Traveling Seeds – Background

Wandering through a meadow, a child stops by a jewelweed plant, on the lookout for its plump seed pods. As she reaches in and touches one, it suddenly bursts open and ejects a seed, startling and delighting her. This child is inadvertently helping with an important part of a plant’s life cycle, the dispersal of its seeds. Producing seeds for the next generation is only part of a plant’s job. It needs those seeds to reach a place where they can grow. Spring-loaded seed capsules like those of jewelweed are just one of the many fascinating mechanisms plants use to disperse their seeds.

A seed is the fertilized, ripened ovule of a cone-bearing plant (gymnosperm) or a flowering plant (angiosperm). Continue reading Traveling Seeds – Background

Traveling Seeds – Activities

FOCUS: After a plant flowers and produces fertile seeds, those seeds must still find a spot to grow. We’ll see what the inside of a seed looks like, how it holds all that is necessary for a new plant to grow, and explore outside to see the many different seeds we can find and the ways they move from place to place.

Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about seeds.

Give a variety of seeds and seed heads to children to examine in small groups, and ask what similarities and differences they notice.

Materials: a variety of seeds and seed heads, magnifying lenses.

PUPPET SHOW “Travel Agents”
Objective: To obtain information about some of the seed dispersal strategies that are important in a plant’s life cycle.

Perform the puppet show, or have a group of children perform it for the class. Afterward, ask questions to review the key details and vocabulary in the story. What do we mean by “seed dispersal”? (Traveling.) Why do seeds travel? (To reach a suitable habitat free of competition from the parent.) Hold up the puppets one by one and ask how the character got around. Use the How Seeds Travel poster to show examples of the different ways that seeds disperse.

Materials: puppets, script, stage, props, brown pompom for burdock burr; How Seeds Travel poster.

Objective: To collect and observe a variety of seeds and seed heads outdoors, looking for evidence of seed dispersal strategies.

Have the children work in small groups and provide each with a paper bag for collecting seeds. With their groups, children will collect a variety of seeds from their schoolyard. Continue reading Traveling Seeds – Activities

Traveling Seeds – Puppet Show

Travel Agents

Characters: Benjy Bear, Mitch Milkweed Seed, Clara Cranberry, Bertie Burdock, Sally Squirrel.

Props: Brown pompom for burdock burr, basket of acorns prop

Benjy Bear  Gee, it’s a breezy fall morning.

Look at all this fluffy stuff in the air. Here’s a bit of fluff caught on a branch.

Mitch Milkweed  I’m not just a bit of fluff. I’m a traveling seed.

Bear  Oh, I seed what you mean. But what’s all that fluffy white hair for? Continue reading Traveling Seeds – Puppet Show

Traveling Seeds – Standards


The activities in this unit help children understand the basic concepts in the Disciplinary Core Ideas listed here. You can use the following list as a guide for lesson planning. These Disciplinary Core Ideas are taken from Grade Band Endpoints in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. Additionally, our activities give children opportunities to engage in many of the Science and Engineering Practices and reflect on the Crosscutting Concepts as identified in the Next Generation Science Standards. Continue reading Traveling Seeds – Standards