- Students will be able to identify the primary parts of a seed and the function of each part in the plant’s early development.
Tools & Materials
- Resealable bags
- Mason jars
- Paper towels
- Scalpel or razor blade
Few would argue that the best way to understand a natural process is to simply watch it unfold in real time. At first glance, a dormant seed may not seem like it would offer much in the way of wonder or amazement but there is far more potential trapped in a little seed than most know.
Start with your seed variety of choice. Larger seeds work better so consider something in the squash, bean, or pea family. Pre-soak the seeds overnight in a mason jar using dechlorinated water. Pre-soaking the seeds will initiate the enzymatic activity of the seed allowing it to break dormancy and begin germination.
Transfer the pre-soaked seeds to a paper towel and place inside a resealable plastic bag for observation. Are any of the five primary parts of the seed visible to the naked eye? Which ones and what are their roles?
Dissect one of the pre-soaked seeds using the scalpel or razor blade each day. How many parts can be seen? How many days does it take for all five of the primary parts to become visible?
Continue the process until the sample of seeds is gone or until they shed their seed coat naturally revealing all five primary parts. Keep the bag sealed, opening only to remove a single seed each day for dissection and analysis. If the paper towel begins to dry simply add a little dechlorinated water to restore its moisture level to damp but not dripping.
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