Children simply adore the study of seeds. Nothing speaks to energy and new growth quite like a seed and the potential life inside. Sequoias Class has begun learning all about seeds even if it is long distance. This post will take you through the sequence of seed presentations and works for the Early Childhood classroom. Look forward to the second installment as our studies continue.
#1 SOAKING & DISSECTING BEANS
In the Montessori environment we always first introduce the real thing and then move to further abstraction of study. In order to study seeds we will soak many large bean seeds in a bowl of water so we can explore them later. It takes several hours, or even overnight for the beans to be ready. When we are teaching in a classroom we don't want to soak too many or they will go to waste or start to really stink. We try to soak only as many as we think will be used in a day. Typically a child who takes this work from the shelf after a presentation will dissect 4-5 seeds on their own.
|soaking beans in a sunny window|
Once the outside (testa) of the seeds are supple and the seed is swollen they are ready to be dissected and explored. The guide (teacher) will invite a student, or small group of children (no more than 3) to observe this presentation.
For this presentation you will need -A paper towel folded, tweezers, beans that have been soaking in a small bowl until supple a tray to hold all the items, and a paper with parts of the beans glued as in the example photo:
|Dissecting Seeds Presentation Tray|
Dissecting Seeds Presentation
*Lay a vinyl mat or hand towel down on the table.
*Go to the shelf and retrieve the bowl of beans which have been soaking for several hours or overnight.
*Place the bowl of soaking beans at the top left corner of the table.
*Remove one seed and place on the mat.
*Say, "This is a seed. This seed has been soaking in water for several hours. I can see that this seed has gotten plump with water. See how much bigger it is?"
*Point to the hilum of the seed and say, "This is the hilum of the seed. It is where the bean was attached to the seed pod."
*Point to the micropyle of the seed and say, "This is the micropyle. It is a small opening in the seed."
*Without speaking remove the testa (seed coat) very carefully from the bean. Trying to keep it as intact as possible.
*Point to the testa and say, "This is the testa of the seed. It is like a coat for the seed. It helps to protect what is inside."
*Peel apart the two cotyledons of the bean seed being careful of the embryo inside.
*Point to the cotyledons and say, "These are called the cotyledons. They will give the new plant the food it needs to grow."
* Point to the embryo still attached to the cotyledon and say, "This is the embryo of the seed. It is the baby plant." (sometimes it is really helpful to have a red water soluble marker to mark the embryo with so the child can discern it from the rest of the plant)
*Carefully break off the radicle and say, "This is the radicle. It will grow into the root of the plant."
* Carefully take off the epicotyl and say, "This is the epicotyl. It will grow into the stems and leaves of the plant."
*For older and more advanced students who can write: Demonstrate creating a sheet with the parts of the seed glued and labeled. It will take at least two seeds to create this work.
*Place the unused been seed parts into the compost. Demonstrate how to clean up all of the pieces and return to the tray. Then place the tray back on the shelf.
*Let the child(ren) know they may use this work whenever they choose now. Ask if they would like to work with this work.
PARTS OF THE SEED PUZZLE
|Growing Process Parts of Puzzles|
PARTS OF THE SEED NOMENCLATURE CARDS
|Seed Nomenclature Cards Laid Out with Booklet|
|Early Childhood Parts of the Seed Nomenclature Cards|
click on image for link to file
PARTS OF THE SEED BOOKLETS
|Early Childhood Parts of the Seed Booklet Blackline Master|
click on image for link to file
GERMINATING A SEEDChildren love to watch a seed germinate outside of the soil so they can really understand what is going on. In this little experiment the child has the opportunity to set up their own seed germinating factory. Use dicot seed if possible, such as a bean or pea for this work.
|Germinating a Seed Tray|
DOCUMENTING SEED GERMINATION AND GROWTH
|My Seed Growth Diary|
Click on image for link to file