Pumpkin Contest

Have fun with growing your own gigantic or "teeny-tiny" pumpkins!

This simulation constructs a simple interface for young students (e.g. K-6th grade) to explore and demonstrate artificial selection and directional selection.  Simply pick a pumpkin and then plant it (again and again and again and again and again......) 

You need to download and install NetLogo 6.0 or above to run the simulation. Go to the NetLogo download page.  

Download pumpkin contest simulation module. 



1. Click on "Find a pumpkin patch!" to setup the simulation. You will get a patch in which pumpkins vary in size and weight.

2. To choose a pumpkin, click on "Press and then pick a pumpkin" button, then you should be able to choose a pumpkin using the mouse. The pumpkin weight is labelled by the number next to it.

3. Once choosing your pumpkin, click on "Plant the pumpkin" to plant the pumpkin.

4. Use button "The BIGGEST pumpkin" or "The SMALLEST pumpkin" to help you find the biggest or smallest pumpkin in the patch.

5. Adjust the "water" and " Fertilizer" slides to water and fertilize pumpkins at a certain level. 

6. Click on "Plant pumpkins without selection" to randomly plant some pumpkin seeds produced each year.



1. In this simulation pumpkins always very in size and weight, which reveals the concept of variation. 

2. The pumpkin size is inheritable. Namely, bigger pumpkins produce big pumpkins on average, so do the smaller pumpkins.

3. The smallest pumpkin weight is defined as 1 pound so that you don't get a pumpkin that is smaller than 0.

4. The large end of the pumpkin weight is defined as 500 pounds but you can keep going up. The world record is over 2000 pounds !!!

5. Insufficient water or fertilizer will limit pumpkin growth so it will take much longer to get large pumpkins. But too much water and fertilizer will kill the pumpkins.


This module is made by Dr. Lin Xiang at Weber State University.If you mention this model in a publication, we ask that you include the citations below:

Xiang, L. (2018). Pumpkin Contest. Zoology Department, Weber State University, Ogden, UT.