Dissecting a Seed

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SWBAT observe the anatomy of a seed by "dissecting" a lima bean.

Big Idea

Students learn that there is more to a seed than what they see on the outside.


15 minutes


  • One seed (lima beans) per student, soaked overnight 
  • One paper plate per student
  • One seed diagram per student

I call one table at a time to the floor to sit like scientists. I tell the kids that today we will be dissecting a seed. I explain to them that dissecting means to take apart. We do this activity together with me guiding because they have never dissected anything before. 


  1. I hold up a seed and demonstrate how to remove the seed coat. 
  2. I demonstrate how to break open the seed and look for the embryo and food store.
  3. I then demonstrate how to record the parts on the diagram.

I leave it at three simple parts as it is appropriate for young children to know those parts of the seed. I show them how to label the parts on the diagram by using a similar hand-drawn diagram on chart paper. They are able to transfer the information from the hand-drawn diagram to the printed copy given to them. 


10 minutes

To engage the students I show them this video of how a seed germinates and becomes a plant from its original state. We stop at each stage to discuss what we saw in the dissection and how each part works to grow a plant. Each time we stop, the kids discuss what they understand from the video with their floor partner using the vocabulary from this lesson and video. It is important to start kids off using appropriate content vocabulary in kindergarten so it is less of a struggle for them as it becomes more difficult in upper grades.

I do this because our next lesson is the planting of seeds to grow bean plants. Doing this lesson allows the kids to understand how the seed grows into a plant and prepares them for the observations they will make in the next lesson. 


10 minutes

The evaluation of this lesson is done in the science journals. I ask the kids to draw and label a seed. When they are finished, they are asked to come back to the floor and share their learning with their floor partner. I roam the room and assist as needed as the kids record their learning in their journals. I also ask questions as the kids work. For instance, I may ask a student, "Tell me what the seed coat does." or I may ask, "What does the plant embryo do?"

If a student is not able to verbalize what is being asked, I give a quick mini lesson to catch them up. Others at the table are welcome to listen in as well. This ensures that every student closes the lesson with at least some understanding of the parts of the seed and the function. 

After the kids are done and all have shared with their floor partner, I choose three random students by pulling name sticks from a name stick can and have them come up one at a time to share their learning with the class. This allows for all students to be heard, but respects the limited time we have in the classroom.


10 minutes

A take home reader is the tool used for the extension of this lesson. The students are able to share the information within the readers with their families. They cut and staple the reader in the classroom if there is time at the end of the lesson or as a transition before the next class period. The teacher can have the books prepared in advance if preferred.

Procedure to read books:

  1. Teacher reads, they they track with finger
  2. Kids read with the teacher, still tracking with finger
  3. Kids read independently to their partner, each partner takes a turn while the other tracks

This take home reader supports learning and serves as a home-school connection piece. It supports learning by extending the lesson and crossing into Language Arts. Most students can read it themselves; those struggling with reading can have assistance at home.