Observing the Plant Life Cycle—With Pumpkins!


In third grade we study plants and their life cycles. This year we’ve experienced almost every part of the plant life cycle by observing pumpkins!

pumpkin life cycle

Like last year, we started by participating in the Pumpkin Seed Project. We divided into groups and estimated the diameter, weight and number of seeds in our pumpkins. Then we measured and counted to see how close our estimates were.

We took some seeds from one of the pumpkins and germinated them by wrapping them in wet paper towels and putting them in a plastic bag. After a week almost all of the seeds had germinated! We each took a seed and planted it in our outdoor planter.  We share our school grounds with a group of rabbits, and we think they must have eaten our seedlings because over one weekend they all disappeared!

We didn’t give up on growing a pumpkin, though. We took one whole pumpkin and left a few seeds inside of it, then filled it full of soil. Over a week’s time we observed the pumpkin start to sprout a little seedling, but the sides of the pumpkin started to decompose. After a week the sides were soft and moldy, but the seedling was still growing. This time we didn’t want to give the rabbits another free lunch, so Mrs. Hamman took the pumpkin home and planted the whole thing in a planter in her back yard. We looked at pictures of it over the weeks as it grew from a seedling to a mature plant, then it developed yellow flowers. The flowers must have been pollinated because one day a tiny green pumpkin appeared! Today there are eight small pumpkins on the plant, with the largest one being about six inches in diameter. They are all still a dark green color. What do you think will happen next?

Here’s a slide show of some of the things we did while studying plants.

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Have you studied plants with your class?

What did you learn?


  1. DearMrs.Hamman,

    It was a really great thing to learn about the life cicle.Will we do it again?

  2. Dear Mrs. Hamman,

    I loved that video. It taught me a lot of things about pumpkins.
    Their life cycle, what they look like after you filled a pumpkin
    with soil and put it in the planter and waited for four months.
    A lot of things. My favorite part of the video is when the flowers
    were growing out of a pumpkin. It also taught me that too. I
    didn’t know flowers can grow out of pumpkins either!

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