What Is This For? Parts of a Seed

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Students will be able to create investigations to determine the parts of a seed and then research in order to describe the purpose of those parts.

Big Idea

Identifying and labeling seed parts is an age-old task. However, in this lesson, students will be in the driver's seat, as they create investigations, research, listen to music, and play a quiz game!

Note to the Teacher

1 minutes

This lesson is intense and it may take your class two sessions.  That is okay.  Don't worry about the extra time that is needed to help the children become careful investigators. 

Question/Mini Lesson

10 minutes

As the children begin to gather in our community area, I have this YouTube video playing on the whiteboard.  I do this in order to create motivation around a sometimes less than exciting lesson and to introduce the terms of the day.


This video also raises questions, like what is an embryo?  How does a seed travel?  What did the part….mean?

Check out the happiness and motivation in the room.  Even though they may not understand all of the words, yet, they are intrigued and trying to make sense of the song.

What a great introduction to the day! I now explain to my scientists that we are going to learn about the parts of a seed.  However, I first prompt them to turn and talk with their partner about what a seed actually is and where they might find one. 

After the students discuss, we will review what a seed is and then launch into the parts of a seed.  I will ask, "Do you think a seed is just one thing, or made up of parts?  How can we find out?"


Active Engagement

20 minutes

Following the discussion of how we might find out, I give student partnerships two dry bean seeds and two soaked bean seeds on a tray.  They will also be given magnifying glasses, tweezers, rulers and tape measures, and an insert for their science journal page in the narrative section. 

I will remind them about what we have learned about making claims with supporting evidence, and what we know about making scientific drawings. I will show them the Parts of a Seed NGSS Criteria  that I will use during their investigation as well. The highlighted sections are those that I will focus on for this task.  After the lesson, I will staple the sheet into each of their notebooks, based on their group work.  Therefore, I will only keep a record for each group and then photocopy the pages after the scoring. 

Their task will be to dissect the seeds and illustrate their findings.  They will also make claims about what they find. At this point, I am not giving them the names of the parts, as I want them to explore and consider what they might be for, rather than the vocabulary terms. 

As the students follow through with their self-selected investigation, I will circulate and ask probing questions.

  • What are you investigating?  
  • Why are you doing it this way?  
  • How will you represent your
  • findings in your science notebook?

This student realizes he is a scientist. Listen to how he is referring to what he is working on.  Notice that I prompt him to look at an aspect of the seed and what he does.  He is really trying to make sense of this investigation.


Mid-Workshop Mini Lesson

5 minutes

After enough time for the students to explore their seeds, represent their findings in their journals, and discuss their predictions, I will stop the class and ask them to leave their stations and return to the community area, as I have important and helpful information for them.

I will explain to the students that scientists always refer to each other's research in order to grow their own knowledge.  Sometimes they read, watch videos, or even interview each other.  Today, we will have the help of research online and in books.

Each group should share the resources in the room to revise and add to their work in their journals. They should accurately label the parts of their seeds and describe the job of that specific part under the label. 

After the quick presentation, I will hand each group the iPad with the bookmarked website and set out the books I checked out of the school library and send them back to their stations to complete their task. 

Share and Close

15 minutes

After the children have completed their tasks, they will once again come to the community area with their science notebooks.  I will ask partnerships to form teams of four and will give them a white board and Expo marker.  I will explain that we will be taking a quiz Parts of a seed powerpoint quiz on the whiteboard. (Be sure to download it for it to work properly!). When the teams have agreed on an answer, they should quietly write it on their board.  When I ask, all teams will display their board. I will then display the correct answer. Teams will give themselves a silent pat on the back for correct answers. I remind the students that when we are learning, we hope everyone gets the points, because that means they have learned!

I have also added the musical video of the parts of seeds here, because if your students are like mine, they love to listen over and over again.  However, it is also useful because the vocabulary terms in the song will now hold meaning for the children and we can put the words on our science term board.