Seeds are a major form of plant
reproduction and they have many ways of spreading themselves beyond the area
of the mother plant. Dandelion, maple and pine seeds are carried by the wind,
coconuts are carried by water, and foxtails and burrs are carried on animal
coats and people's clothing. Some seeds, like those of berries, can pass
through an animal or bird intact and be spread in droppings. Some pine cones
will only open after a fire, ensuring the reseeding of a forest.
Seeds that we eat include nuts, peanuts,
sunflower seeds, sesame and poppy seeds and coconuts. The part of the coconut
that we eat is a seed, one of the biggest in the world.
You may want the students to do this at
home and bring in the sprouting socks.
- Instruct students to bring in an old
sock to school or you may want them to do this at home. Take the students out
to a field or play yard that is overgrown and not mowed. Have them slip the
socks over their shoes and run around. They will pick up burrs, foxtails and a
number of other seeds. Make sure they understand that this is how some seeds
- Wet one entire sock, place it in a cake
pan placed on a slant. Fill the lower part of the pan with water and place the
tip of the sock in it. This will keep the sock wet, but should prevent mold.
Place the pan in a warm place and watch the seeds sprout.
- You may want to pull off some of the
seeds before you get them wet. You may need to put some of the seeds in a
freezer or refrigerator for two weeks to simulate winter. Then try planting
them. Some seeds need to pass through a cold period before they will sprout.
This illustrates to the students that seeds
are all over the place, just ready to grow when given the right environment.