Written and Illustrated by Ken Robbins
Adaptable Lesson Plan for Grades 3-5
Over a two week period of time, students will identify that seeds will germinate into specific plants. They will identify various parts of a seed, such as the cotyledon, seed coat, and embryo. Using a variety of seeds students will create experiments to determine what a seed needs to germinate and will determine what energy is used to germinate.
LS.3.1 Offspring resemble their parents and each other.
LS.4.1.1 Changes in an organism’s environment are sometimes beneficial to its survival and sometimes harmful.
LS.5.2 All of the processes that take place within organisms require energy.
SL.3.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’s ideas and expressing their own clearly.
SL.3.3 Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.
SL.3.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount and experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
SL.3.6 Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.
SL.4.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’s ideas and expressing their own clearly.
SL.4.3 Identify the reasons and evidence a speaker provides to support particular points.
SL.4.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount and experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
SL.5.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’s ideas and expressing their own clearly.
SL.5.3 Summarize the points a speaker makes and explain how each claim is supported by reasons and evidence.
SL.5.4 Report on a topic or text, or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
Teacher Background Information
Germination is defined as the beginning of growth. The term is most commonly associated with plants, describing the process of a seed sprouting into a seedling. The term germination can also be applied to spores or buds.
When seeds are dry and hard they are dormant. For a seed to germinate the dormancy period will need to be broken with water and warmth. When a seed is moistened, it will absorb water, breaking the seed coat and initiating the food supply in the cotyledon through the activation of enzymes that produce energy for the seed to sprout.
Temperatures must fall between a specific range for seeds to germinate. Most seeds grown in the Learning Garden germinate between 60° and 90° Fahrenheit (15° and 32° Celsius), but each seed has a unique temperature range for germination.
Sunlight supports the germination process as it provides warmth to the soil. Although uncommon, some seeds do even need direct contact with sunlight to germinate. Sunlight warms the soil to help initiate germination and once leaves have sprouted, and it is also the primary energy source for plant growth through the process of photosynthesis.
All flowering plants are classified as either a monocot (one cotyledon), or a dicot (two cotyledons). In a monocot, one cotyledon, or one seed leaf, will emerge from the germinating seed. In a dicot, two cotyledons, or two seed leaves, will emerge from the germinating seed. There are other differences between a monocot and a dicot, most notably the leaf structure. In a monocot, the leaf veins are paralleled, like a blade of grass. In a dicot, the leaf veins are netted like an oak leaf.
- Seeds (a variety) – 3-5 per student or small group
- Paper towels – at least 1 per student or small group
- Zip lock plastic bags – 1 per student or small group
- Spray bottles – enough for easy sharing
- Labels or a piece of masking tape – 1 per student or small group
- Seed Germination Experiment worksheet – front and back – 1 per student
- Soaked seed – at least 1 per student (preferably lima beans from the grocery store)
- Magnifying glasses – enough for easy sharing at work station
- Paper towels – at least 1 per student
- Seed Dissection worksheet – 1 per group or work station
Engage (Day 1)
Read Aloud: Seeds by Ken Robbins
Students set up germination experiment (one week before Classroom Activity)
Germination Experiment (part 1)
- Provide each student or group with a plastic bag, paper towel, and 3-5 seeds.
- Students label each plastic bag with name, the date, and the seed name.
- Have students fold a paper towel in the bag, make sure it will fit in the plastic bag.
- Then spray or dampen the paper towel with water.
- Place 3 – 5 seeds in the folds of the paper towel in the bag.
- Carefully insert the paper towel (with seeds) into your plastic bag,seal, and label.
- Each group places their bag in a warm spot.
Explore (Day 2: one week after Engage activity)
One day before the Garden Activity, the teacher soaks seeds (preferably Lima beans) for seed dissection.
Let students know they will be dissecting a seed and learning about the parts of a seed and how it germinates from the inside out!
- Let your students know that today they will be working in groups to dissect and explore the inside of a seed.
- Ask for a student volunteer to make a hypothesis on the definition of germination. Provide definition after student(s) make a hypothesis.
- Introduce the supplies at each group.
- Break students up into work station groups. Be sure to bring enough supplies for each group.
- Give your students 10 minutes to complete the seed dissection activity and as groups finish, have them complete the seed dissection diagram.
- Gather your students back together and review the parts of a seed and the function of each plant part.
Explain (Day 2)
After exploration, redefine the word germination and review the two things seeds need to germinate – warmth and water. Ask students to share how they explored the inside of the seed and what they discovered. Have students discuss how a seed germinates from the inside out.
Watch video: Seed Germination
When explaining the following to students, draw diagrams on the whiteboard for visual support.
When seeds sprout in the soil, the radicle, or embryonic root, will be the first to emerge from the seed coat. The developing stem, described as the epicotyl, will emerge next and will grow towards the surface of the soil, eventually pushing its way through. The developing stem will bring the cotyledon along, which appears as the first two sprouting leaves, which looks different from the true leaves of the plant that grow once the stem and roots are established.
Have students share any new information they have learned about germination.
Elaborate (Day 3)
Spend time discussing the following questions:
- What does a seed need to sprout?
- Why are seeds important? What part do they play in plant survival?
- How does the location of a seed affect how it grows?
Have a student share what has been learned thus far about germination.
Review the definition of a hypothesis.
Make a list of student responses on the board and group or categorize responses together, discuss and strike any responses that are not needed to germinate a seed.
During today’s lesson students will be crafting a hypothesis on what they think has happened to their seeds since they planted them a week ago.
- Pass out the Seed Germination Experiment worksheet.
- Review the terms germination and hypothesis with the students.
- Students are then to independently record responses to the questions in which they define germination and create a hypothesis.
- Collect student worksheets to be used for the next lesson.
Evaluate (Day 4)
During today’s lesson, students will be making observations about the seed germination experiment.
Germination Experiment (part 2)
- Invite your students to collect their seed germination experiment. Pass back out their worksheet, Seed Germination Experiment, and have your students quietly review the rest of the worksheet.
- Review the remainder of the Seed Germination Experiment worksheet with your students. Ask for students to raise their hand and volunteer to read each section.
- Give students 15 minutes to complete the Seed Germination Experiment worksheet individually.
- Have students pair and share the results of their experiment and review the two things seeds need to germinate – warmth and water.
- Call on volunteers to share their experiments, including hypotheses with the whole class. Have students provide feedback as to why they believe the hypothesis was on or off target.
- Have students share ideas on how they could further the experiment to gather more information about germination.
- Collect worksheets to be used for evaluation.
- Have students study each seed and plant from the book Seeds by Ken Robbins. Students can create presentations on each seed/plant and chart on a class-made world map. Seeds can be compared by size and texture and placed into a chart.
- Plant a variety of seeds in the classroom and have children monitor how long it takes each seed to germinate. Create a presentation to share similarities and differences in plant germination.
- What other seeds can children find in different foods we eat.
Seed Germination Experiment
Please collect the following supplies:
- 3-5 Seeds
- 1 Paper Towel
- 1 Plastic Bag
- 1 spray bottle (you may need to share)
- 1 label or piece of masking tape and a marker
Please follow these steps when setting up your germination experiment:
- Label the plastic bag with your name, the date, and the seed name
- Fold a paper towel, make sure it will fit in your plastic bag
- Spray or dampen your paper towel with water
- Place 3 – 5 seeds in the folds of your paper towel
- Carefully insert your paper towel (with seeds) into your plastic bag, seal, and label
STOP HERE. You will complete the rest of the lesson in one week.
|Create a hypothesis. When my seed germinates it will look like this:|
|(Use words and pictures to describe your hypothesis)|
Seed Germination Experiment
Please follow these steps when reviewing your germination experiment:
- Locate your plastic bag – it should be labeled with your name, date, and the seed type.
- Open your plastic bag and carefully remove the paper towel (with seeds).
- Unfold your paper towel to expose the seeds.
- Observe your seeds, then complete the germination results section below.
|Sketch what you see:|
|Observations and description|
|Was your hypothesis correct? Explain:|
|Reflect A seed needs the following two things to germinate:|
Make sure your work station has the following supplies:
- Soaked seeds, 1 per student
- Magnifying glasses for sharing
- Paper towels
Complete the following steps to successfully dissect your seed:
- Select a soaked seed and run your fingernail along the rounded edge.
- Carefully split open your seed into two separate sections.
- Remove the skin surrounding your seed.
- Place the three different seed parts on a paper towel.
- Review the following diagram and identify the seed parts on your seed.
Parts of a Seed
|Provides food for the baby plant, or seedling||Protects the seed from insects, disease, and damage||This will germinate into a baby plant, or seedling|
Label the parts of the seed with your group.