Thanksgiving STEM Activity - Pumpkin Picker

Rated 4.86 out of 5, based on 207 reviews
207 Ratings
Kerry Tracy Feel-Good Teaching
Grade Levels
2nd - 8th
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • Zip
30 pages
Share this resource
Report this resource to TPT
Kerry Tracy Feel-Good Teaching
Also included in
  1. These Thanksgiving STEM activities will keep your students engaged right up until the break as they design and build devices to help the Wampanoag and/or Pilgrims meet their needs for transportation, shelter, food, and more. Modification suggestions are included to make these challenges engaging and
    Price $8.98Original Price $17.50Save $8.52
  2. Super-charge your STEM class with 52 high-engagement, critical thinking, problem-solving, NGSS-aligned challenges to take you through the entire year! Modifications are included to make these activities engaging and challenging for students in grades 2 - 8. The basic premise: Students work in partne
    Price $95.00Original Price $186.36Save $91.36
  3. This Thanksgiving STEM / STEAM Challenge is collaborative, brain-busting work disguised as fun!The basic premise:Individually, or in partners/groups, students will design and build a device to harvest a field of pumpkins as efficiently as possible. (Efficiency is measured in amount of time or number
    Price $5.98Original Price $7.96Save $1.98
  4. Two Fall STEM activities to engage your students in the 4 C's of engineering - Pumpkin Picker STEM Challenge & Fall STEM Improv!Fall STEM Activity 1: STEM ImprovA quick STEM activity to work on creativity, mental flexibility & the planning step of the Engineering Design Process (EDP).Here's
    Price $5.50Original Price $7.00Save $1.50


Looking for the perfect Halloween or Thanksgiving STEM activity to keep your kids engaged? The Pumpkin Picker STEM Challenge is the perfect fit for all your fall activities!

The basic premise:

Individually, or in partners/groups, students will design and build a device to harvest a field of pumpkins as efficiently as possible. (Efficiency is measured in amount of time or number of moves needed to clear the pumpkin patch.) Once picked, pumpkins will be deposited in a harvest container.


Note: This is the printable version (but you can upload the editable version to Google Slides). If you are in a 1:1 / paperless classroom, you may prefer the version specifically designed for use with GOOGLE SLIDES (TM).

If you have questions about which version is right for you, please feel free to leave me a question using the product Q&A below.


Resource includes:

NGSS aligned standards, Grades 2 – 8

Teacher Tips

  • Links to my STEM Challenge PD video series
  • Materials and timing
  • Criteria & Constraints (including modifications to increase difficulty for older students)
  • Measuring results
  • Universal STEM Challenge Notes
  • Link to a video walk-through of the challenge with tips, modifications & troubleshooting

EDITABLE Student Handouts

  • Criteria & Constraints List (in color and black & white)
  • Optional pumpkin patch grid for setup
  • Design Analysis Handouts (2-page regular spacing and 4-page expanded spacing for primary students included in color and black & white)
  • Discussion Questions (in color and B&W)

Extension templates

  • Process Flow Map
  • Create Math Problems Based on Designs
  • Math Task Card templates (editable; with 12 leveled examples & editable version provided)
  • Pumpkin outline writing templates (editable)


Sample/suggested materials for each student or group:

(Materials you’ll need to do the activity are easily modified.)

  • Candy pumpkins or candy corn (24 – 36)
    (Rolos, wrapped caramels, crumpled paper, etc. can be substituted)
  • Pipe cleaners (5 – 10)
  • Popsicle/craft sticks (10 – 15)
  • Plastic spoons (5 – 10)
  • Bowl or holding container for harvested pumpkins
  • Scissors
  • Copies of pumpkin patch guide handout or green construction paper
  • Copies of data recording & analyzing handouts


• Straws

• Clothespins

• String

• Rulers/measuring tapes

• Tape, cable ties, rubber bands


What do teachers have to say about this resource?

“This is a fun STEM challenge that is very thought provoking. Excellent tie in to writing and math, and very detailed teacher notes and steps. That makes it so much easier to get everything set up so the students can start learning. Great product! Thank you!”

"Awesome STEM activity...especially during the fall months! My Kinders loved it! Thank you!"

"I used this activity for our Fall Harvest Festival with students in Kindergarten -5th grade. They loved it!  It was very interesting to see what the different age groups came up with.  This was very user friendly."

"Thorough and appropriate for grade levels.  The post-lesson activities and links were perfect for additional information.  My 4th graders enjoyed the activity immensely!"

Product is well-designed and has everything you need for a STEM project. My students loved it! I was unable to find the pumpkin candy. I used Rolos as suggested and it worked great! (6th - 7th)

"So many ways to enhance and stretch this fun project.  My 7th graders had a blast."

“I used this with my 8th grade STEM class and they had such an amazing time. I couldn't find any pumpkin candies or candy corn in stores (even though it wasn't even Thanksgiving yet) so I used caramels instead. It worked like a charm because they are about the same size and consistency. I will be using this again!”

"I was leery about paying $4 for this because it seemed like something I could easily do on my own, but there are lots of extra resources and ideas that would allow you to extend this challenge into a week or even more. Well done!"


You might also like these resources:

STEM Challenges & Bundles (grades 2 – 8):


Thanksgiving STEM Challenge 5-in-1 Bundle

Christmas/Winter STEM Design Challenge: 5-in-1 Bundle

Halloween STEM Challenge 5-in-1 Bundle


Please check out the video preview to see the challenge, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!


Total Pages
30 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 hour
Report this resource to TpT
Reported resources will be reviewed by our team. Report this resource to let us know if this resource violates TpT’s content guidelines.


to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.
Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.


Questions & Answers

Teachers Pay Teachers is an online marketplace where teachers buy and sell original educational materials.

More About Us

Keep in Touch!

Sign Up