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Lesson Plans
Pumpkin Seed Count and Compare
1st–2nd Grade
Objectives Objectives
  • Students will estimate how many seeds are in a pumpkin and compare their estimates to the actual results.
  • Students will count by twos, fives, and tens.
  • Students will use the greater than, less than and equal symbols to compare numbers.
Materials Materials Needed
  • How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara
  • Pumpkin
  • Knife (for teacher use only)
  • Newspaper
  • 3 index cards
  • Comparing Seeds reproducible
Preparation: Purchase a pumpkin from a local grocery store or pumpkin patch. Bring it to school, along with a sharp knife and some old newspaper. Spread out the newspaper to protect your workspace. Then cut out the top of the pumpkin. Leave the top on until instructed to remove it during the lesson.

Finally, take the index cards and write the greater than symbol on the first card, the less than symbol on the second card, and the equal sign on the third card.



Display the pumpkin and ask students to tell you what’s inside (seeds). Ask students if they can estimate, or guess, how many seeds there are. Write their guesses on the board or on chart paper.

Tell students that you are going to read a story about a class that does the same activity that you will do with students today. Ask students to listen for ideas on how to count the pumpkin seeds. Then read aloud How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? When you have finished reading, ask students to share their observations about the book, including ways to count the pumpkin seeds.



  1. Take the top off of your pumpkin and have volunteers help you remove and clean the seeds.
  2. Encourage students to help you count the seeds. Start by putting the seeds in groups of 10 and counting by tens. Count again with the seeds in groups of 5 and again with groups of 2.
  3. Compare the results to the estimates on the board. Ask students to share whether they were surprised by the results.
  4. Hold up the three index cards and explain to students what each symbol represents.
  5. Count out two groups of seeds. Ask, “Which pile is greater?” Prompt students to identify the symbol you should place between the two piles. Then write the inequality (or equality) on the board.
  6. Repeat this activity using different quantities until students understand how to correctly use the symbols.

Independent Practice

Independent Practice

  1. Give each student a copy of the Comparing Seeds reproducible.
  2. Instruct students to count the seeds in each group and write the amounts in the space provided. Then prompt students to write the correct symbol in the blank between each pair of numbers.
  3. On the second page, have students create and solve their own problems.

the 1st–2nd grade lesson plan. (Includes all printable materials.)




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