Grade: Elementary
Subject: Science

#1480. From Seed to Plant

Science, level: Elementary
Posted Sat Jan 1 17:56:49 PST 2000 by Marcia Goudie ().
Materials Required: See below
Concepts Taught: Seeds, plants, growth


One of the most popular science units for a primary teacher is a unit on plants. I created this unit by compiling materials from many sources. Most teachers have added many of their own ideas to units like this. Here are some of my favorite activities:
assorted fruit
various seeds of different types
art and writing paper
construction paper
clear plastic cups
magnifying glass
straws and paper cups
magazine pictures of plants

What is a seed?
1.Look inside a seed. "You wear a coat to keep you from the cold. Seeds from flowering plants have seed coats to protect them." 2.Soak a lima bean in water over night. Use a hand lens to examine the outside of the seed. Try to peal off the seed covering. Split the seed in halves. Look for the parts showing the chart. Draw the lima bean. Write the names of the parts of the seed. 3.Have children complete a chart of a seed, noting the seed coat, root, leaves, food storage, and embryo.
Seeds come in all shapes and sizes.
1.Most plants come from seeds. Display seeds that come from all kinds of plants: acorns, poppies, carrots, lettuce, rice, watermelon, nuts, etc. 2.Measure the bulk of different kinds of seeds. Do an estimating activity allowing the children to guess which seeds will fill more of a small cup. (Sunflower, watermelon and marigold seeds are great for this project because they are easy to handle). 3.Some seeds grow from other plant parts (tubers). Onions makes parts that turn unto bulbs and new plants. The bulbs are the part we eat. Show the children some of the foods that we eat that are bulbs. (Potato, onions etc.) 4.Show the children a lunch box and a peanut. Ask them what the two things have in common. Explain that the shell of the peanut is the box and the inside is the lunch. 5.Create seed collages. 6.Roast pumpkin seeds.
How seeds travel.
1.The wind, animals (bury and or deposit seeds by their droppings) are just some of the ways seeds travel. There are several great picture books on this subject. The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle is one. 2.Write: "'Splash! You're a coconut that has just fallen from a palm tree into the ocean.' Write what happens to you." 3.Have the children take off their shoes and then go on a hike around the school or park, When you get back to class, have the children examine their socks to see what kind of seeds is stuck to the socks.
What do seeds need to grow?
1.Lead a discussion by starting with 'what do children need to grow?' Then, ask the students what they think plants might need. 2.Sprout a seed in a jar/clear plastic cup with wet paper towels. A bean seed works great for this. You can also try alfalfa sprouts, or popcorn. 3.Put some of the seeds in a windowsill to sprout. Put others in a dark corner. Discuss with the children, which of the seeds they think will grow the best. Check and show the children periodically. 4.Have the children estimate how long it will take the seeds to germinate. Chart the growth of the seedlings after they sprout. Plant them in the soil when they become too large for the jar. I have potted them in the past, and made 'houseplants' out of them. 5.Write: "You find an odd-looking seed and plant it. Your seed grows into _____________." Write an ending to the story. 6.Create task cards for the children to manipulate showing the stages of a seed's growth. Children can also make their own cards to keep.
Discuss the job of the root system.
1.Pass around enough straws and paper cups for each child. Tell the children they are the plants and the straws are the roots. This is a great explanation for the next experiment. 2.Bring in celery or a carnation and show the children the power of the roots. Add colored water to a glass with the celery/carnation in it, and watch for the next few days as the celery/carnation changes colors. You might pre-start one to show what will happen. 3.Create a word search or word puzzle using plant parts words. OR allow the children to create the puzzle and exchange with a neighbor. 4.Let the children pantomime plant growth.
Create several activities using all the plant and seed words that they have learned.
1.Try a spelling bee, crossword or word puzzles. There are several software programs that will easily do this. 2.Create a Seed Word Book by folding several pieces of writing paper in half and stapling it. Have the children make a mini dictionary for their terms. Illustrate each item. 3.Write several seed words on the chalkboard. Have the children use these words to create silly stories. Combine all the stories to write a class book. 4.Choose several children to illustrate the cover and back page.
Animals and plants are partners.
1.Discuss what the world would be like without plants, Re: the desert. 2. Talk about the benefits of plants in our environment. I.e.: oxygen, carbon dioxide, cycle of nature, food, mulch, 3.Create a chart discussing the cycle of nature. A.What do plants get from the air? B. How does it get into the air? C. What do animals get from the air? D. How does it get into the air? 4.
Write stories about life in a world without plants and animals. 5. Design cartoon-like plants that have the characteristics of animals.
All kinds of plants grow from seeds.
1.Finds pictures of various kinds of plants. Some plants that are food flower and trees. Allow the children to guess which plants contribute different ways to the earth. 2.Create a game allowing the children to guess what each plant is. I.e. bean tomato, marigold, watermelon, etc.
How plants protect themselves.
1.Plants protect themselves from insects, animals, and people. Name some kinds of protection plants have developed. I.e. thorns, spines and prickles, poison and off flavors. 2.Another ways plants protect themselves are through camouflage. 3.Have the children draw and illustrate "A Plant Fights Back" 4.Some plants don't have to worry about being eaten by animals. They eat animals instead. One of these plants, The Venus's-fly trap, has leaves that snap shut when an insect lands on them. The leaves open up again after the insect has been eaten. 5.Pretend you are a Venus Flytrap. Write about the insects that you eat. Tell what they taste like, and which insect is your favorite.
Plant Parts We Love to Eat.
1.People and animals eat the fruits of some plants and the seeds of some, and the leaves of others. 2.Chart on the chalkboard the different parts of plants that people can eat. Then let the children fill in as many foods that they can think of. 3. Imagine a world without plants. What would we eat? Write a story.

People Need Plants.
1.What benefits do people and animals get from plants? 2.Let the children brainstorm the many 'things' we get from plants. Fibers, food, medicine, wood, fuel, paper, etc. 3.Have the children fold a blank piece of white art paper into eight squares. Let the children illustrate eight different things they know we get from plants. 4.Graph all the items that the children have put on their charts. Tally which items are the most common, unusual, etc.
What are the problems that plants create?
1.Some plants cause us to sneeze. Weeds crowd our flowerbeds. 2.How do plants help us? 3.Write a story about one way plants help/hurt us.
More Plant Connections
1.Sunflowers need so much sunlight they turn their heads during the day to face the sun. Imagine that you are a sunflower. Someone has built a big building blocking out your sunlight. What are you going to do next? What will you do to reach sunlight? How do you feel? 2.You find an odd-looking seed and plant it. The seed grows into_______________. Write an ending to the story. 3.List these seeds from different plants. Have the children put them in order from the smallest to largest. Consider corn, lettuce, poppies, walnuts, marigolds, carrots, coconuts, acorns, apples, etc. 4.Assign a Seed Collection as part of a homework project. Show the children an egg carton. Tell them to collect one kind of seed for each chamber. Labeling can be as complex as the children's skill level. 5.Go on a walking field trip to collect seeds and grasses from an empty field. (My school has a field as part of the campus). Return to school and create a class display.
Poetry (illustrate and make into a class book)
My Garden
This is my garden. I'll rake it with care.
And then some flower seeds I'll plant there.
The sun will shine,
And rain will fall,
And my garden will blossom and grow straight and tall.

*The Mountain that loved a Bird-by Alice McLerran /Ill. By Eric Carle
*The Tiny Seed-by Eric Carle
*Titch- by Pat Hutchins
*Will Spring be Early? Or Will Spring be Late- by Crocket Johnson
*First Comes Spring- by Anne Rockwell
*Round Robin-by Jack Kent
*Anna in the Garden-by Diane Hearn
*The Green Man-by Gail Haley
*The Pea Patch Jig- by Thatcher Hurd
*Sunflower House-by Eve Bunting
*A Weed is a Seed- by Feida Wolff

*Evergreen, Everblue-by Raffi Credits:
*Seeds and Plants by School Zone Publishing
*Tina's Science Notebook by Tina DeCloux