Hands On Pumpkin Seed Math with a Number Bond {FREE}

One of our favorite things to do as a family each fall is to head to a local farm and pick out pumpkins. Since fall is my favorite time of year, I get so excited to use the pumpkins to decorate our home along with some apple crisp scented hand soap from Target. But as much as I love picking out and setting out the pumpkins, I always have this nagging feeling that we need to do more than simply decorate with them. And this inevitably leads to…pumpkin math. In the past, we have estimated the number of seeds in our pumpkins. Today, I’m sharing a pumpkin seed math activity you can do after counting and cleaning all those seeds. Using pumpkin seeds and a simple number bond mat, kids will learn addition, subtraction and build number sense as they decompose numbers.

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Pumpkin Seed Math Activity Set Up: 

To get started, you will first need pumpkin seeds. And although you could gut your pumpkin and clean and roast the seeds, you can also purchase ready to eat seeds at the grocery store or on Amazon here. Totally up to you!

Next, print the pumpkin number bond materials: number bond mat, addition and subtraction equation recording pages and pumpkin seed number cards.

I suggest laminating the mat and number cards for durability.

Then cut out the pumpkin seed number cards and shuffle them up. Now you’re all set!

Decomposing Numbers with Pumpkin Seeds:

The pumpkin number bond provides a visual model kids can use to see ways to break apart, or decompose, numbers. Using pumpkin seeds allows a hands on component to form connections as they separate their ‘whole’ pile of seeds into parts.

Plus, it’s fun fine motor practice for your kiddos!

Understanding different ways to decompose numbers is important for building number sense because it helps kids develop their own mental math strategies. And if they can begin to be confident seeing and understanding whole numbers in lots of ways, they can then break apart fractions and decimals multiple ways as well.

Working on a single ‘whole’ number at a time will also strengthen kids’ understanding of addition and subtraction facts and how they relate to one another.

If this is a new math exercise for your kids, I suggest focusing only on addition equations first. Make sure they understand that the number card they pick represents the ‘whole’ number of seeds in the pumpkin. Then let them practice separating them into two different piles and writing equations.

Ask questions such as, “What patterns do you notice?” or “Did you find all the possible equations? How do you know?”

When they seem ready to move onto subtraction, make sure they know that the number card still represents the ‘whole’ number of seeds. Rather than giving them explicit teaching or a specific strategy for finding a subtraction equation, discuss what subtraction represents and ask them how they might write a subtraction equation with their ‘whole.’

Let their understanding, thoughts, or misconceptions guide how you approach this.

Then let them practice addition & subtraction with another number!

Grab the FREE Printable Set:

This free download includes directions and teaching tips, as well as a simple pumpkin number bond mat. There are then addition and subtraction recording pages and number cards to 12.

You can get the whole set in my shop using the link below. I hope this provides some fun hands on math this fall!

{Click HERE to go to my shop and Grab the FREE Pumpkin Seed Math Number Bond Activity Set!}

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