Seeds 3rd - 6th | Series 3, Lesson #1
Key Topics/Vocabulary: Seed Coat, Germination, Cotyledon, Endosperm, Roots, New Leaves, Photosynthesis, Embryo
Grade Levels: 3rd - 6th
In this lesson, students will explore seeds and learn that each one contains all the information and potential to grow into healthy, thriving plants for our garden. By dissecting a variety of soaked seeds, students will learn important vocabulary words that will help us to understand plant development.
Essential Question(s) that Connect CCCs and SEPs:
Seed Coat- The protective outer coat of a seed
Germination- The process of a seed beginning to grow
Cotyledon- The first leaves of a plant, folded inside of the seed
Endosperm- Food storage inside of the seed, the plants first meal when it begins to grow
Roots- The part of the plant that is hidden under ground and gathers water and food for the plant
New Leaves- The leaves that the plant begins to grow after it emerges from the ground.
Photosynthesis- The process in which plants make their own food from sunlight.
Embryo- The very beginning stage of life for a plant, the embryo is within the seed.
This lesson can easily take place inside or outside. Having a whiteboard and ample sitting space for the dissection activity is needed.
Greet your class with a riddle to get them thinking about what the day’s lesson will be.
Read: Seed Riddle by Laurel Anderson
I appear dead before I am alive
Although often quite small, I can have a tree inside
I can be large as a football or small as flea
Both humans and animals eat me
Food and water I can live without
I can survive freezing, fires and drought!
I can swim and fly!
What am I?
(Answer: a seed!)
After sharing the answer to the riddle, ask students how the riddle is true? What type of seeds do we eat? How do seeds swim? What kinds of seeds fly? What seed is as large as a football (a coconut).
Hand out a collection of different types of seeds for the students to handle and observe. These can be the same ones that you have soaked for seed dissection or other ones saved from the garden. If there are plants that have gone to seed in your garden, you can encourage students to observe the seeds on the plants. Ask the class to share what they notice about the seeds. What do they feel like? What do they look like? What color are they? What shape are they? What things about them are different from the other seeds? What things about them are the same?
Draw a diagram of seed on the white board and describe the function of each part (use the image at the end of this lesson for a reference). Learn new vocab:
Seed coat: The outer covering that protects a seed and keeps it insulated in extreme temperatures.
Cotyledons: The first two lobes that pop out of the ground. They look like leaves, but do not turn sunlight into energy for the plant (photosynthesis). They have starches that provide energy for the plant to make its first “true leaves” that photosynthesize.
True Leaves: (see previous sentence).
Dichot: A seed that has 2 leaves when it sprouts. Can you think of an example of a Dichot?
Monocot: A seed with 1 leaf when it sprouts. What seeds only have one leaf when they sprout? (Grass). Germination: When a seed begins to “wake up” and grow into a plant! Take some time to define the remaining vocabulary words.
What do seeds need to grow and create healthy plants? (Water, sun, minerals in the soil, warmth, sometimes fire, or freezing temps.)
*You may have to simplify some of these vocabulary words with 3rd graders. See what they already know!
What are the different parts of a seed? What do the different parts do for plants? Who can give me an example of a monocot? Dichot?
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