Spreading Seeds Around The Forest

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SWBAT identify at least 3 ways that seeds are spread through the forest environment

Big Idea

New trees, new plants, new flowers spring up all over the forest habitat. How and why do they spring up where they are?

Teacher Background

This lesson is a background lesson. Students need to know how seeds are spread before they can create a model for spreading seeds as indicated by 2 -LS -2-2. In this lesson students mimic some of the ways that seeds are spread so they can better understand how seeds travel from the parent plant to new plants. 

Seeds can be spread away from the parent plant by a variety of methods. One way is gravity, where a fruit, such as an apple falls to the ground when it becomes ripe. The fruit, left on its own will rot and the seeds have a chance to take root and start a new tree.

Another way is via animal transport. Here an animal's fur, mucous glands, or certain specific spikes or other parts of the body attract the seeds and as the animal travels, the seeds are carried away from the parent plant and deposited in a new setting.

Water is another means of transport, especially for plants living in or near the water. Their seeds can be carried on the current and deposited along the shore.

Animals can also eat certain seeds, that are then passed through their bodies and deposited back on the ground as waste.

Wind is also a transporter of seeds. The seeds are released from the plants and travel on the wind to new locations.

I Can Statement

5 minutes

I begin today's lesson by posting the I Can statement for the lesson. I invite students to read it with me. "I can identify 3 ways that seeds are spread in the forest habitat."

I ask students, " What do you think it means when we say that seeds are spread in the forest habitat?" I want to check for their background knowledge about how plants drop seeds that then create new plants and that there are different ways that this can happen. It is important for me to have a clear picture of their background knowledge and also any misconceptions before beginning the lesson.

It may be necessary to correct any misconceptions about how seeds from a plant are spread to a place where a new plant can grow before beginning the lesson. 

I check to see if this lesson will be mainly review for my students, or if I am presenting them with new information through the experiments they will conduct.

Exploring the Different Ways Seeds are Transported

30 minutes

Once I have a clear understanding of what students already know about the transport of seeds, I tell them that today they will have a chance to explore different ways that seeds can be transported from where the parent plant is (the plant that is already growing), to a new place where it might take root and start a new plant. As part of 2- LS 2-2 students are expected to create a model of how seeds are transported. This lesson is giving students a chance to discover for themselves that there are a variety of ways that seeds travel from the parent plant to start a new plant. 

I have set up centers for students to visit. I explain to students. "today you will visit each center for about 5 minutes. You will read the direction card and do what it says to experiment with moving the seeds around. You will need to record what you notice at each center. I will count you off by 4s and send one group to each center to begin. Be sure to take a pencil and your journal page with you so you can record your observations at each center." I count students off by 4s and send one group to each center.

Center 1: The direction card reads: In this center you will spread a handful of seeds on a paper plate. Now pick up a piece of fur and touch the plate. Turn the fur over and look at it. What do you notice?  Record your observations in your journal. You can repeat the experiment several times. Brush the seeds back onto the plate each time you are done. Seeds on a Tail

Center 2: The direction card reads: Place a small line of seeds on the line on your paper. Bend down and gently blow the seeds. What do you notice? Repeat the experiment blowing harder, and blowing more gently. Record what you notice in your journal.Blowing the Seeds

Center 3: The direction card reads: Place 4 or 5 seeds at one end of the pan of water. Gently tip the pan so that the water moves, but does not spill. What happens to the seeds? Record in your journal what you notice. Remove the seeds from the water and place them in the bucket of wet seeds.

Center 4: The direction card reads: Pick up one piece of an apple and hold it up high. Drop it. What happens? Pick up a seed and drop it. What happens? For each seed, record what happens when you drop it.

While students are working at each center, I walk around to help them read the directions, to check that they are recording their findings, Journal Entry and to ask them questions as they work.

When students have visited all 4 centers I ring the bell and ask them to return to their seats. I ask them to share some things that they noticed. I ask, "can you tell me some things you found out about the different ways that seeds can be transported from the plant they came from to a new place where they might grow?" I let students share their observations.

Demonstrating Our Understanding

30 minutes

I want students to express their understanding through writing for this lesson. It is important for students to realize that subjects are not totally independent. What students learn in one area can be applied to learning in another area. 

Today I have decided to have students write a short story about a seed that wants to travel.  I start by reading them "The Tiny Seed," by Eric Carle. I ask them how this book is related to the experiments we just did? I tell them that they will write their own seed stories today. I give them a story starter and ask the to write a make believe story. I say, "In science you explored ways that seeds can be moved from one place to another. Today I want you to pretend that you are a seed. You want to travel to new and distant places. Take what you have learned about how seeds can move from one place to another, and create a story about the seed's journey. Try to use at least 2 different ways that the seeds might travel. You need to use real ways for a seed to travel, even if your seed talks and has a name and is more like a person. In other words, your seed should not be traveling by spaceship, but it might hitch a ride on the wind. You may give your seed a name, tell what type of plant it came from and describe how it travels to a new place. 

What are some things you need to remember as you write?" I give students a chance to brainstorm the need for a good beginning sentence, describing words, upper case letters at the beginning of sentences, punctuation, careful spelling, a beginning, middle and ending of the story, etc.

"On your paper is a story starter. You may use this line, or create your own beginning. I pass out the papers that have the sentence, "One day a little seed in the forest decided that he/she wanted to travel out to where there where there were no other trees." 

As students write, I have mini conferences with them. I ask them to tell me more about their story, to read a part to themselves to check for missing words, to check for punctuation, to look for good describing words, etc. 


Final Share

10 minutes

I conduct a writer's share time after all of the stories are written. This may be the next day, or during a reading block. I use the buddy wheel to have students find a partner. (I call out a number and students have a wheel with classmates names on it. They meet with the partner who has that number.) The students share their books with each other. 

We put the books in our class library for several days before sending them home.

I use the books to assess student understanding of how seeds are transported. I am looking to see if students mentioned at least 1 of the ways we experimented with. I am hoping to see that they mentioned 2 or more of the ways.