Most plants reproduce using systems that include flowers and seeds. In this outdoor investigation, children observe, collect, and classify plant seeds. Gather a collection of seeds from a wooded area. Try using one or more of the following methods:
- Drag an old blanket or fuzzy cloth behind you on the ground.
- Place a large, old, wool sock over hands or shoes to see what you can pick up.
- Wear bracelets made of masking tape (sticky side out), to hold the seeds you find.
Have children examine their seed collections and invent a system for sorting or classifying them. Explain that plants have developed many different methods of seed dispersal, to ensure the success of their species. Some seeds need the help of other external variables to disperse.
Answers: ACORN, SAMARA, CRANBERRY
These three examples represent only a few of the many ways that seeds can be dispersed. Conduct your own research to explore more -OR- consider challenging children to design their own seeds, complete with specialized dispersal mechanisms. To make a functioning model, try using a dried lima bean with different art materials (feathers, toothpicks, cardboard, cotton balls, string, rubber bands, etc.) to design a new type of seed. What dispersal method will it use?
Explore and Review:
- How do a seed’s shape and size affect its dispersal?
- Why is it important for seeds to be dispersed indifferent ways?
- What are three mechanisms of seed dispersal?
- Can some seeds travel farther than others?
Get the Full Activity
This family activity is adapted from Project Learning Tree’s Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide and our PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide which can be obtained from PLT’s Shop or in conjunction with an in-person professional development workshop or online course.
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