Kids learn all about living things in school. Throughout the elementary grades, they start learning everything about animals and plants, from their life cycles to their adaptations to nature. In first grade, a good part of any science unit on plants is learning about seeds. How are seeds designed for survival? Help your child create her own seed book to show her how seeds are designed to go, go, go, before they grow, grow, grow!
What You Need:
- Blank paper
- Colored markers
What You Do:
- Go on a seed scavenger hunt with your child. In your backyard, look high and low on trees, shrubs, in flowerbeds, on the ground, and elsewhere in the garden to find a variety of seeds. Good seeds to look for would be: dandelion seeds, milkweed seeds, maples, acorns, and burdock. And before you go inside, be sure to check your outerwear, especially your shoelaces, for hitchhiking seeds.
- Bring the collection into the house and spread the seeds out on a piece of newspaper to dry. Depending on the variety of seeds and the time of year, this may take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
- When dry, examine the seeds carefully and think about how each seed gets to where it's going. Some seeds such as acorns simply fall from trees. Others like as dandelions and milkweed seeds have fluffy material that work like parachutes to carry them on the wind. Maple seeds also have parts that look like wings; their leafy flaps flutter in the wind and give them lift so they can travel as they fall from the tree. Other seeds such as acorns and sunflower seeds are carried around by animals like squirrels, birds, and chipmunks. And still others have special parts that allow them to hitch a ride on our shoelaces and in the fur of animals. Burdock seeds, for example, have hook-like parts that stick to our clothing like Velcro when we brush against them. Be sure to examine the seeds closely and discuss with your child how each might get from place to place, based on the appearance and special parts of the seed.
- Finally, compile your findings in a book. Have your child make a page for each type of seed in her collection. At the top of the page, let her glue the seed to the paper. At the bottom of the page, have her write the name of her seed and its method of travel. For instance, she can write: “Dandelion seeds travel by floating on the wind.” If you're not sure what kind of seed you've collected, let her describe the seed by how it travels.
- Finish writing down the findings, and now your child will have a colorful book of seeds to refer back to!
Liana Mahoney is a National Board Certified elementary teacher, currently teaching a first and second grade loop. She is also a certified Reading Specialist, with teaching experience as a former high school English teacher, and early grades Remedial Reading instructor.