Parts of a Seed

Brinkley Porter

May 2, 2000

Brief Description of the Lesson:

A hands-on lesson letting students explore the parts of a lima bean. The students will identify the seed coat, embryo, and cotyledon.

Grade Level: Third and fourth grade

Course of Study content standard:

    1. Describe characteristics of objects

-color

-flexibility

-composition

-shape

-size

-texture

(AL Science, Grade 3, Concept 21)

Background Information for the Teacher:

For this lesson on seeds, there are many concepts the teacher should be familiar with before teaching the lesson.

    1. There are three parts of a lima bean: skin (seed coat), embryo (tiny plant), and cotyledon (food).
    2. Each bean has a small white spot where the seed was once attached to the plant it came from.
    3. The seed coat or skin protects what is inside.
    4. The embryo or tiny plant is inside the bean’s seed coat. This is the part of the bean that will grow into a big plant when the seed is put in the soil and watered.
    5. The cotyledon provides food for the tiny plant.

Concepts Covered in the Lesson:

"There are three parts of a seed."

"A bean or seed consists of a seed coat, an embryo, and a cotyledon."

"The embryo is the tiny plant protected by the seed coat."

"The embryo will grow into a big plant when the seed is put in soil and

watered."

"The cotyledon is the food for the embryo."

(AL Science, Grade 3, Concept 21)

Materials and Equipment:

*One dry lima bean per student

*One wet lima bean per student

*One paper towel per student

*One copy of "Big Bean" per student

*One copy of each "Inside a Seed" per student

*Dry-erase board and marker

*One Plant Journal per student

Procedure:

  1. Have the students sit on the floor. Explain to the students that they will be exploring plant seeds during this lesson. Ask the following questions to the class and write the children’s responses on the dry-erase board:
  2. *"What do you know about seeds?"

    *"What are the different parts that make up a seed?"

    *"How might water change the seed?" (Think color, size, texture, etc.)

    The children will make predictions about how water effects seeds.

  3. Draw a seed on the dry-erase board. Look at the first page of "Inside a Seed" in the children’s plant journal. Include the labeling lines on your drawing. Ask the students what the parts of the plants are called. As they answer, write the names (seed coat, embryo, cotyledon) of the plant parts in the labeling lines.
  4. "Get your journals out of the cubbies and go back to your desks." Give the students both copies of "Inside a Seed." Tell them to put the sheets in their plant folder and open to the first "Inside a Seed" page. "Fill in the labeling blanks on this page and then set your folder aside/out of the way."
  5. Hand out a paper towel, one dry lima bean, and one wet lima bean to each child. Tell the students to follow the directions on the second "Inside a Seed" page. The children will be describing, measuring, and drawing the seeds according to the worksheet’s directions. Tell the class to complete the page, except for the job descriptions at the bottom of the page. They will be completing this part after the colloquium. Allow the students 15-20 minutes to work on the worksheet and then explore the parts of the seed. Encourage them to tear the seeds apart, look inside, identify the parts, and think of questions for the class discussion.
  6. Colloquium (Bring the students to sit on the floor): The teacher will engage the students in a discussion using the following questions. The teacher will record the student’s answers on a dry-erase board.
  1. What did you observe?
  2. How do these seeds differ from each other?
  3. How do the two seeds look, feel, smell, etc.?
  4. What are the purposes of the different parts?

I expect the students to respond to these questions by describing what they observed during the dissection of both seeds. As the students continue describing what they saw, the teacher will introduce the parts of the plant again. The teacher will say, "You heard me use the word embryo. Does anyone know what that word means?" Next the teacher will say, "An embryo is the part of the seed that grows into a tiny plant. A cotyledon is the plant’s food source. The seed coat acts like skin for the seed. It is the outer layer of the seed that encloses the important parts inside." By the end of this discussion, the students should have answered their own questions (with the teacher having guided their ideas in the correct direction) about the jobs of the parts of the plant.

  1. Move the children back to their desks. They will clean up all the seed pieces

and paper towels at this time. Once all desks are cleared, ask the students to

get their Plant Journals out and put them on their desks. "Open your journals

to the second ‘Inside a Seed’ worksheet you were working on. I want each of

you to complete the bottom of the page by writing the jobs of the three seed parts on the lines given. Just tell what each part does. When you are finished put your journal back in your cubby and sit back in your seat."

Assessment:

The teacher will hand each student a copy of "Big Bean." This sheet will serve as an assessment but will be put in the Plant Journal after being checked by the teacher. The students will be expected to fill in each blank with the correct answer. Each part of the seed has two blanks, one for labeling and one for a job description. Remind the students to put their names on their papers before handing them in to the teacher.

Useful Internet Resources:

http://www.lessonplanspage.com/index.html

This Internet site is a lesson plan about seed germination. In the lesson, different groups of students plant different types of seeds to observe the best soil for seed germination. I would suggest using this type of lesson in a classroom following a lesson on seeds.

Science Process Skills:

Observing, communicating, measuring, and inferring (AL Science, grade 3, Concept 21)

Reflection of Parts of a Seed

I feel that the lesson titled Parts of a Seed went very well when I taught it to Mrs. Hines class. The children were very receptive and enthusiastic about our activities. I began the lesson with the students sitting on the floor. I asked them what they know about seeds and how water might change the seed. The students assumed that water would make no difference in the size and color of the seed. I guided them through a discussion about seeds. It helped that I had pre-planned a few questions that I could ask. Otherwise, the discussion would not have gone as smoothly as it did. At this point, we went over the parts of a seed. Each child has a Plant Journal with a seed to be labeled. The students answered their sheet and returned to their desks. I considered this the first part of the lesson and it all went well. My students participated in the discussion beautifully and were enthusiastic about what was to come.

Once the students were back at their desks, I handed out the worksheet "Inside a Seed: Part 2" and instructed the students to put it in their Plant Journal. Then I handed out a paper towel, a wet lima bean, and a dry lima bean. I could have used some help when handing out all the supplies. The process took and long time and the students got restless. It might have helped to have one student hand out the paper towels and another student pass out the dry lima beans. The wet lima beans are best if passed out by the teacher. The worksheet in the students’ journals has instructions about what to do with the wet and dry beans. They are to describe, trace, measure, and draw the beans on the paper. This part of the lesson went smoothly. My students followed instructions with ease. After completing the worksheet, I told the children to tear open the beans and explore what’s inside. They were to attempt to understand the job of the parts of the seed. I do not know if I made these directions very clear because most of the students were not looking for the parts of the seed once they tore it open. I had to go around the room asking them individually if they saw each part. This could have gone much better but in the end all the students saw each part of the seed.

In the next part of the lesson I pulled the children to the floor for the colloquium discussion. I asked the questions and the students answered and discussed. I wanted the students to answer their own questions but the discussion was primarily teacher-led. I had questions pre-planned incase this occurred but I really tried to promote their leading the discussion. We talked about what they saw and the job of each part of the seed. I feel like the pre-planned questions were good in helping guide the discussion in the direction I wanted. If I were to teach this lesson again, I would give the students more time to answer their own questions and lead the discussion.

For an assessment exercise, the children were sent back to their desks, asked to clean up the bean/seed bits, and given a blank seed with labels for them to fill in. Their instructions were to label each part of the seed and tell what was its functioning job. This page was taken up at the end of the lesson so I could see how much they learned. I debated about taking up this worksheet but decided to so the children will know that I am interested in seeing their progress. Hopefully this aspect will encourage them to do their best work.

In looking back at this lesson I feel very good about it. There were a few areas that could have gone smoother but I spent a lot of time planning out the procedure steps and I feel they went well. I mentioned the discussion could have been more student-led but this might vary according to the students. I would definitely teach this lesson again.