STEAM at Home: Puking Pumpkins!

Halloween is a time to celebrate creepy crawlies, eat your favorite candies, dance like zany zombies and carve plump pumpkins! Halloween is also the perfect time to show off your creativity! Why not wear black nail polish to bring out the goth in you? Use purple Manic Panic to dye your hair! Wear your ghost or goblin costume and feel free to be a bit ghoulish!

Have you ever been to Sleepy Hollow? If not, I highly encourage you to visit Sleepy Hollow with your family this year; it’s a great Halloween destination. You could take pictures of the Old Dutch Reformed Church, featured in Washington Irving’s classic short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” or go pumpkin picking at Sleepy Hollow Farm.

Speaking of pumpkin picking, this week I tried out a STEAM project that creates a chemical eruption inside a carved pumpkin!

Materials:

  • Note to parents and caregivers–children should do this project only with your close supervision, since the activity requires knives 
  • One medium sized pumpkin
  • Pumpkin carving tools (knives, scoops, etc.)
  • Marker
  • Food coloring (I used green)
  • Baking soda (about a half cup)
  • White vinegar (about one cup)
  • Outdoor space (or a sheet to cover your kitchen table–this will get messy)

Instructions:

  • First, cut off the top quarter of your pumpkin and set it aside.
  • Next, use a marker to create a face for your pumpkin. For suggestions, check out this Pinterest board.
  • Carve your pumpkin’s face along the lines you drew. Scoop out the insides and set them aside.
  • Slowly add the 1/2 cup of baking soda to the inside of the pumpkin (make sure the baking soda doesn’t spill out.) You may have to adjust the amount of baking soda and vinegar that you use, depending on the size of your pumpkin. 
  • In a container, mix a few drops of food coloring into a cup of vinegar. 
  • When you are ready, slowly pour the vinegar into the pumpkin and watch your pumpkin puke!

 

The Science Behind the Volcanic Puking Pumpkin:

Adding an acidic ingredient (vinegar) to the baking soda (carbon dioxide) creates a chemical reaction, or the “eruption” of the pumpkin to “puke.” You can read more about this chemical reaction from STEAM Powered Family.

Projects Using Pumpkin Guts:


Other STEAM Halloween Projects:

Other Halloween Activities:

      • Listen to read-alouds of stories, like Hey, That’s My Monster, on Storyline Online.
      • Make up your own zany zombie dance to The Monster Mash.
      • Set up a spooky, scary, fright night with a flashlight; see if anyone in your family has a talent for retelling ghost stories!

Categories: Featured, Homepage Kids, Kids, and Library News.

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