Lesson Plan

Seed Travelers

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Grade Level:
First Grade-Fifth Grade
Subject:
Biology: Plants, Botany, Ecology
Duration:
45 mintues
Group Size:
Up to 24 (4-8 breakout groups)
Setting:
outdoors
National/State Standards:
Colorado Science: 1st grade 2.2; 2nd grade 2.2; 4th grade 2.1, 2.3; 5th grade 2.1
Keywords:
seed dispersal, adaptations

Overview

Students will be able to explain various methods of seed dispersal and how animals and natural processes play a role in helping plants reproduce.

Objective(s)

Students will be able to explain various methods of seed dispersal and how animals and natural processes play a role in helping plants reproduce.

Background

Plants and animals need each other to exist. Animals depend on plants for food and shelter, and plants depend upon animals for obtaining nutrients from their waste products and help with seed dispersal. Many seeds are carried and dispersed by animals, catching a ride on fur or perhaps eaten as a seed, fruit, or berry. Often, in island ecosystems, birds are responsible for seed dispersal and carry the first plant life into those isolated places.

Plants also take advantage of natural processes to assist in seed dispersal. Wind and water are fundamental methods of seed transportation. Some plants develop elaborate structural designs in order to keep their seeds afloat for as long as possible.

Some plants, such as needle-and-thread grass (Stipa comata), have the ability to plant themselves. After a seed is blown free of its sheath, it falls to the ground. As the temperature and humidity changes, the long awn (thread part of the seed) will twist and untwist. The twisting motion will often bore it into the ground.

Explore Great Sand Dunes' web page on plants for more about the wide variety of plants in the park and preserve.

Materials

Socks (old fuzzy or cotton socks work well), small container or plastic baggies for seeds, Great Sand Dunes Plant Handbook (optional, PDF)

Best when timed for midsummer to late fall.

Procedure

Assessment

Discuss seed dispersal methods with your students. How many can they think of? Is it possible that plants and animals have coevolved? How do plants develop such fantastic structures for their seeds?

Vocabulary

coevolution, dispersal