Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Science

After our trip to the Pumpkin Patch (more on that here) we did some pumpkin science that didn’t go quite as planned. 

First we took two of our pumpkins and numbered them 1 and 2.
Then we discussed which pumpkin we thought was larger and which we thought weighed more.  We were going to predict which one we thought had more seeds but we had so many other messy, fun things to do we never got the chance to rip the guts out of our pumpkins.

We measured the pumpkins circumference by wrapping a string around them and holding it against a ruler.  Pumpkin number 1 was 18” going around vertically and 17” going horizontally.  Pumpkin number 2 was 19” both vertically and horizontally.  At this point we discussed again which one we thought would weigh more.  We all agreed that Pumpkin number 2 should weigh more.
Then we attempted to weigh them.  This is where things didn’t go quite according to plan.  Our plastic balance scale could not handle our pumpkins so we ended up having to use our digital bathroom scale.  Unfortunately it was unable to handle weights as light as our pumpkins.  So, I had each kid stand on the scale alone and then holding a pumpkin.  By subtracting the two numbers, we should have been able to get the weight of the pumpkin.  Notice I said should. 

First we did pumpkin number 1.  We did two measurements.  First Georgie alone (42.4 pounds), then holding the pumpkin (39.8 pounds) for a pumpkin weight of 2.6 pounds.  Then Vicki alone (35.8 pounds) and holding the pumpkin (33.4 pounds) for a pumpkin weight of 2.4 pounds.  Not too much of a difference.

On to pumpkin number 2.  This time we did three measurements because they weren’t coming out quite so close.  First Vicki alone (34.6 pounds – not the same as before maybe due to wiggling?) then with the pumpkin (35.6 pounds) for a pumpkin weight of 1 pound.   Then Georgie alone (41.0 pounds – hmmm) and with the pumpkin (38.4 pounds) for a pumpkin weight of 2.6 pounds.  Big difference from 1 pound.  So we gave Vicki another chance.  This time Vicki alone weighed 33.4 pounds (???) and with the pumpkin 37.2 pounds for a pumpkin weight of 3.8 pounds.  Pretty big range of weights for one little pumpkin.  So we discussed what could have made our weights inaccurate.   We decided that not holding still, putting our hands on the nearby table, having extra little hands on the scale and not waiting to see if the number changed could have messed up our readings.
Instead of cutting open the pumpkins to count the seeds, we pulled out our dabber paints and roller paints and decorated them.
For more Halloween Fun, check out this post.

1 comment:

  1. And how you are standing effects it too.

    But, looks like a fun bit of science. We never finished all of our pumpkin science we were going to do.