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LEARNING ABOUT SEEDS UNIT

Note that you can download this unit in PDF format for easy printing. PDF files can be read with Adobe Acrobat Reader. Additional financial support for these units was provided by the Champaign Urbana Community Schools Foundation in 2001-02.

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Contents

  1. Overview
  2. Background Information
  3. Unit Activities Overview
  4. Assessment
  5. Extension Activities
  6. Resources
  7. The Parts of a Plant Activity
  8. The Parts of a Flower Activity
  9. The Parts of a Seed Activity
  10. Growing Seeds and Recording Observations Activity
  11. Seed Cycle Illustrations
  12. Making a Seed Cycle Book
  13. Illinois Early Elementary Learning Standards in Science, Math, and English/Language Arts
  14. Illinois Late Elementary Learning Standards in Science, Math, and English/Language Arts
  15. National Science Education Standards

Overview

This unit contains hands-on science activities to help elementary school students (grades 1 - 4) understand the life cycle of seed producing plants. The learning standards covered during the unit depend on how the activities of the unit are implemented.

Ellen Baranowski
Kenwood Elementary School: Third Grade
1001 South Stratford Drive, Champaign, IL 61821
(217) 351-3815
UIUC/Kenwood B.O.A.S.T. Academy (K-5)
1301 W. Green Street, Urbana, IL 61801
(217) 333-2726 or 244-1984
baranows@uiuc.edu

Background information

Plant Life Cycle Factoids:

  • Some, but not all plants have a reproductive cycle that includes seeds.
  • Not all seeds need sunlight in order to start growing.
  • Seeds come in a variety of sizes and shapes.
  • The size and/or shape of a seed may or may not have any relationship to
  • the size and/or shape of the plant.
  • The size and shape of a seed is usually related to the way in which the seed is dispersed.

Unit Activities Overview:

  • See The Parts of a Plant worksheet
  • See The Parts of a Flower worksheet
  • See The Parts of a Seed worksheet
  • Growing seeds activity (See worksheet)
  • Note: I usually use bean seeds that I keep in the freezer until I do the activity because cold is supposed to help insure that the seeds germinate.
  • Making a seed book activity (See worksheet)

Assessment:

Since assessment can be done formally or informally either before, during and/or after the unit, I have just included a list of questions related to the activities.

  1. What is a plant?
  2. What does a plant need to grow?
  3. What is the life cycle of a plant?
  4. What are the parts of a plant?
  5. What is the function of each part of a plant?
  6. What is a flower?
  7. What are the parts of a flower?
  8. What is a seed?
  9. What are the parts of a seed?
  10. How is a seed produced?
  11. How does a seed grow?
  12. What does a seed need to germinate?

Extension Activities:

  • Compare the roots, stems and leaves of a variety of plants
  • Compare the flowers of a variety of plants
  • Make a seed collection
  • Try growing a variety of seeds
  • Try growing seeds under different conditions
  • After your seeds sprout, plant them.

Resources

Title Reading Level Comments
How a Plant Grows 1997 by Bobbie Kalman, $5.95,
ISBN # 0865057281
Grade 3 and up Covers a lot of concepts with simple photographs, illustrations and explanations.
The Life and Times of the Peanut 1997 by Charles Micucci, $5.95,
ISBN # 0618033149
Grade 3 and up A simple yet fairly complete explanation of how a peanut grows, is harvested, is used, the history of the peanut and George Washington Carver.
I am a Leaf 1998 by Jean Marzollo, $3.99,
ISBN # 0590641204
Grade K and up Very simple explanation of the function of the leaves of maple trees.
The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds A Book About How Living Things Grow 1995 by Scholastic,
ISBN # 0064451070
Grade 3 and up Focuses on pollination
How a Seed Grows 1992 by Helene J. Jordan, $4.95,
ISBN # 0064451070
Grade K and up Good illustrations and directions for simple activities which explain concepts about seed growth.
A Field of Sunflowers 1997 by Neil Johnson, $3.25,
ISBN # 0590965492
Grade 2 and up Nice photographs and simple explanation of the life cycle of a sunflower.
Berries, Nuts and Seeds 1996 by Diane L. Burns, $6.95,
ISBN # 1559715731
Grade 3 and up Unique book contains illustrations of common midwestern plants, where to find them, their seeds, what eats them and interesting facts about them.
Trees, Leaves and Bark 1995 by Diane L. Burns, 6.95,
ISBN # 1559716282
Grade 3 and up Unique book contains illustrations of common trees , where to find them, their seeds, what eats them and interesting facts about them.
It Could Still Be a Leaf 1993 by Allan Fowler, $4.95,
ISBN # 051646017X
Grade K and up Simple discussion and nice photographs of the wide variety of leaves in the plant world.
From Seed to Dandelion 2000 by Jan Kottle, $4.95,
ISBN # 0516235109
Grade K and up A very simple series of photographs showing the life cycle of a dandelion plant.
From Acorn to Oak 2000 by Jan Koottle, $4.95,
ISBN # 0516235060
Grade K and up A wonderful yet simple series of photographs showing the life cycle of an oak tree.
I am a Seed 1996 by Jean Marzollo, $3.99,
ISBN # 0590265865
Grade 1 and up Simple story with illustrations about the growth of a marigold and a pumpkin plant.
Jack's Garden 1995 by Henry Cole, $15.95,
ISBN # 0688135013
Grade 1 and up Simple story about growing a wildflower garden.
National Wildlife Federation www.nwf.org Reference This site contains information on plants, ecology, habitats...

The Parts of a Plant Activity

For this activity, you will need a plant a ruler, and some markers, crayons or colored pencils magnifying glass (optional) Directions:

  1. Carefully observe the roots, stem and leaves of the plant.
    • What color are the leaves and stem?
    • What color are the roots?
    • Why are the leaves and stem a different color than the roots?

  2. Use the ruler to carefully measure the length of the stem.
  3. Use the ruler to carefully measure the length of the roots.
  4. Use the ruler to carefully measure the average length of the leaves.
  5. Draw the plant and color and label the roots, stem and leaves.

The Parts of a Flower Activity

For this activity, you will need a flower some markers, crayons or colored pencils magnifying glass (optional)

Directions:

  1. Carefully observe the flower.
  2. What color is the flower?
  3. What color are the stem and leaves?
  4. Why are the leaves and stem a different color than the flower?
  5. Draw the flower and color and label the stem, leaves, flower petals, pistil, stigma, stamen.

The Parts of a Seed Activity

For this activity, you will need a seed some markers, crayons or colored pencils magnifying glass (optional)

Directions:

  1. Carefully observe the seed.
  2. What color is the seed?
  3. Carefully remove the seed coat. What color is the seed leaf?
  4. Carefully open the seed leaf. Can you see the shoot or roots starting to grow?
  5. Draw the seed leaf and color and label its parts.

Growing Seeds and Recording Observations Activity

Tools needed to grow seeds:

  • eyedropper
  • permanent marker (optional)
  • tape
  • water

Materials needed to grow seeds:

  • small ziploc bag
  • 4 or 5 seeds
  • 1 paper towel

Step-by-step Instructions for Growing seeds and recording observations:

  1. Use a permanent marker to print your name on the outside of the ziploc bag.(Optional)
  2. Fold the paper towel so that it fits in the bottom of the ziploc bag.
  3. Put the seeds in the ziploc bag so that you can see them.
  4. Put several drops of water in the bag. Zip the bag closed.
  5. Tape the ziploc bag up in a place that allows you to watch the seeds grow.
  6. On a piece of paper, record the observations you make of the seeds in the ziploc bag by Writing the date on which you made the observation, Describing what you observed, and Drawing a picture of what you observe.

Seed Cycle Illustrations

 

Making a Seed Cycle Book

Tools needed to make the book:

  • Markers, crayons or colored pencils
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Stapler

Materials needed to make the book:

  • Page of Seed Cycle illustrations
  • 3 half sheets of plain white paper

Directions for making a Seed Cycle Book:

  1. Carefully look at the Seed Cycle illustrations. They are not in the correct sequence. Write a number in the bottom right or left hand corner of each illustration showing the correct sequence.
  2. Color the illustrations in.
  3. Cut the illustrations out.
  4. Fold each half sheet of paper in half.
  5. Staple the half sheets together to make a book.
  6. Print your name and the title of the book on the front cover.
  7. Print your name and the title of the book on the title page of the book.
  8. In the outside corner of each page, write the page number.
  9. On each page of the book, glue the illustration, label the parts of the seed and describe what is happening to the seed.
  10. On the back cover of the book draw an illustration and write an interesting summary of the book inviting others to read the book

Illinois Early Elementary Learning Standards in Science, Math, and English/Language Arts

Illinois Learning Standards in Science, Math, English/Language Arts that apply to this unit:

Early Elementary:

Subject

Learning Goals

Learning Standards and Benchmarks

Application to this Lesson

Science

State Goal 11:  Understand the processes of scientific inquiry and technological design to investigate questions, conduct experiments and solve problems

A. Know and apply the concepts, principles and processes of scientific inquiry.

     11.A.1a.  Describe an observed event.

     11.A.1c. Collect data for investigations using  measuring instruments and technologies.

     11.A. 1d. Record and store data using available technologies.

     11.A.1e. Arrange data into logical patterns and describe the patterns.

     11.A.1f. Compare observations of individual and group results

B. Know and apply the concepts, principles, and processes of technological design.

     11.B.1c.  Build the device using the tools and materials provided.

     11.B.1d.  Test the device and record the results using given instruments, techniques, and measurement tools.

     11.B 1e. Report the design of the device, the test process and the results in solving a given problem.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will use the processes of scientific inquiry to learn:

     1. how seeds grow and

     2. what is necessary for seeds to grow

As part of the basic unit, each participant will observe, collect data about and report on the seed cycle.

As part of the extension activities each participant will apply the concepts they have learned about seeds to design, test, and measure  seed growth under a variety of conditions.

Science

State Goal 12: Understand the fundamental concepts, principles and interconnections of the life, physical, and earth/space sciences.

A Know and apply concepts that explain how living things function, adapt and change.

     12.A.1a. Identify and describe the component parts of living things and their major functions.

B. Know and apply concepts that describe how living things interact with each other and with their environment.

     12.B.1a. Describe and compare characteristics of living things in relationship to their environments.

     12.B.1b. Describe how living things depend on one another for survival.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will identify, and describe the parts of seed producing plants, flowers and seeds and explain their functions.

As part of the basic unit and extension activities, each participant will list some

similarities and differences in plants, flowers and seeds.

As part of the basic unit and extension activities , each participant will list the ways in which plants interact with each other, and other living and non-living things in their environment.

Science

State Goal 13:  Understand the relationships among science, technology, and society in historical and contemporary contexts.

A. Know and apply the accepted practices of science.

     13.A.1a. Use basic safety practices.

     13.A.1b. Explain why similar results are expected when procedures are done the same way.

     13.A.1c. Explain how knowledge can be gained be careful observation.

B. Know and apply concepts that describe the interaction between science, technology and society.

     13.B.1d Identify and describe ways that science and technology affect people's everyday lives (e.g. agriculture, sanitation, communication, occupations.)

     13.B.1e. Demonstrate ways to reduce, reuse and recycle materials.

As part of the basic unit, each participant

will practice established safety procedures for scientific activities.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will describe how the seed cycle activity s/he did relates to the seed cycle of plants in general.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will list what s/he learned from careful observation.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will list the ways science and technology have affected seed producing plants and the natural environment.

As part of the basic unit and extension activities, each participant will reduce, reuse and recycle materials needed to perform the activities of the unit.

Math

State Goal 7:  Estimate, make and use measurements of objects, quantities and relationships and determine acceptable levels of accuracy.

A. Measure and compare quantities using appropriate units, instruments and methods.

     7.A.1a. Measure length, volume, and weight/mass using rulers, scales and other appropriate measuring instruments in the customary and metric systems. 

B. Estimate measurements and determine acceptable levels of accuracy.

     7.B.1b. Compare estimated measures to actual measures taken with appropriate measuring instruments. 

As part of the basic unit, each participant will estimate, measure and compare the length of the parts of plants.

Math

State Goal 10: Collect, organize and analyze data using statistical methods; predict results; and interpret uncertainty using concepts of probability.

B. Formulate questions, design data collection methods, gather and analyze data and communicate findings.

     10.B.1b. Collect, organize and describe data using pictures, tallies, tables, charts or bar graphs.

     10.B. 1c. Analyze data, draw conclusions and communicate the results.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will collect, organize, report, and draw conclusions based on observations of seed growth.

English/ Language Arts

State Goal 1:  Read with understanding and fluency.

A. Apply word analysis and vocabulary skills to comprehend selections.

     1.A.1a. Apply word analysis skills to recognize new words.

     1.A.1b. Comprehend unfamiliar words using context clues and prior knowledge; verify meanings with resource materials.

B. Apply reading strategies to improve understanding and fluency.

     1.B.1a. Establish purposes for reading, make predictions, connect important ideas, and link text to previous experiences and knowledge.

     1.B.1b. Identify genres of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and electronic literary forms.

     1.B.1c. Continuously check and clarify for understanding

     1.B.1d. Read age-appropriate material aloud with fluency and accuracy.

C. Comprehend a broad range of reading materials.

     1.C.1a.  Use information to form questions and verify predictions.

     1.C.1b. Identify important themes and topics.

     1.C.1d. Summarize content of reading material using text organization.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will demonstrate the use of appropriate word analysis and vocabulary skills while reading one or more books on plants, seeds and flowers.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will apply reading strategies while reading one or more books on plants, seeds and flowers.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will demonstrate comprehension strategies while reading one or more books on plants, seeds and flowers.

English/

Language Arts

State Goal 3: Write to communicate  for a variety of ideas.

A. Use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization and structure.

     3.A.1 Construct complete sentences which demonstrate subject/verb agreement, appropriate capitalization and punctuation; correct spelling  appropriate, high-frequency words; and appropriate use of the eight parts of speech.

B. Compose well-organized and coherent writing for specific purposes and audiences.

     3.B. 1b. Demonstrate focus, organization, elaboration and integration in written composition (e.g. short stories, letters, essays, reports)

C.  Communicate ideas in writing to accomplish a variety of purposes.

     3.C.1a.  Write for a variety of purposes including description, information, explanation, persuasion, and narration.

     3.C.1b. Create media compositions or productions which convey meaning visually for a variety of purposes.

 As part of the basic unit, each participant will use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization and structure  to complete worksheets, make written observations and create a short book on the seed cycle

English/

Language Arts

State Goal 4:  Listen and speak effectively in a variety of situations.

A.  Listen effectively in formal and informal situations.

     4.A.1a. Listen attentively by facing the speaker, making eye contact and paraphrasing what is said.

     4.A.1b. Ask questions and respond to questions from the teacher and from group members to improve comprehension.

     4. A. 1c. Follow oral instructions accurately.

B. Speak effectively using language appropriate to the situation and audience.

     4. B. 1b.  Participate in discussions around a common topic.

As part of the basic unit, each participant  will respond to questions and paraphrase information presented in informal and formal settings.

As part of the basic unit, each participant  will participate in informal and formal discussions.

Illinois Late Elementary Learning Standards in Science, Math, and English/Language Arts

Illinois Learning Standards in Science, Math, English/Language Arts that apply to this unit:

Late Elementary:

Subject

Learning Goals

Learning Standards and Benchmarks

Application to this Lesson

Science

State Goal 11:  Understand the processes of scientific inquiry and technological design to investigate questions, conduct experiments and solve problems

A. Know and apply the concepts, principles and processes of scientific inquiry.

     11. A. 2b.  Collect data for investigations using scientific process skills including observing, estimating and measuring.

     Construct charts and visualizations to display data.

B. Know and apply the concepts, principles, and processes of technological design.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will use the processes of scientific inquiry to learn:

     1. how seeds grow and

     2. what is necessary for seeds to grow

As part of the basic unit, each participant will observe, collect and chart data about, and report on the seed development.

As part of the extension activities each participant will apply the concepts they have learned about seeds  and seed growth to design, test, and measure  seed growth under a variety of conditions.

Science

State Goal 12: Understand the fundamental concepts, principles and interconnections of the life, physical, and earth/space sciences.

A Know and apply concepts that explain how living things function, adapt and change.

     12.A.2a. Describe simple life cycles of plants and animals and the similarities and differences in their offspring.

B. Know and apply concepts that describe how living things interact with each other and with their environment.

     12.B.2a. Describe relationships among various organisms in their environments.

     12.B.2b. Identify physical features of plants and animals that help them live in different environments.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will describe the life cycle of seed producing plants.

As part of the basic unit and extension activities, each participant will list some

similarities and differences in seed producing plants.

As part of the basic unit and extension activities , each participant will list the ways in which plants interact with each other, and other living and non-living things in their environment.

Science

State Goal 13:  Understand the relationships among science, technology, and society in historical and contemporary contexts.

A. Know and apply the accepted practices of science.

     13.A.2a Demonstrate ways to avoid injury when conducting science activities.

     13.A.2b. Explain why similar investigations may not produce similar results.

      13. A. 2c. Explain why keeping accurate and detailed records is important.

B. Know and apply concepts that describe the interaction between science, technology and society.

     13.B.2a.  Explain how technology is used in science for a variety of purposes (e.g. sample collection, storage and treatment, measurement, data collection, storage and retrieval, communication of information.)

     13. B. 2c Identify and explain ways that science and

technology influence the lives and careers of people.

     13. B2d. Compare the relative effectiveness of reducing, reusing and recycling in actual situations.

     13. B. 2e. Identify and explain ways that technology changes ecosystems.

     13.B.2f. Analyze how specific personal and societal choices that humans make affect local ,regional and global ecosystems. 

As part of the basic unit, each participant

will practice established safety procedures for scientific activities.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will list and discuss the variables involved in seed germination.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will keep accurate and detailed observation records.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will list the ways science and technology have affected seed producing plants and the natural environment.

As part of the basic unit and extension activities, each participant will  discuss and compare ways to reduce, reuse and recycle materials needed to perform the activities of the unit.

As part of the basic unit participants will discuss the ways their personal choices affect the local, regional and global environment.

Math

State Goal 7:  Estimate, make and use measurements of objects, quantities and relationships and determine acceptable levels of accuracy.

C. Select and use appropriate technology, instruments and formulas to solve problems, interpret results and communicate findings.

     7.C.2a. Describe relationships in a simple scale drawing.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will estimate, measure and compare the length of the parts of plants.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will create scale drawings of plants, flowers and the seed cycle.

Math

State Goal 10: Collect, organize and analyze data using statistical methods; predict results; and interpret uncertainty using concepts of probability.

B. Formulate questions, design data collection methods, gather and analyze data and communicate findings.

     10.B.2b. Collect, organize and display data using tables, charts, bar graphs, line graphs, circle graphs, line plots and stem-and-leaf graphs.

     10.A.2c. Make predictions and decisions based on data and communicate their reasoning.

  As part of the basic unit, each participant will collect, organize, report, draw conclusions and make predictions based on observations of seed growth.

English/ Language Arts

State Goal 1:  Read with understanding and fluency.

A. Apply word analysis and vocabulary skills to comprehend selections.

     1.A.2a. Read and comprehend unfamiliar words using root words, synonyms, antonyms, word origins and derivations.

     1.A.2b. Clarify word meaning using context clues and a variety of resources including glossaries, dictionaries and thesauruses.

B. Apply reading strategies to improve understanding and fluency.

     1.B.2a. Establish purposes for reading; survey materials; ask questions; make predictions; connect, clarify and extend ideas.

     13.B.2b. Identify structure of nonfiction texts to improve comprehension.

     13.B.2c. Continuously check and clarify for understanding.

     13.B.2d. Read age-appropriate material aloud with fluency and accuracy.

C. Comprehend a broad range of reading materials.

     1.C.2a.  Use information to form and refine questions and predictions.

     1.C.2d. Summarize and make generalizations from content and relate to purpose of material.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will demonstrate the use of appropriate word analysis and vocabulary skills to comprehend one or more books on plants, seeds and flowers.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will apply reading strategies to comprehend one or more books on plants, seeds and flowers.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will demonstrate comprehension strategies while reading one or more books on plants, seeds and flowers.

English/

Language Arts

State Goal 2: Read and understand literature representative of various societies, eras and ideas.

B. Read and interpret a variety of literary works.

     2.B.2a. Respond to literary material by making inferences, drawing conclusions and comparing it to their own experience, prior knowledge and other texts.

As part of the basic unit each participant will make text to self connections between the nonfiction books s/he is reading and the science activities s/he is doing as well as his/her own life experience with plants and the natural environment.

English/

Language Arts

State Goal 3: Write to communicate  for a variety of ideas.

A. Use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization and structure.

     3.A.2 Write paragraphs that include  a variety of sentence types; appropriate use of the eight parts of speech; and accurate spelling, capitalization and punctuation.

B. Compose well-organized and coherent writing for specific purposes and audiences.

C.  Communicate ideas in writing to accomplish a variety of purposes.

     3.C.1a.  Write for a variety of purposes and for specified audiences in a variety of forms including narrative, expository and persuasive writings.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization and structure  to complete worksheets, make written observations, write summaries and create a book on the seed cycle

English/

Language Arts

State Goal 4:  Listen and speak effectively in a variety of situations.

A.  Listen effectively in formal and informal situations.

     4.A.2a.  Demonstrate understanding of the listening process by summarizing and paraphrasing spoken messages orally and in writing in formal and informal situations.

     4. A. 2b.  Ask and respond to questions related to oral presentations and messages in small and large group settings.

     . A. 2c.  Restate and carry out a variety of oral instructions.

B. Speak effectively using language appropriate to the situation and audience.

     4. B. 2b.  Use speaking skills and procedures to participate in group discussions.

As part of the basic unit, each participant  will respond to questions and paraphrase  and summarizes information presented in informal and formal settings both orally and in writing.

As part of the basic unit, each participant  will participate in informal and formal discussions.

National Science Education Standards

National Science Education Standards that apply to the activities in this unit.

Standard

Level

Application to this Lesson

6.1 Science as Inquiry

Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry

Understandingabout scientific inquiry

As part of the basic unit, each participant will use scientific reasoning and critical thinking to observe plants, flowers and seed germination.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will ask questions, conduct investigations, and gather information to help them understand plants, flowers and seed germination.

6.3 LifeScience

K-4

Characteristicsof organisms.

Life cycle of organisms.

Organisms and environment

As part of the basic unit, each participant will discuss and observe the life cycle of seed producing plants.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will discuss the role of seed producing plants innatural and man-made settings.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will discuss the interdependence of living and non-living things in the environment.

6.5 Science and Technology

K-4, 5-8,9-12

Abilities to distinguish between natural objects and objects made by humans

Abilities of technological design

Understanding about science and technology.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will be involved in observations and discussions concerning seed producing plants and the natural environment.

As part of the basic unit, each participant will be involved in discussions and observations concerning the impact of man on seed producing plants and the natural environment.