Life Cycle - Plants (KB)
Lab 

   
OBJECTIVES:
  • Classifying seeds.
  • Comparing seeds and the plants they produce.

VOCABULARY:

  • plant
  • seed
MATERIALS:

Students sort mixed seeds.

BACKGROUND:

Seeds come in many different shapes and sizes. A seed is the "baby" plant in waiting.

The purpose of the seed coat is primarily to protect the embryo (or baby) plant against such hazards as excessive drying, mechanical injury, and the digestive juices of animals (if it is eaten). Many seed coats are impermeable to water or oxygen or are hard which helps it remain "asleep" or dormant for a long time. When the conditions are right the dormant seed will grow. Seed coats are frequently specialized and may facilitate dispersal by wind or animals. The winged seeds of some species are familiar examples of wind-dispersed types. In some plants, the seed coat is adhesive (as in mistletoe) or becomes gummy when wet (as in mustard seeds) and adheres to the feet of birds. Hairy seeds may cling to the bodies of animals and be transported for long distances.

Seeds are used by other organisms as food, because seeds have food stored in them. Seeds furnish humans with great proportions of food. A large part of the world relies on the grains of wheat, rice, soybeans, corn, rye, and barley. Oils and fats are produced from the seeds of coconut, corn, cotton, flax, castor bean, sesame, peanut, and soybean. Oil from the cotton seed and peanut is utilized in the manufacture of various products such as butter and lard substitutes and soap. Linseed oil from flax seed is used in the manufacture of paints, varnishes, artificial leather, oilcloth, and linoleum.

PROCEDURE:
  1. In this lab students will be looking at the overall seed, but will mainly classify, compare, and describe the seed coat. Seed coats come in many different sizes and different textures. The key portion of this lab is to look at the different seeds and try to point out what the plant looks like.

    Instruct students to classify or sort the seeds into groups that look similar in shape. Then have them look at the outside of the seeds and see if they are smooth or wrinkled.
      
  2. Instruct the students to count how many seeds they have of the same kind. You may want students to record the information on the worksheet. Let them use their imagination when naming the seed, however they may just use color to separate them.  If your kindergarten child can write, use the worksheet.  If not, you might want the child to take one seed and paste it on a piece of paper to show the different types of seeds they found. 
       
  3. Different pictures of seeds can be seen on several web sites. To keep current, we recommend you do a search on "seeds" to help find more pictures.

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