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MIsprouts Learn: What’s Inside A Seed?

Written by – Kaitlynn from MIgardener 

My goal with this series is to make accessible material for parents who want to teach their kids about gardening from the ground up. These guides will consist of a short reading section about a gardening subject, followed by ideas for projects and experiments that can be performed at home to make the concepts more concrete for the kiddos! I hope they can be a source of fun for you and your family.  

Read aloud: Close your eyes and think about how your favorite fruit looks. Which one did you think about? Did you know that all fruits and vegetables come from tiny pebbly things called seeds?  From the outside, a seed might not look very impressive. On the inside, though, seeds are made up of some fantastic stuff that creates more food for us to eat every year.

How does something as small as a seed do that? Today we are going to learn more about what’s inside a seed.

Three parts of a seed:

1. Seed Coat

The outside layer of the seed is called the seed coat. The seed coat protects the seed and keeps it from drying out. There are chemicals in the seed coat that can sense when the seed is in the perfect place to start growing! Kind of like an alarm clock for the baby plant inside. Another word for when the seed starts growing is sprouting.

parts of beans

 

2. Embryo

The embryo is a fancy word for the baby plant that is hiding inside every seed. Each embryo has a tiny foot and even smaller leaves that will someday form the sprout! Embryos are always waiting for the seed coat to tell them when it’s the right time to wake up and start growing.

parts of a seed

 

3. Food Storage

Every plant needs food to grow! Once a plant grows big enough, the leaves create food from the energy of the sun (more on that next week). But when the baby plant is still inside the seed, it gets stronger by eating the plant food that sits all around it. Scientists named this plant food the food store.  Once the seed coat tells the embryo that it’s time to sprout, the embryo starts to grow and eats up its snacks to get stronger!

parts of a seed

 

 

Project: See Inside a Bean Seed

bean seed

You’ll Need:

Large beans (Kidney, pinto, lima, etc.)

Water

Magnifying Glass

Recording sheet

For this project, soak the beans for 12-24 hours depending on their size. You’ll need one or two beans per child. Follow the instructions from this post. Remove the seed coat and split the bean in half to find the embryo. Have each child draw a picture of the outside and inside of their seed, locating and naming each part. For older kiddos who want more in-depth vocabulary learning, print off these cards and sort the parts of the beans for each section.

This is an easy hands-on project for any age group. For more options for crafts and experiments for this lesson, follow our MIsprouts Pinterest page.

I hope this post was helpful! Please leave me some feedback in the comments on Facebook to let me know if any changes can be made to posts like these in the future!

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Main sources:

SciShow Kids

MIgardener

in the garden

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