Halloween Pumpkin Design Ideas that Support Math Learning

  • Decorating jack-o’-lanterns offers opportunities for children to explore early math concepts like shape, size, and measurement.
  • You can do this activity with things commonly found at home and in classrooms — no pumpkin required.

Pumpkin Design Activity Instructions

Step 1: Gather the materials.

Step 2: Create an assortment of shapes.

  • Size. What will fit on your pumpkin?
  • Number. How many triangles will we need to make the eyes and nose?
  • Estimation. About how many triangles do you think we will need to make a mouth out of triangles?

Step 3: Design the jack-o’-lantern face.

  • Shape. What shape should we use for the nose?
  • Shape attributes. These rectangles are different. How come they are both rectangles?
  • Distance. How far apart should we place the eyes?
  • Spatial relations. The nose goes in the middle of the pumpkin. The eyes are above the nose. If we rotate the shape, the nose looks different.
  • Size. Is the nose triangle bigger or smaller than the triangles we used for the eyes?
  • Number. How many squares will fit where we want to make the mouth?

Adaptation Ideas to Support Learning

Step 4: Enjoy and talk about the designs.

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DREME Network

DREME Network

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A network of scholars in early math education, conducting research & developing materials to promote young children’s math learning. https://dreme.stanford.edu