Pumpkin STEM Challenges Ideas

The fall season is the perfect time to incorporate pumpkins into your curriculum. But, you may be wondering how to incorporate them into your STEM challenges. It’s easy to modify building challenges to include pumpkins so your students can celebrate the fall season with fun and engaging pumpkin STEM challenges. Two of my favorite ways to use pumpkins in my STEM challenges during the fall season are with Lego and recyclable materials. I am so excited to share with you these awesome pumpkin STEM challenges your students are sure to love completing this fall!

Supplies and Materials Needed for Halloween and Pumpkin STEM Challenges

One of my favorite things about STEM challenges is they don’t require you to go out and buy a ton of new supplies for your students to use. Half of the challenge includes using things you already have on hand such as recyclable materials or interlocking blocks like Legos.

Easy to find supplies could include:

  • Toilet paper or paper towel rolls
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Wooden or plastic blocks
  • Legos
  • Empty tissue boxes
  • Shoe Boxes
  • Old pencils or dried up markers
  • Milk cartons from the cafeteria
  • Erasers
  • Pom-poms
  • Foam balls

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your parents and ask for some of these supplies to be sent in with students before you start your challenges.

5 Little Pumpkins STEM Challenge

Literacy and STEM

Use this book as a way to bring literacy into your pumpkin STEM challenges.

This challenge is one of my favorites because it gives me a chance to bring some literacy into our challenge.

Any time I can sit my students down for a great story is going to be a win/win for me and my kiddos.

I love to pair this pumpkin STEM challenge with the book 5 Little Pumpkins by Ben Mantle.

I also love showing the YouTube video 5 Little Pumpkins Sitting on a Gate projected on my whiteboard as an introduction to the STEM challenge my students will be working on.

Building, Balance, and Fine Motor Skills

The goal of this pumpkin STEM challenge is for students to incorporate building, balance, and fine motor skills to create a gate that can hold 5 “pumpkins”. This challenge can be completed as a whole group or used as a fun fall center activity.

With helpful task cards, my students are able to work independently or collaboratively to build a gate using our recyclable materials that can hold at least 5 pumpkins. The pumpkins can be plastic pumpkins from the discount store or even orange pom-poms.


I generally give my students at least 15 minutes to build their gates and 10 minutes to fill out the response sheet at the end of class.

Students will use several different materials to create a gate to hold 5 pumpkins in this hands-on challenge.

I also think it’s really important for students to have the opportunity to see what their classmates have built and take a few minutes to discuss with each other what worked and what challenges they faced while creating their gates. It’s a great opportunity for them to learn from one another.

I also love providing certificates of completion to each of my students after they have completed their pumpkin STEM challenges. It helps to promote a positive atmosphere and foster an environment of creativity in the classroom.

Certificates are also tangible items students can take home to show their families. Sometimes it can be frustrating for students when they create an awesome STEM challenge, but can’t take it home. Sending a certificate of completion helps students feel proud of their accomplishments and encourages them to discuss the activity with their families.

Halloween STEM Challenge Spookley The Square Pumpkin

This fun pumpkin STEM challenge features a beloved character, Spookley the Square Pumpkin who made their film debut in 2004 and became an instant fall/Halloween must-see movie for children everywhere.

Use this book as an introduction to your pumpkin STEM challenges to help teach your students the importance of recognizing the importance of being unique.

Several years later, author Joe Troiano turned this classic into an adorable children’s book, Spookley the Square Pumpkin. It’s about a sweet little pumpkin who looked different from all the other pumpkins in the patch.

And, as we all know too well, was teased for being different. I love reading this story to my students not only because it teaches kindness and understanding but also gives us an opportunity to talk about the beauty of things that might be different.

After reading Spookly The Square Pumpkin, it’s time for our STEM challenge. We begin by discussing different kinds of pumpkins and looking at a slideshow featuring all kinds of fun pumpkin shapes. It’s fun for students to see that there are all kinds of pumpkins… even some with bumps that look like warts!

Next, it’s time for students to make their own Spookly pumpkin. Using task cards, kiddos create their own Spookly pumpkin using interlocking bricks like LEGO. This ensures that you won’t get any traditionally round pumpkin shapes.

Lastly, students show off their amazing pumpkin creations. It’s so amazing to see all of the different ways students interlocking bricks to create pumpkins. Some are going to be tall and thin, and others are going to be wide and fat. But, that’s the magic of this challenge. Each and every pumpkin will look different!

This Spookly The Square Pumpkin activity is also available in digital format if you want to use it in a center, as part of your tech time, or as a fun home-based activity to send home for your students to work on during fall break.

Disguise the Pumpkin STEAM Challenge

This is one of my favorite ways to bring in some STEAM projects during the fall season. To hit the “A” in STEAM, your kiddos will use art and creative writing to complete this activity.

To set the stage for the challenge, I let my students know that they are going to try to disguise a pumpkin by turning it into something completely different – like an animal, person, vehicle, or character. If I think my younger students aren’t quite familiar with the concept of a disguise, I might show some images of kids in disguise or bring in props of my own.

Next, I pass out task cards. These task cards are all different and include prompts asking students to disguise their pumpkins. You can let students draw their own pumpkin or use the included page with a pumpkin already on it. Then, it’s up to the students to add the disguise to the drawing.

Lesson Wrap-Up

To wrap up the activity, I ask students to write a small story about their new design. I have done this as both an individual and group activity in the past. Either way, this is a fantastic STEAM project your students are going to love!

Consider hanging these disguised pumpkin drawings and creative writings up in the hallways in the week or so before Halloween for some spooky, silly fun for other classes to look at. You can grab this Simple STEAM Think Like an Artist Hidden Pumpkin Activity in the Miss Tech Queen TPT store today!

Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin STEM Challenges

This is one of those pumpkin STEM challenges that is awesome because it really challenges students to think creatively about how to create something spherical out of angular objects. Students will have to use a lot of creative thinking skills to successfully complete this challenge.

Integrating Other Subjects

One of my favorite things about this jack-o-lantern STEM challenge is how I am able to integrate other subject areas into the process. Not only are students focusing on building, but they are also going to be using math to create symmetrical faces or patterns.

By asking students to give their jack-o-lantern an emotion, students are focusing on social-emotional learning and reflecting on it with emotion response sheets.

When students complete the challenge, they will be asked to write a story about their jack-o-lantern using details and creative elements to match their physical jack-o-lantern. This hits on those important literacy skills we are always trying to use in our classrooms!

With math, writing, STEM, and social-emotional learning this is a great Halloween party activity that can last all day long!

The Challenge

For this jack-o-lantern challenge, I like to use Legos, but any kind of building block can work, so use what you already have on hand.

Students will use building bricks to make a pumpkin in this fun Halloween STEM challenge

You can also check around with other teachers to see if they would be willing to let you borrow some of their Legos or building blocks while your students are working on this challenge.

I also like to get those little battery-operated tea-light candles to use at the end of the challenge for students to put inside their pumpkins. Nothing is more fun than turning off all the lights in the room and taking a walk around to admire all of the glowing pumpkin creations.

This challenge is great for a whole group or center activity depending on the ability levels of your students. I generally like to give my students about 25 minutes to create their pumpkins using task cards.

Light It Up!

Once they are done with their creations, I always make sure they complete a response sheet. It’s so important for students to have the opportunity to reflect on the process.

After students have turned in their reflection sheets, I hand them their battery-operated candles to place inside their pumpkins. Not only does this encourage them to complete the reflection sheet, but also gives them something really fun to look forward to once they have finished their challenge. This is also a great opportunity to take some fun photos to include on your class website or even the school yearbook!

This jack-o-lantern STEM challenge is always a favorite during the fall months in my STEM classroom.

Even More Fun Halloween and Pumpkin STEM Challenges

If you are looking for even more fun and exciting fall and Halloween-themed STEM challenges your students will love, be sure to check out my Halloween STEM Challenges BUNDLE. With everything from spider webs to a witch’s tower, you are sure to find the perfect challenges to celebrate the season!

Your students will love completing these Halloween themed STEM challenges this October!

Be sure to check out my blog post Halloween STEM Activities for Elementary Students for even more fun ideas for using Halloween-themed STEM challenges in your classroom this fall!

Pin it!

Save these pumpkin STEM challenge ideas to your favorite Pinterest teacher board so you can come back quickly for fun and exciting pumpkin-themed STEM projects you and your students will love!

Share it:


You might also like...