Friday, 1 November 2013

Make the Most of the Big, Orange Fruit!

Did you know that the pumpkin is a fruit?  We didn't until we watched this clip and learned some pumpkin anatomy.

Then we proceeded to the business of carving our monster pumpkin.  Tiger first searched online for a pattern that he liked, then drew it on the pumpkin with a pencil.  When he was happy with his pencil sketch, he went over it with a permanent marker.  After watching a clip on how to carve a pumpkin, I helped Tiger to cut out the top and the shapes, but left the scooping to him.

There was so much flesh and seeds from the pumpkin that made me want to make the most of the fruit, so I roped Tiger in to make the pumpkin pean muffins.

While Tiger was busy making muffins (he doesn't like how they taste in the end, unfortunately), I used up the rest of the flesh to make a warming soup (that I really like but the boys don't).  The only thing that everyone like was the roast pumpkin seeds.  I have been told to NOT cook anything that contains pumpkin ever again....

While we waited for the food to cook, Tiger and I decided to find out what else we could do with our pumpkin:

1) Exploding pumpkins - This is very cool but unfortunately we can't do it at home.

2) Oozing pumpkins

Now this we can do.  The principle of the above experiment is the same as the Elephant Toothpaste experiment that Lucinda did with her children, except that the catalyst used in the clip above is Potassium Iodine (not readily available) but the catalyst used to create a similar foam in the elephant toothpaste experiment is yeast (readily available).  We managed to get our own vomiting/foaming pumpkin, which impressed Tiger very much:

After wowing at our success at creating a disgusting-looking jack-o-lantern, we decided to be a little more scientific by trying to answer the three questions found here.

Q1: Does the amount of yeast affect the amount of foam produced?
We prepared two jars with exactly the same amount of solutions with the only variable being that one jar was added with one packet of yeast while the other jar with two packets of yeast.


It doesn't look like there is much different to the amount of foam produced from both bottles, but luckily I took a video of the experiment.  It appears that the amount of yeast affects the speed of the foam creation.

Q2: Does the experiment work as well with dry yeast that is not mixed with water?

At first it seemed that nothing much was going to happen apart from a little foam at the base of the bottle.

However, within 5 minutes we saw that the foam level has risen substantially.

I asked Tiger what he thought had happened.  He answered that the yeast was still causing a reaction with the hydrogen peroxide, but that the warm water was necessarily to "wake the yeast up".  It's not the most scientific explanation but he's got the gist of what was happening.

Q3: Does the size of the bottle affect the amount of foam produced?
We didn't have plastic bottles so I used three different-sized jars.  Everything else stayed constant.

It seems that size does matter, which surprises me.  I don't know why that is, so that's something for us to find out.

Being the boy that he is, Tiger couldn't help to add his own (messy) touch to the experiment when it was over.  He wanted to see whether the colours would mix, and they did, to a some extent.

3) Glowing Pumpkins

We used a glow-in-the-dark paint that we have to paint over the exocarp of the pumpkin, but it didn't work too well.  I am guessing that glow-in-the-dark powder probably works better for this.

Nonetheless, we had a fun Halloween.  Hope yours was good too!

This post is linked up to:
  1. Entertaining and Educational - Letter Learning Obstacle Course
  2. Collage Friday - Math, Friendship, Shoeboxes & More
  3. Creative Learning On Friday #19
  4. TGIF Linky Party #100
  5. Weekly Wrap Up: The One with the Solo Drive
  6. The Homeschool Mother's Journal {November 2, 2013}
  7. Science Sunday: I didn't get it all done
  8. Hip Homeschool Hop - 11/5/2013


  1. It does seem like you got the most out of your pumpkin. Happy Halloween.

  2. That looks like lots of fun for boys.

  3. I love the oozing pumpkin. We are doing this tomorrow. Thanks for the great idea.

  4. You're welcome, ladies. Happy Halloween and have a great weekend! :-)

  5. Great post! I love the oozing pumpkin, going to have to try that one! :)

  6. I too love that pumpkin with all the stuff oozing out of its mouth and eyes. Quite revolting!! (but very very cool!) What a great time the two of you have had!

  7. Thank you, Claire. We had fun. :-)

  8. What a fantastic set of pumpkin activities! I love how you bring science in so naturally (very clever to video the elephant toothpaste, too). I'd like to try elephant toothpaste with added washing up liquid, I'm not sure how scientific it is but it sounds like fun! :-D I'm going to bookmark this for next Halloween!
    ps I sympathise about the pumpkin. I'm the only one in our family that likes most squashes. It takes me some time to get through a butternut squash. I shall keep getting the kids to try them though. It worked with mushrooms!

  9. I appreciate your sympathy, Lucinda. :-) I've been trying for years to get the boys to eat squashes but they're just not into it at all, so this year they've issued an ultimatum. It's time for me to move on from pumpkins. :-)

  10. I love the big huge mess you've made with it. That is so incredibly cool, and how many ways you experimented with the yeast mixture.


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