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Seeds are many things. Students will have the opportunity to learn that everything about seeds-their numbers and forms and structure-has a bearing on their main purpose, to insure continuing life. Seeds are containers of new embryos of a new generation. Students will understand that events in nature follow an orderly progression when they plant seeds and observe the development of the seeds. Students will count seeds and find the likenesses and the differences of many seeds.
ITV Series
Take a Look #2: Flowers and Seeds
Science is Elementary #1: Plants
Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
For activity stations:

Per group of five:

Pre-Viewing Activities
To start the students thinking about seeds and how they grow, invite them to participate in a creative movement activity that acts out how a little seed grows into a plant. Tell the students the story of how a seed grows. Have them reenact the story of the seed as it goes through various stages of growth. Play soft music in the background to enhance the mood.

A simple script follows: I am a seed. (Students curl up into a ball on the floor.) When I am planted in the soil a root begins to grow. (Have students straighten out one leg.) My job as a root is to reach underground and suck up water and vitamins from the soil. (Students make slurping noises.) A bud begins to push up through the ground. (Children lift up their heads and push upwards.) Soon, leaves form. (Children spread out their arms.)

Divide the students into groups of five. Explain that there are four activity centers. (Set up prior to lesson. See activity page for instructions.) Each group will complete the centers. The teacher will tell the groups when and where to switch.

After the students have completed the centers, ask them to tell what they know about seeds. Record their responses on chart paper. Guide the students with these questions: How are the seeds alike? How are they different? What color are the seeds? Are the seeds all the same size? Are they all the same shape?
Focus Viewing
Remind the students that seeds are little plants that have not started to grow. To give students a specific responsibility while viewing, direct them to watch this segment of the video to discover that seed growth follows a predictable pattern. Seeds soak up water, the seed case breaks open, roots form, the stem begins to grow, and finally leaves begin to develop.

Viewing Activities
BEGIN Take a Look #2: Flowers and Seeds when Kate says "actually a flower works hardest when it is no longer pretty." PAUSE to actively involve the students after the narrator says "Could I plant the apple seeds?" Ask the students if they think they could plant a seed from an apple or a seed from an orange. Further questions to ask include, "What grows from apple seeds? What will the orange seed grow into? Could you eat the fruit of the apple before you planted the seeds?"

FAST FORWARD and RESUME when the narrator says "Spring is a time when plants grow." PAUSE the video as the pea seeds are planted. Use the FRAME ADVANCE as the seed begins the stages of germination, discussing each stage with the students. Ask the students to describe what is happening. RESUME the video and PAUSE when the boy asks for a prediction of the seeds. Ask the students their predictions of the correct section of the poppy seeds. Tally their responses on the board. RESUME the video. PAUSE after the narrator says "Anyone can grow plants." STOP and EJECT the video. Ask the students to recall the steps in planting the seeds. Let the students estimate the number of days it took the seeds to sprout. Why did the seeds appear to sprout so quickly on the video? (Timelapse photography)

As the students watch segments of Science is Elementary #1: Let's Explore Plants, they are to look for the correct methods to plant seeds. Remind them that seeds need soil, water, and warm temperature to begin sprouting.

BEGIN Science is Elementary: Let's Explore Plants when the narrator says, "to grow most plants a seed must be planted first." PAUSE the video after she has planted the seeds and ask the students to describe how the seeds were planted. List the steps on a chart. RESUME the video. PAUSE the video when the tractor and planter are shown. Allow a student to come to the television to locate the planter boxes that hold the seeds being planted. Ask the students to estimate how many seeds each box will hold. Discuss why the farmer needs large equipment to plant his seeds.
Post-Viewing Activities
This activity allows students to apply what they have learned about seeds. Students are divided into groups of five. Each group is given five clear plastic cups, potting soil, five strips of blotting paper, and lima bean seeds. Cover the work surfaces with newspaper. Line the cups with one strip of blotting paper and fill the center with soil. Place four or more beans between the plastic and the blotting paper, setting each seed in a different direction. Moisten the soil with water and put in a warm place. Observe as the roots turn downward and the shoots turn upward.
Action Plan
Invite a gardener to visit the classroom. Seek out a parent or a friend who has a garden and lots of gardening experience. Have students design an invitation asking the person to visit the class. The invitation could suggest that the visitor show his or her tools, work clothes, and some of the plants grown in a home garden.

Read Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit to the students and have them figure out Mr. McGregor's problem and how he solved it. Discuss different kinds of pests in a garden, such as animals and birds who eat the seeds and plants, and careless people who step on plants or take things that don't belong to them. Locate a nearby farm that grows various crops. Take the children walking through fields, pointing out how plants grow. Show the machinery needed to do the work and ask the farmer to describe a typical day on the farm during planting season.

Visit a local greenhouse, showing the children how the seeds are planted. Ask a knowledgeable person to show the students equipment used, seed varieties, and ways plants are treated when diseased.
Science: Buy sprouting seeds at a grocery or health foods store. Good choices include alfalfa, mung beans, soybeans, peas, radish, and wheat. Grow the sprouts in clean jars with a cheesecloth lid secured by rubber bands. Soak the seeds overnight and drain in the morning. Rinse and drain the sprouts twice daily. Cover the jars with a clean cloth to keep out the light. Keeping them in a warm (not hot) location speeds up sprouting. Remove the cloth and expose the sprouts to sunlight for "greening" the last two days before eating. They are usually ready in less than a week. Since the sprouts stop growing when refrigerated, they can be stored there for several days. Add the sprouts to a green salad or serve in a sandwich.

Bring a coconut to class so the students can examine the world's largest seed. Pass the whole coconut around the room so the students can look at it, feel it, tap it, and shake it. Ask them what they think is inside. Would they describe the coconut's weight as heavy or light? Do they believe it can really float? Drop the coconut in a basin or sink filled with water to show that it really does float. Even if it is pushed down under the water, it will bob back up to the surface. Show the students the three "eyes" of the coconut. Tell them that when a new palm tree starts to grow, a single leaf pushes out through one of these soft spots. Strange seeds: Some seeds do not grow in the center of the fruit. Students might be interested to see the unusual ways seeds grow in a raspberry or blackberry, a strawberry, a pineapple, a kiwi, or a banana. What we call the berry is really many small fruits growing very close together on a central stem that can be seen if you slice open the berry lengthwise. Each little fruit contains its own seed. When you slice a banana, the little black dots you see are seeds that aren't ripe yet. By the time the seeds ripen, the banana is rotten, so we don't often see fully developed banana seeds. After the seeds have been observed, the fruits may be cut up into a fruit salad and eaten.

Sponge Garden: The students have already learned that a seed contains food for the new plant that will grow from it. Give each small group a wet sponge in a plastic container. Then sprinkle grass seed or birdseed onto the sponges. Keep the sponges wet and in a sunny place. Grass will begin growing from the sponges. Talk about the results of the experiment. Why did the seeds grow without soil? Remind the students that each seed is a little package of food and energy for the new plant that will grow from it. When the grass has used up all the food stored in the seeds, it will die. In order to live for a long time, the plant has to grow in soil.

Math: Place a piece of cardboard on the ground. Pour a bag of dried lima beans on the cardboard and spread them out evenly. Then spray paint one side of each bean. When the paint is dry, place between five and ten beans in individual paper cups. Give each student in a learning center a cup of beans. Have them pour the beans onto a table. Each bean will be showing a natural white surface or a painted one. Ask each student to use the two different colors of beans to show an addition equation on a sheet of paper. For example, if one white bean and four red beans were showing, the equation would be 1 + 4 = 5. Return the beans to the cup and repeat the activity.

Collect seed catalogs from friends, parents, or the local agricultural extension office. Then prepare a graph with the class of edible plant parts such as the seed, the root, the stem, and the leaf. Give the students the seed catalogs and have them cut out pictures that show examples of food in each category. Glue the pictures to the graph. When the graph is complete, count the pictures in each category.

Purchase several varieties of seeds that vary in size. (Use the seven bean soup again.) Place each seed type in a different container. Let each student in a learning center fill a scoop with one kind of seed until it is level at the top. (Laundry scoops work well.) Then pour the seeds onto a tray and count the number needed to fill the scoop. Record the number on a lab sheet and repeat the process with the seeds in the other containers.

Students can use math skills to plan their own gardens. Make seed packets and seed catalogs available as reference materials for such things as prices, number of seeds per row, and distance between plants. Work in small groups. Have students use data to determine how many of each plant will fit in the rows, how much space between rows is required, etc. They can measure an actual plot size on the playground.

Sunflower Seed Candy: 1 cup nonfat dry milk, 1 cup honey, 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sunflower seeds, 1 cup sesame seeds. Mix ingredients thoroughly. Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in sesame seeds to coat.

Language Arts: Read Eric Carle's The Tiny Seed (Picture Book Studio, l987), calling attention to the seasons mentioned and to the circle aspects of the story, indicating the repetitive life cycle of seeds.

Famous sayings, such as "fresh as a daisy," "sweet as a rose," "everything's coming up roses," and "grows like a weed," can be found in a farmer's almanac or in a book of quotations. Print several of these on a sheet of chart paper. Discuss the meaning of each saying. Let each student choose one saying and draw a picture that illustrates its meaning. Bind the pictures together to create a class book or display them on a bulletin board.

Music and Art: Let students skip rope as they recite the following jump rope rhyme: "I went to the garden to pull some weeds. Instead I ate sunflower seeds. How many seeds did I eat?" Encourage them to make up more verses.

Use dried peas which have been soaked overnight and toothpicks to build geometric structures. Push the toothpicks into the peas and build cubes, pyramids, or free form sculptures. Let them dry completely so the toothpicks will stay in the peas.

Have the students draw, label and fill a geometric shape with glue, then use seeds to fill in the shape to make seed pictures.
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Master Teachers: Miriam Waggoner and Karen Copple

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