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Pre-K Lesson Plan: How do Seeds Move?

Our co-op preschool is in full swing again. That means every 5 weeks I’ll be posting my lesson plan. This year’s charge is to find a way to incorporate the outdoors AND the Montessori method. Here is what I came up with this week.

Note:  Fall is the perfect time to be out searching for seeds. The kids loved it! Also note that this activity took me two days. One day we did the walk (“field work”), the next day we did the sorting (“lab work”).

Objective:
To introduce the concept of how seeds travel (disperse), have a good excuse to get outside and explore, and practice sorting and categorization skills.

Materials:
Bags (1 for each child, for collecting seeds)
Old socks (to walk around outside and attract seeds)
Egg cartons (1 for each child, for sorting seeds)
Touch Box (box full of seeds you have previously collected)
Worksheet about how seeds travel (see below)
Glue, tape, markers.
Book: The Tiny Seed by Eric Carl.

Introduction:
1. Read The Tiny Seed by Eric Carl.
2. Discuss: Do seeds move? How do they move? Do they have little legs? How far do they go? What would it be like to be a seed? etc…
3. Explain to the kids that today we are going to be scientists; we’re going to try and find seeds and figure out how they move.

Touch box:
Show the kids a box full of seeds that you’ve collected beforehand. Let them touch and play with the seeds. The point of the box is to let them interact with seeds, get an idea of what they look like and make their own observations and assumptions about seeds. Note: I found the biggest variety of seeds at city parks and shopping center parking lots.

Seed Walk:
1. Make sure the kids have come prepared with sturdy shoes, a hat and/or sunscreen.
2. Give each kid a bag for collecting their seeds.
3. Walk around the neighborhood, look for and collect as many different seeds as they can (they only need a few of each type).
4. If possible, find a field or vacant lot with lots of ‘weeds’. Let kids take turns waking through the field with the large socks on over their shoes, have the kids collect the seeds stuck to the socks and put them in their bag. Note: Also works to send your dog running through the field, they will come back with all sorts of stuff stuck to their fur. It’s the perfect example.
5. Help kids make observations while in the field and/or on the walk. Examples:

Do you see an ant hill? What are the ants carrying?
Are their birds in the trees? What do you suppose they’re doing?
Do you see squirrels? What are they looking for?
Are there any seeds blowing on the breeze? etc…

Sorting Activity
1. Give each child an egg carton.
2. Have the child dump the contents of the bag into the top ‘tray’ portion of the carton (photo above).
3. Encourage kids to sort the seeds based on color, shape, size etc.
4. Once the seeds are sorted it’s time to figure out how each of the seeds move. I created a sheet (photo to the right) that allows them to categorize even further. Since it’s preschool, I limited the categories to blown by the wind, floats on the water, eaten by animals and carried on fur. Depending on the age level you can also add stored by animals, have wings, exploding seeds, etc.
5. Go through each different type of seed and conduct experiments. Examples:

If you blow on it, does it fly thought the air?
If we put it in this cup of water, does it float? For how long?
Does this look like a animal would want to eat it? How do animals spread seeds by eating them? (popular answer: poop).
Did this one stick to the socks, or to your clothes? What would happen if an animal walked through that field then traveled over the hill?

Glue/tape the seeds in the appropriate box on the worksheet.

Closing:
Re-cap what you’ve learned about seeds. Encourage kids to look for seeds around their homes and neighborhoods.

12 Comments so far

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  1. I want to be in your co-op. I knew that ours was lame, but this just confirms it. Last time I taught, we learned about the difference between coniferous and deciduous trees and a few Moms wondered why I taught this and then questioned the safety of taking this many kids for a walk…ARGH! Well, now I know what I’m teaching in a few weeks – seed dispersal. Okay if I copy you? Love the lesson!

    • Bring the Kids – Copy away! And for the record, I’m the only one focusing on nature in our group too. It’s an eclectic group of Moms so everyone does something different, which is fine, since my child is indoctrinated with nature anyway. I like the coniferous deciduous idea, I might need to steel that!

  2. mary

    …and you must include a reading of the story Mrs. Rumphius.

    • Mary – I have to admit, I’ve never heard of that book. I did however just put it on hold at the library, sounds fabulous. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. You rock. I’m totally doing this with my crew and any kids I can snag to join in. If only we could pick things at the Arboretum we’d really have a heyday with the seeds…

    • MamaBee – Good! They will love it. I bet you’ll have a ton of seeds. Once I started looking I was actually really surprised at how many we found. Let me know how it goes!

  4. Love the tactile sensory learning. Great way to teach “What do things need to be alive?” concept. AWESOME site!

    • Susan – Ahhh, “tactile sensory learning”. I knew it had to have a fancy name! Is “what do things need to be alive” part of the kindergarten curriculum?

  5. C. Wilson

    Nice Job!

    • C. Wilson – Thanks. I bet you guys could find a ton of seeds in your fabulous yard!

  6. Ildiko

    Hi there,

    I’m writing an assignment and was searching for pictures. I love, love the colors of those seeds. Your lesson is also age appropriate and fun. I wish you post more great ideas.
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Emily

    thank you for this lesson! I teach a Garden-to-Table curriculum (in an emergent curriculum preschool) so I’m always looking for new ideas on lessons! I taught last week how to make Peace Flags to blow in the wind in our garden since it is fall and things are dying, and it’s nice to have some color in the garden — but also, I taught a little lesson about wind dispersal, since it was a VERY windy day…this week, I want us to hang up the flags, but also continue with the seed dispersal conversation, but since I had taught about wind dispersal already, I needed another idea for this age with other dispersals. I love the idea of the gluing onto a worksheet and sorting! Hopefully we can find enough seeds to do some sorting – our school is in the middle of the city…so our garden is where most of the seeds come from, unfortunately

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