe lessons that were developed as part of a unit on the life cycle of plants.

  • Elementary
Publication Date

Community ActivitySaved in 163 Libraries

Reviews (2)
  • on Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:46 PM

In the 5E method of learning these activities not only reinforce the need for good questioning and good observation but helps students understand how decomposition is an important aspect of the life cycle of living things. This activity would be great to do around Halloween since pumpkins are more readily available but one can replace the pumpkin with other fruit to achieve the same results.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:29 PM

In this activity, students watch a slice of a gourd decompose in a plastic bag. The article contains great ideas to conduct the inquiry and gather student ideas. A fantastic intro to this activity would be the Halloween Science Even More Everyday Science Mysteries: Stories for Inquiry-Based Science Teaching .

Angelika Fairweather  (Bradenton, FL)
Angelika Fairweather (Bradenton, FL)

Free - NSTA Members

$1.29 - Nonmembers

Login or Create a Free Account to add this resource to your library.