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Pumpkin (3-5)

9 minutes
Primary subjects: 
Health
Grade: 
3, 4, 5
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About

This lesson includes a discussion of pumpkin and identification of its nutritional benefits. At the end of this lesson, students should be able to identify the food group pumpkin belongs to and other benefits of pumpkin. They will be able to identify the features of pumpkins, the vitamins in pumpkins, and will learn about pumpkin seeds.

Key objectives for students
Expose students to pumpkins, their nutritional benefits, appearance, and taste.
Identify which food group contains pumpkins
Discuss the physical features of pumpkins
Learn about pumpkin seeds
List three main vitamins in pumpkins
Secondary subjects
Agriculture Science, Health and Nutrition
Topics
Healthy choices regarding food, Five food groups, Nutritional benefits of healthy food
Skills
Communication skills
Values
Curiosity, Optimism
Methods
Real-World Application
Background information for teachers

The majority of 9-Minute Nutrition Ninja lessons include taste tests of the day’s lesson. We have provided an Allergy Form. Please provide the allergy form to all students approximately one week before the tasting activities to allow ample time for parents/guardians to read, sign, and return to the classroom.

How To Serve

  • Slice pumpkin in middle to show students the seeds
  • Pass out cups filled with 3-4 pumpkin seeds from prepackaged bag (salted or unsalted)
  • Show students the sliced medium/large pumpkin to see the inside of a pumpkin
  • Ask questions such as “Do you like the taste of pumpkin seeds?”, “Did you expect them to taste the way they did?”
In Advance

Please provide a printed copy of the Allergy Form to all students approximately one week before the tasting activities to allow ample time for parents/guardians to read, sign, and return to the classroom. Check your school policies to understand how to handle food allergies and modify tasting activities for students with food sensitivities.

Materials needed

Vegetable

  • Whole pumpkin and
  • Pumpkin seeds for tasting small cups
  • Serving spoon for handling food
  • Gloves for those handling food
  • Enough cups for each student

Visuals
Pumpkin Handout

Time Exercise Description
9 minutes Discussion
Implementation

DISCUSSION

  • Hello Nutrition Ninjas!
  • Today we are going to talk about pumpkins (show pumpkin).
  • What food group are pumpkins in?
  • Pumpkins are vegetables.
  • Did you know that pumpkins are a kind of squash?
  • They are a type of vegetable called winter squash.
  • Winter squash are harvested in the fall, but are called winter squash because they are hardy and can last through the winter.
  • Has anyone ever had pumpkin pie? What other ways have you tried pumpkin?
  • Pumpkins are usually orange but sometimes they can also be yellow, white, green, or red.
  • Pumpkins have thick shells that have pulp and seeds inside of them (show inside of pumpkin).
  • Pumpkins are usually shaped like a ball.
  • They are all different sizes from small to very big!
  • Pumpkins have vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E.
  • Vitamin A is good for your eyes.
  • Vitamin C helps prevent you from getting a cold.
  • And vitamin E keeps our heart healthy!
  • Have you ever carved a pumpkin for Halloween?
  • You can also eat pumpkins and their seeds. Have you ever tried to toast the pumpkin seeds in the oven?
  • Who here doesn’t like getting up in the morning? (hands raised) What are some things your parents have to do to get you to wake up?
  • What if I were to tell you that there is something in pumpkin seeds that actually helps us sleep better so that you wake up well rested and ready to start the day? It’s called Tryptophan.
  • Can everyone say Tryptophan? That is what is found in pumpkin seeds that make them good ‘sleep food’.
  • Now point to your brain. Great job! Did you know that there are also things in these seeds that feed our brains? Isn’t that cool? They are called Omegas.
  • Can everyone say Omegas? Those are what are found in pumpkin seeds that make them good ‘brain food’.
  • Let’s try some pumpkin seeds today!
  • I also have something about pumpkins for you to take home with you today (pass out Pumpkin Handout).
Assessment Opportunities

At the end of this session, each student should be able to answer at least 3 questions correctly. Questions for grades 3-5 can be “Why is a pumpkin classified as a winter squash?”, “Why are pumpkin seeds good for you”, and “What good group are pumpkins in?”

Standards assessment

Grades 3-5 Health and PE state-by-state standards

Grades 3-5 Science state-by-state standards

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
Science Grade 4
STRAND: NGSS.4-LS. LIFE SCIENCE
TITLE 4-LS1. From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
PERFORMANCE EXPECTATION 4-LS1-2.
Students who demonstrate understanding can: Use a model to describe that animals’ receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.

Community connections

Students can discuss with family members what they learned about pumpkins and show them the Pumpkin Handout. Encourage students to share with family members a new fact they learned, such as “pumpkin seeds are excellent brain food and also help you sleep,” and report back if their families knew this fact.