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Plant the Seed

Lesson Overview

Drawing of a seed with arrows pointing to specific parts of a seed: Seed coat on outside, stored food and embryo on inside.

Written by Anna Barr under the direction and review of Aimee Ladonski.

Objective

In this lesson, students will learn to identify the parts of a seed and the growth and development of a seed to a plant.

Vocabulary:

  • Video: This video provides an introduction to the vocabulary words. Courtesy of SciShow Kids.
  • Words:
    • Seed coat: Outside cover of a seed that protects the embryo and stored food,
    • Embryo: Tiny, baby plant.
    • Stored food: Food for the embryo inside the seed coat (also called endosperm).
    • Dormant: When normal functions are stopped or slowed down from growing.
    • Germination: Process by which a seed begins to grow or develop.
  • Activity: Consider practicing vocabulary words by having your child write them with sidewalk chalk, or paint them with water on the ground and watch evaporation take place.

Resources and Activities

Video

Seed Germination: Watch this video to learn how a seed germinates. Courtesy of It's AumSum Time.

  • Video follow-up questions:
    • What are some things a seed needs to grow?
      Answers: Moisture, warmth, nutrient-rich soil, sunlight, good seed.
    • Which grows below the ground, roots or shoots?
      Answer: Roots.
    • Which grows above the ground, roots or shoots?
      Answer: Shoots.
    • What do roots do?
      Answers: Anchor and support the plant, search for food and nutrients in the soil.

Book

The Tiny Seed: Watch and listen to “The Tiny Seed” by Eric Carle. Courtesy of Catherina Chu.

  • Book follow-up questions:
    • The tiny seed can’t grow in the ocean. Why not?
    • The tiny seed can’t grow in the desert. Why not?
    • What is a weed? Is it good or bad when it grows by another plant?
    • Have you ever picked a flower from the ground? Who was it for?
Teacher pouring a small amount of seed into a student's hand to construct a tiny greenhouse.

Seed Activity

  • Video: To begin, watch this time-lapse video of a bean growing. Courtesy of GPhase. Next, complete the activity below.
  • Tiny Greenhouse: In this activity, kids learn about the parts of the seed and how a seed germinates and grows into a seedling by crafting a mini green house that allows them to see a seed germinate and grow. Courtesy of Simply Learning.
    • Materials needed (per participant):
      • 1 Plastic baggie (sandwich size or similar).
      • 1 Paper towel.
      • A few Bean seeds. These can come from the grocery store or from a seed packet. Un-split versions of beans are best.
      • Tape.
      • Sunny window.
    • Instructions:
      1. Soak the dried beans (or other seeds) overnight.
      2. Dampen the paper towel and place it in the baggie. You may decide to staple the paper towels at the top of the bag so they do not fall to the bottom, but this is optional. You can also use damp cotton balls instead of a paper towel.
      3. Add a few bean seeds to the baggie on one side of the paper towel.
      4. Press extra air out of the bag and zip shut.
      5. Tape the baggie to a sunny window with the seeds on the side nearest you.
      6. Watch as the seeds grow over the next few days and weeks.

  • Optional Steps:
    • Print this free tiny greenhouse template to make a greenhouse window for your seed to grow. Courtesy of Simply Living.
    • Print this free seed observation journal. Have your child draw a picture of what they see in their “greenhouse” each day. Courtesy of Katie Leseman, Teachers Pay Teachers.
    • Plant the bean plant outside when it outgrows the bag.
  • Activity follow-up questions:
    • What do you think will happen?
    • How long do you think it will take for the seed to start growing?
    • How long do you think it will take before the plant is too big to fit in the bag?
A chipmunk gathering and eating seeds from a sunflower plant.

Nutrition Activities

  • Seedy Sundae: Did you know that you can grow food from seeds, or you can simply eat seeds as food? Even as a dessert!
    • Here is a recipe that uses two different seeds:
      • One scoop of vanilla bean ice cream (the tiny black dots are seeds).
      • Drizzle with honey and add 1 tablespoon of dry roasted sunflower seeds (seeds).
    • Activity follow-up questions:
      • What other seeds do you like to eat? Examples: corn, rice, oats, quinoa, chia seeds, flaxseed, peanuts, chickpeas, edamame, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, coffee beans.
      • Do you ever see any animals eating seeds? What animals?
Children painting pieces of paper at a craft table.

Art Activity

Tiny Seed Craft: Make a picture of your favorite flower, like in “The Tiny Seed” book.

Courtesy of What Can We Do With Paper And Glue.

  • For this activity, you will need:
    • Paint (red, yellow, blue, green, and white)
    • Paint brushes
    • Thick paper
    • Scissors
    • Glue

  • Instructions:
    1. Paint one sheet of paper with a combination of red and yellow. You can also use white to change the shade. This will serve as the petals for your flower.
    2. Paint another sheet of paper with a combination of green and blue. You can also use white to change the shade.
    3. Let the papers dry.
    4. Cut flower petals out of the red and orange paper.
    5. Cut a stem and leaves from the green and blue paper.
    6. Glue all of the cut-out pieces to a black piece of paper to make your flower.
  • Activity follow-up discussion:
    • Talk to your child about color mixing.
    • Example Questions:
      • What happens when we mix red and yellow?
      • What happens when we mix white and red?
Microgreens growing in a plant tray.
Homegrown microgreens ready for harvest.

Adults, Learn More

  • Growing Micro-Greens: As the name implies, micro-greens are grown only for a short time before they are harvested. Learn how to grow them in this tutorial. Courtesy of SDSU Extension.
  • How to Grow Microgreens Indoors: Follow along with this video to construct a microgreens garden at home. Microgreens become food fast! Courtesy of University of Maine Extension.
  • Toilet Paper Tube Seedling Pots: Practical recycling for seed pots. Learn to make a seed pot from a toilet paper tube. Courtesy of Thrifty Fun.
  • Seeds are healthy sources of fiber: Learn the nutritional value of seeds. Courtesy of Michigan State University.

Contributors

Project Lead:

  • Anna Barr, SDSU Graduate Assistant

    Master Gardener Volunteers:

    • Vonnie Ingalls-Carda
    • Jozette Knoff