Students will learn about comparing seeds and how they are carried through the environment.
- Fruit and vegetables
- Paper cups
- Old socks (at least one
for each student)
- Posterboard for a "Seeds" word wall
- Hand lenses
- Non-standard measuring
units (e.g., plastic
- Sorting Seeds! worksheet
- How and Why Seeds
- Seeds Get Around
- Integrated Curriculum and Developmentally Appropriate
Practice Birth to Age Eight, by Craig H. Hart, Diane C. Burts, & Rosalind
Charlesworth; ISBN 0-7914-3360-9
- How and Why Seeds Travel, by Elaine Pascoe;
- A Dandelion's Life, by John Himmelman; ISBN 0-516-26402
Seeds, by Paul Paolilli and Dan Brewer, ISBN 0-14-250010-0
- Plant Fruits and Seeds, by David M. Schwartz; ISBN 1-57471-330-2
Gets Around, by Nancy White; ISBN 1-56784-031-0
- The Tiny Seed, by Eric Carle; ISBN 0-590-42566-8
Background for Teachers
This activity is designed to give students the opportunity to compare
seeds and describe the ways that they are carried through the
environment. Prior to teaching this lesson, make sure students have
experienced identifying attributes and sorting various objects.
Before you begin this unit, complete a K-W-L chart as a class
showing what students already know and would like to know about seeds
and plants. Use this information to help plan mini-lessons for extending
the activities provided in the CORE Academy Handbook.
As this is an inquiry-based activity, notice that questions,
investigations, tools for data collection, and journaling response
opportunities are included.
Intended Learning Outcomes
5. Understand and use basic concepts and skills.
6. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written, and nonverbal form.
Invitation to Learn
Display a variety of fruits and vegetables for students to see and
touch. Ask the question, "What would happen if we cut open these
fruits/vegetables and looked inside? What would we find?" Students
will give their predictions. Follow up by asking questions such as, "Why
do you think that? How do you know?" These types of questions help
you understand their previously constructed knowledge. Cut open the
fruits/vegetables and allow students to freely explore the contents.
Provide them with cups, plates, or Ziploc® bags for collecting their
- Using the seeds gathered
during the Invitation to Learn, help
students make a real graph to represent their findings (e.g., graph
fruits/vegetables by number of seeds, size of seeds, color of seeds,
- Ask, "What do you observe by looking at the graph?" Use
questions to guide the extraction of information from the graph.
- Have students
record their observations about the graph in their
- Take students on a seed walk. Each student needs at least one
sock to wear over his/her shoe. Students may also use socks on
their hands. Take a walk around the school grounds, being sure
to pass through grassy areas and under/next to trees and bushes.
- Upon returning to the classroom, students examine the seeds
they gathered. Encourage them to share their "treasures" in
groups of two or three. You may choose to make another real
graph, depicting the data collected from student observations
about their seeds (e.g., size, color, shape, location). Discuss the
graph by asking questions to guide understanding. Allow the
students to write about their interpretations of the data.
- Discuss how
seeds travel. Ask, "How did this 'helicopter' seed
end up on the playground?" As a focus/validation for the
discussion, share books like How and Why Seeds Travel, The
Tiny Seed, and Seeds Get Around.
- Create a class book that
describes the different ways the
students' seeds might have been carried through the
- Provide students time to freely explore all of the attributes
seeds themselves, using hand lenses to observe and nonstandard
measuring tools to measure/compare. Give each student an
assortment of the seeds collected from the Invitation to Learn and
the seed walk and/or supplement their collections with seeds from
packets purchased at the store. Once they have had ample time to
observe the seeds carefully, ask the students to name various
attributes about the seeds (e.g., size, color, texture, method of
travel, etc.). Create a Seed/Plant Word Wall using poster board to
record these attributes on.
- As a class, use the Sorting Circles side of
a "Graph-it" vinyl
to sort seeds, using attributes listed on the Seed Word Wall.
Allow the students to sort the seeds in at least three different
- Allow students to practice comparing the seeds by having them
complete the Sorting Seeds! worksheet three times and record
their final sort.
- Return to the K-W-L chart and ask students to dictate what
have learned and what they still want to know about seeds and
- Read A Dandelion's Life aloud. Invite students to creatively write a story about the travels of a
- Share the poetry book, Silver Seeds. Encourage the students to
use the pattern established in the book to write poems about their
knowledge of seeds.
- Introduce students to Plant Fruits and Seeds.
- Students create a graph depicting
edible seeds and nonedible
- For students who are emerging writers, adapt the journaling from
independent to interactive or shared writing by meeting with them
in small groups or one-on-one while the independent writers are
- Many first grade students will be frustrated if they do not know
how to spell the scientific words they want to use to express
themselves. Offer your students a "Have-a-go" page and teach
them the strategy of writing the sounds that they know.
Encourage them to circle the words they are not sure about and
keep writing, instead of waiting for an adult to spell the word so
that they can continue their sentences.
- As a challenge, invite advanced learners
to use the poetry pattern
in Paolilli and Brewer's Silver Seeds to create their own poetry
books about plants and seeds.
- Encourage students to add seeds
they find at home to the
classroom collection. Students may want to make their own
collection at home.
- Have students take a writing log home for a week to keep
how many times they eat seeds or foods that contain seeds.
- Allow students
to take home seeds and a copy of the Sorting
Seeds at Home! worksheet. Invite family members to take turns
sorting the seeds by different attributes. Have the student record
the different sorting strategies on the back of the page and glue an
example of each. Family members sign their names next to their
- Use sketches and journal entries to assess student
- comparisons between seeds
- ways in which seeds travel
- graph comprehension and application
- Use oral discussion and reflection
as an informal assessment.
Interview students to determine their perceptions of seeds and
what knowledge they have constructed.
- Give students an opportunity to record
their understandings of
how seeds are carried through the environment. This may be
done in their journals or as a separate assessment piece. Invite
students to "show and tell" their journal writing with each
- Use the Sorting Seeds! worksheet to assess students' ability
compare seeds. For an even deeper understanding of their
thinking, ask the students to explain their sorting process to you.
Shymansky, J. A., Hedges, L.V., & Woodworth, G. (1990). A Reassessment
of the Effects of
Inquiry-Based Science Curricula of the 60’s on Student Performance. Journal
Research In Science Teaching, 27(2), 127-144.
The evidence reveals that inquiry-oriented curricula positively
impacts teaching and learning in many areas.
Friel, S. N., Curcio, F. R., & Bright, G. W. (2001). Making Sense of
Factors Influencing Comprehension and Instructional Implications. Journal
for Research in Mathematics Education, 32(2), 124-158.
To be functionally literate, students need to be able to read and
understand graphs. Comprehension of graphs includes translation,
interpretation, and extrapolation.