Lesson #4: Seeds
How do plants grow and where do new plants come from? This week, expanding on the previously covered plant parts- roots and leaves- students will begin their exploration into the function of seeds. There are many delicious and nutritious seeds that we eat, including corn, beans, sunflower, peas, rice, caraway, and millet. But besides the human needs they fill, what role do seeds fill for a plant? Students will begin their investigation by dissecting germinated kidney beans to locate and identify the immature plant plant parts. After discussing the functions of seeds for plant reproduction, students will plant seasonally appropriate seeds to take home so they can watch the process of plant germination and growth over the next week! The lesson will end with a cooking lesson to prepare a bean salad.
Note: I changed the recipes for Lessons #4 and #5. Since lesson #4 is about seeds, the bean salad was moved there. Since Lesson #5 is about the whole life cycle and ends with a discussion about fruits, pickling has been moved there with a discussion about how many foods that we call vegetables are actually fruits (cucumbers, zucchini, peas, peppers, and tomatoes).
The life cycle of a plant includes seed, seedling, plant, flower, and fruit.
SWBAT describe the lifecycle of a plant.
10 (D) observe changes that are part of a simple life cycle of a plant: seed, seedling, plant, flower, and fruit
- Samples of a variety of seeds (enough for students to visually investigate) – corn, beans, sunflower, peas, rice, caraway, millet ,etc.
- Hand lenses
- Lima beans for dissection
- Small cups for planting seeds
- Seed starter soil
- Seasonally appropriate seeds. For assistance selecting, ask your local nursery.
- Green beans
- Bell Pepper
- Canned black beans
- Olive Oil
- Lemon Juice
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Mixing bowl
- Large spoon
Soak beans for dissection overnight or at least 8 hours.
Cut salad ingredients before class.
Timeline (1 hour total):
5 min Lifecycle Introduction
10 min Seed Sorting
10 min Bean Dissection
10 min Make It – Bean salad
10 min Taste It – Bean salad
10 min Planting Seeds
5 min Clean-up
- Introduction. Ask students how plants grow – Where do they come from? How are more plants made? .
- Seed Sorting. Review the parts of a plant (roots, stem, leaves, flower), and then talk about how plants make flowers before developing After the flower is done blooming, it will wither and dry and create a fruit that will hold the seeds for the plant. Place a wide variety of seeds into compartments of the egg cartons or another organized container. Distribute one filled egg carton to each group of four students, as well as hand lenses. Provide time for the students to examine the seeds and discuss in their small groups. As a class, discuss the similarities and differences between the seeds. Sort them into piles. Which seeds do people eat? Which seeds do birds or other animals eat? Finally, discuss the function of seeds.
- Bean Dissection. Distribute a plate or paper towel and a lima bean that has been soaked for at least 8 hours to each student. First have the student gently slide the seed coat off. This should feel like a thick layer of skin on the outside of the bean. The swollen, soaked beans will often start to split right down the middle where it is easiest to find the bean embryo. Have the students gently pull the two halved (the cotyledons) apart. The bean embryo will have a radicle (baby root) and epicotyl (baby leaf). Help the students identify the parts of the bean embryo, then encourage them to examine them with the magnifying glasses. When students are done with the dissection, collect the beans to compost.
- Make It – Bean Salad. Prep ingredients beforehand and have students take turns measuring, adding, and mixing ingredients. Give each student a copy of the recipe.
- 2 cup – green beans
- 2 clove – garlic
- 1 medium – tomato, red
- 2 medium – carrot
- 1 medium – bell pepper, yellow
- 15 ounce – black beans, canned
- 2 tablespoon – basil, fresh
- 1 tablespoon – oregano, fresh
- 1 tablespoon – parsley, fresh
- 3 tablespoon – lemon juice
- 3 tablespoon – olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon – salt
- 1/8 teaspoon – black pepper, ground
- Before class, steam green beans in a steamer basket for 5 minutes.
- Press garlic, chop tomato, thinly slice carrots and bell peppers.
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
*In a pinch, this salad can also be made with Zesty Italian dressing in lieu of fresh herbs.
- Taste it – Salads. Serve each student a small portion of bean salad.
- Clean-Up – Students will return the classroom to its previous state, including washing cutting boards and knives, and wiping down tables and floors as necessary.