I found this fantastic third-grade pumpkin lesson on Painted Paper (I actually found it on Pinterest). I introduced the project by talking about extreme pumpkin ideas. I made a Powerpoint of some seriously incredible jack-o-lanterns, as well as of the some of the largest recorded pumpkins on record (the largest was over 1,800 pounds!). I then showed them a video clip from National Geographic about Punkin Chunkin, which they loved. We even looked at some photos of pumpkin field landscapes.
Next, we began in pencil by drawing a horizon line, with a setting sun. Our tree (or trees; I told them no more than 2) started with kind of backwards parentheses like this: )(, and then filled in with a curvy V shape to create the foundation for the branches, with lots of Y's added on. My art room is on the third floor so I told the kids to look outside to see how high the branches reach (past our windows), because students have a tendency to make sort little branches.
We discussed how pumpkin lines do not go straight up and down like bars on a jail cell, but follow the natural curve of the pumpkin. Students began in pencil with the pumpkins, but quickly moved on to doing them in Sharpie directly. I always tell them that they will never notice one tiny mistake! Students filled in their fields as much as possible.
We did the color in liquid watercolor (MY NEW FAVORITE MATERIAL!). I encouraged them to experiment with the techniques of wet-on-wet, where they would drip one sky color on another to help with their sunsets. Every resulting project was beautiful!!