Target Grade Level / Age Range:

Pre-K – Kindergarten


30 minutes


Students will explore the life cycles and traits of apples and pumpkins.


  • Apples
  • Small Pumpkins
  • Large paper bags
  • From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer
  • White Board/Marker or chart paper

Suggested Companion Resources (books, websites, etc.)

  • What Am I? Looking Through Shapes at Apples and Grapes by N.N. Charles
  • Pumpkin Circle by George Levenson


  • Soil - the upper layer of earth in which plants grow, a black or dark brown material typically consisting of a mixture of organic remains, clay, and rock particles
  • Seedling - a young plant, especially one raised from seed and not from a cutting
  • Blossom - the flower of a plant, especially of one producing an edible fruit

Background – Agricultural Connections:

Pumpkins and apples are fruits that are grown from a seed. Both are harvested by hand, usually, though apples grow on trees and pumpkins grow on vines in the ground.

There are many apple orchards in Iowa. Illinois is the top pumpkin-producing state. Apples and pumpkins are grown on farms.

Interest Approach or Motivator:

Place the apple and the pumpkin in two separate paper bags, one labeled “one” and one labeled “two.” Have students come up to the apple and pumpkin bags in pairs to feel them and silently return to their seats. On a white board or chart paper, create a column for bag one and bag two. Ask students to share their observations of each bag and record them. Students may use their eyes, ears, nose and hands to attempt to guess the contents of the bag.


  1. Read From Seed to Pumpkin with students. Ask discussion questions like:
    1. What does a pumpkin start out as?
    2. What does a pumpkin need to grow?
    3. What time of year are pumpkins ready to be harvested?
    4. What are pumpkins used for?
    5. Who grows pumpkins?
  2. Divide students into two teams. Ask one team to find an object in the room that has similar characteristics to a pumpkin. Ask the other team to try and find an object with similar characteristics to an apple. After five minutes, draw the group back together and share findings.
  3. Remove the paper bags from the apple and pumpkin. Ask students to come up in pairs and use their eyes, ears, and hands to analyze the fruits.
  4. Create a Venn or bubble diagram to compare and contrast the apple and pumpkin. Have students suggest characteristics to go in each of the sections of the diagram.

Extension Activities:

  • Schedule a field trip to an apple orchard or pumpkin patch


Whittney Nordmeyer

National Agriculture Literacy Outcomes

  • Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber & Energy
    • Explain how farmers/ranchers work with the lifecycle of plants and animals (planting/breeding) to harvest a crop
  • Culture, Society, Economy & Geography:
    • Discuss what a farmer does

Iowa Early Learning Standards:

  • 8.3: Small Motor Development: Children develop small motor skills.
  • 9.1: Curiosity and Initiative: Children express curiosity, interest, and initiative in exploring the environment, engaging in experiences, and learning new skills.
  • 9.4: Play and Senses: Children engage in play to learn.
    • 2. Uses sights, smells, sounds, textures, and tastes to discriminate between and explore experiences, materials, and the environment.
  • 13.1: Art: Children participate in a variety of art and sensory-related experience.
    • 1. Uses a variety of drawing and art materials, such as drawing utensils, paint, clay, and wood to create original works, form, and meaning

Iowa Core Standards

  • Math:
    • K.MD.A.2 : Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has "more of"/"less of" the attribute, and describe the difference.  For example, directly compare the heights of two children and describe one child as taller/shorter.
  • Iowa Core Science Standards:
    • K-LS1-1: Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.


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