Plant or Alien? An Exploration of Germination

10 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Students will be able to apply correct science vocabulary to label photos of germinating seeds, while continuing to work on stating claims with supporting evidence.

Big Idea

Allowing students many opportunities to make sense of their world before leading them to the answer is essential to supporting them in their scientific growth. This lesson allows students to explore their ability to gather evidence.


5 minutes

Following our three day series of lessons on the parts of seeds, I begin my lesson on the stages of germination of seed with the students. 

I have the questions "What happens to the seeds once they begin to grow?".

I ask the students to turn and tell their shoulder partner what they think about this question.  I remind them to think about all of their research and pictures they have seen of seed growth.  As they talk with each other, I listen in to capture responses to use in my next step.

Next, I review what I have heard and let the students know that the scientific work for the beginning of a seed's growth is GERMINATION.  I place this vocabulary word on the board and explain that germination is the beginning of the life cycle of a plant.  It is when the dormant seed begins its process.   

Mini Lesson

10 minutes

After giving the students the bit of background knowledge of germination, I ask them to watch this short video clip of a seed in the germination process.  I explain that this is a time lapse of a process that will be much slower in real time with our seeds.  I ask them to watch for the order of the seed parts becoming visible.

I also place several seeds from out sprouted under the document camera and ask students to describe what they notice.  I wonder aloud "I wonder how these can all be so different since we placed them in the sprouter at the same time?"  This is a question we will explore later and it is a good wondering to put in their heads.

After the class has a chance to watch the full clip, I replay it and pause at certain sections. I ask volunteers to come to the board and discuss, with evidence, what they think is happening. While they communicate their thoughts, I am listening for their ability to state a claim with supportive evidence, and for their ability to agree or disagree with each other. This is an excellent way to grow communication skills among students and create a community where debate is celebrated and necessary. (SP7, SP8)

This series of short clips allows the viewer to see how this type of communication can roll out in a beginning classroom. 

This student makes a claim about part of the germination process, while supporting it with some evidence. You will hear me work to restate her claim/evidence using what I know her background knowledge is.  This is done in order to model how to make a strong claim/evidence statement. 

When the next student came up to make her claim, she uses a large amount of knowledge and evidence from the video.  

When this student made her claim, she supported it with in-depth evidence, which sparked more thought in the classroom. After her claim, I played another small part of the clip on the board to see if she was right. Notice how many hands go up and the "oohs" you hear in from the listeners.

As I allow her to bring up another scientist, listen to how I remind them to use our conversation talking marks (I agree, disagree, want to add to…).


Active Engagement

25 minutes

As their active engagement activity, I give students a Germination Process powerpoint that I put together of different seeds in different stages of germination. I printed this powerpoint with 4 photos per page.

I explain their task will be to work with their partner to discuss and record what they think is happening to the seed.  As our real seeds germinate, we will be able to compare the claims with actual results. 

In the clip, listen in on how I guide the girls back to focusing on the scientific conversation and help them with their detailed drawings. 

Close and Share

10 minutes

To close the lesson, I have student tour each other's work to look for similarities and differences in labels.  I then give children about 3 minutes to add to or change their work.  If we don't finish, I will find time during the next day to finish up and share under the document camera.  

I remind the students that as scientists, we are still making claims and will need to watch our seeds sprout and move through the germination process to confirm or revise our thinking.