Hi GEMs! Zack here.
I want to share a lesson with you that I learned at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center last summer and shared with my classes with great success several weeks ago. The lesson is called “Make a Seed” and it is a creative and engaging project that teaches lessons about seed dispersal. Essentially, students will learn about different methods of seed dispersal, read a book about how seeds travel, and then make their own ‘seed’, with it’s own unique method of dispersal, out of scrap materials.
The lesson is heavy on materials, but it’s a good motivation to stock up on random art supplies that you can use for many lessons in the future. I went to Art Essentials downtown and Art from Scrap and purchased a wide variety of fun/colorful craft materials including:
I also purchased:
We began the lesson by talking about different methods of seed dispersal and giving examples of each. I explained that just like people have different forms of transportation, and different animals have different ways of moving around, seeds have unique adaptations that serve to help them travel to places where they’re likely to sprout and grow. I had made cards, each with the name of a seed dispersal method, an example plant, and a picture, the night before; I passed these around during the lesson. The different methods of seed dispersal we discussed were wind dispersal, floating on water, catching in an animal’s fur, being eaten and dispersed in an animals’ droppings, exploding out of a seed pod, or falling to the ground. Each of these had a couple examples.
The second part of the lesson was a book that illustrated different forms of seed travel. One of the lead teachers read this book to the students and discussed the concepts with them.
The third part of the lesson was the seed making. Students were able to create a seed with any kind of dispersal method they liked. The teachers and I supervised, gave suggestions, and asked students about their seeds. The seeds were wonderful and extremely imaginative! There were many raft-seeds that floated, some plane or parachute seeds, some rolling seeds, many seeds that stuck to animals, and others. Perhaps the most imaginative was a plant that, if I remember correctly, spit out rainbow colored water which animals drank and were hypnotized into carrying the seeds.
My wonderful lead teachers had the idea to make this lesson into an exhibit at the science fair by testing out the various seed designs to see if they would actually work as they were designed to. They created a fantastic display, and when I attended the Monroe science fair I saw a lot of our students crowding around to read the display. This was a good opportunity to speak to Monroe parents and teachers, as the display provided a great visual aid. I also left s’Cool Gardens promotional cards and my business cards by the display.
This is a really fun lesson and I highly recommend it! It requires a good amount of materials, but these can be pretty random and the lesson doesn’t require a lot of preparation beyond research and getting supplies.
While doing research for the lesson, I found another lesson with pretty simple materials and instructions, so if you’d like to do a lesson on this subject but would rather not deal with all the materials, you can find that lesson here: