Learning about seeds is so much fun for children. This week’s garden class with the grade three students was a lot of fun. We learned about how seeds travel and where the seeds are on the plant. To start the day they had to spend ten minutes observing in the garden. This way they can see how the seasons change and the effect it has on the plants. They soon noticed that the sunflowers had dropped their heads. When I asked them why this had happened, they were quick to say that the flowers was preparing to drop its seeds. Once we had our discussion about what they had observed I asked if they had noticed anything else that wasn’t a plant. One little girl piped up and said, ” I saw that there are sticks around the garden.” I chuckled at this as she was referring to our new fence as sticks.
To learn about the different seed shapes and sizes I put together this collection of seeds in an egg carton and labeled them. I had the students look at each of the seeds to compare them as to shape, size, colour and texture. I asked them if they had any ideas as to why the squash and pumpkin seeds looked alike. I had a couple of children tell that they might be in the same family. Good answer! When I told them about the Swedish brown beans being from the 1800’s, they couldn’t get their mind around it. How could a seed be 200 years old? A lesson in heritage seeds was learned yesterday. The seeds actually came from a farmer here in Delta and their family had brought them here from Sweden when they immigrated in the early 1800’s. The family has been growing these brown beans every year since then. We also compared the many sizes and colours of bean seeds. We talked about how you can’t tell how big a plant will get by just looking at the seed. I showed them the pumpkin seeds and had them look over to one of our pumpkin vines growing behind us. They said,”That’s just one seed?” It’s hard to believe that just one little seed can grow such a large plant.
I also cut up some vegetables so we could see how the seeds were positioned in the plant. Were they in rows, circles and what kind of pattern did they have? Could we grow them now? They learned about drying the seeds first and how important that was.
Of course, I had to throw a trick question in. I showed them a head of broccoli and asked what part of the plant we were eating. Most of them knew it was the flower. We talked about how this plant was harvested before it could flower and produce seeds. We also looked at a sunflower head and the children loved picking the black sunflower seeds off the plant. I had them feel the hardness of the sunflower seed head and look at how the seeds were positioned so perfectly.
The children also played a seed game to learn how seeds travel. This poster has had a lot of use so its time to make a new one. I placed the headings along the top of a poster board and used velcro in four spots under each heading. Next I had to find some seeds. Out to the garden I went.
I packaged various seeds for each heading in Ziploc bags and added a small piece of velcro to the back of the bag. The children love these helicopter like seeds so I knew they would know to place this seed under the wind category but they could also go under the people category as I know many children love to play with these seeds.
I was able to find some fireweed in a vacant lot and used it as well as acorns, mountain ash berries, ivy berries, clematis seeds, coconut, bullrush, grasses and sweet gum tree seed pods. Obviously the coconut and bullrush would not fit into the Ziploc bag so I found a photo of each online and printed it out to place in the bag. I made sure that the seeds had different adaptations to enable the students to examine these as well. The children had fun playing this game.
The children also made seed envelopes and went searching for seeds to take home. I think this was their favourite part of the day. That is until I told them we would be making scarecrows at the next class. Now they are really excited to come back in October!