Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Seeds

Lesson 2 of Apologia's Exploring Creation with Botany text (entitled, "Seeds") is just that -- all the information you could want to know about seeds.  We took our time with this one.
 As with every lesson, we used the Apologia Junior Botany Notebooking Journal to record all that we learned. 
We had previously studied seeds in one of our FIAR (Five in a Row) book studies, Miss Rumphius.  That post can be found at http://homeschoolingmom2mags.blogspot.com/2014/02/miss-rumphius.html, but here are four pictures from that post that would go along with this lesson.

Maggie's lapbook about seeds ...
... and a seed catalog we made.  (We used an accordion-style book purchased in the scrapbooking section of the craft store.)
 Stretched out, it had different seeds attached, with the names and pictures of what each seed would grow into.  (Just click on the aforementioned link to see more that we did with seeds for that study.)
To start off this study, we read Seeds! Seeds! Seeds! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace ...
... A Seed Is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston ...
... The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! Oh Say Can You Seed? by Bonnie Worth ...
... and From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons.
After our books, we went to our text to read that seeds are baby plants in dormancy.  We learned that the baby plant itself is called an embryo and that the outer shell, or coat, of a seed is called the testa.  Here, Mags is investigating the testa of a sunflower seed.
 Where the seed was attached to the mother plant is called the hilum.  It's the seed's belly button!  Maggie though this was hilarious.  You can see the hilum on each of these seeds (sunflower and green bean) below.
The testa of this walnut is very strong!
 After reading about more of a seed's anatomy, we decided to soak some bean seeds in some very warm water to soften the testa.  Then, we would be able to dissect and investigate each.
 We left the seeds in the water for a little over thirty minutes.  Maggie giggled that there were bubbles coming out of each seed's hilum (AKA: belly button)!
 Once soaked, we removed them from the cup of water and noticed that the testa of each was soft and wrinkly.  (The water that each seed absorbed helped to detach the testa.  This is why seeds need water to germinate.)
 Once the testa was removed, the cotyledons separated easily.
 In the center, you can see the seed's plumule (the first true leaves of the plant).
After dissection, we used our Plant Adaptations science photo cards to learn about a very large seed ...
... the coconut!  It is the seed of a palm tree, with a brown and "furry" testa, which grows into a new plant if it is able to reach land.
We continued to read in our text about germination and monocotyledons (monocots) and dicotyledons (dicots).  We recorded this information in her notebooking journal.
After all that reading, it was time for a film!  We watched The Magic School Bus "Goes to Seed" episode, about seeds.
 You can watch the same on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFdV7aj8E-k (below).
But what would happen to sprouted seeds that lost their access to light and water?  We decided to find out using an idea we found in this 501 Science Experiments book ("Growing Sprouts," #126).
I purchased a large bag of alfalfa seed through Amazon.  (It is tough to find in stores.)
Then, we soaked the seeds overnight in water.  (By the next day, most of them had already sprouted.)
 We carefully removed the seeds from the water and laid them to the side.
 Then, we took the end of a pantyhose (cut at the toe with just enough material to cover our jar) and a rubber band to make a firm drum at the top of the jar.  We then placed our sprouted seeds on top, away from water.
 Once our seeds were placed, we put the jar in a dark cabinet.  Within a few days, we noticed that without light or water, our seeds stopped growing.
We read more about seeds in Usborne's Science with Plants book (we will use this again later with this curriculum) ...
... and School Zone's Seeds & Plants by Diane C. Ohanesian.  (This has fun little puzzles throughout to reinforce what we are learning from the text.)
We continued to journal ...
 ... and Maggie even designed her own testa (on the left, page 34).
 I challenged her to make a "Germination Animation" flip book to show a seed germinating into a plant so her images would appear to move when flipped through quickly.  She loved this challenge and did a great job on it!  We attached it to her journal.
Next, it was time for the "Germination" project outlined in the text (pages 29-30).  For our project, we used turnip seeds.  (Maggie loves turnips!)
 They are so small and reminded us of the basil seeds we planted in our last lesson.
 Using three separate Ziploc bags, with a wet paper towel in each, we sprinkled some turnip seeds onto each towel and sealed the bags closed.  We then labeled the bags "Light Bag" (for the seeds that would be in the window), "Fridge Bag" (for the ones that were going into the refrigerator), and "Closet Bag," for the ones that would go into the darkened closet. This would give us seeds with (1) full light and warmth, (2) seeds with neither light nor warmth, and (3) seeds with just warmth and no light, respectively.  We were eager to see what the seeds would do.  Maggie hypothesized in her journal that the seeds in the window and the fridge would sprout and grow (hmm ...) and that the seeds in the closet would not grow.
 We placed our light bag in our sunniest window.
 Each day for 10 days, we took each bag away from its keeping place and measured its seeds' growth in centimeters.
After ten days, the seeds in the "Fridge Bag" had JUST started to sprout.
The seeds in the "Closet Bag" had very long roots by Day 10 (9 centimeters, in fact).
But the "Light Bag" had not only roots but green leaves!
These seeds looked the healthiest!  We concluded that seeds need both warmth and sunlight to be productive (and water, of course).  We also noted that sunlight had something to do with the greenness of plants.  Interesting.  (We will investigate this concept further in a later lesson.)
 We removed our tiny turnip plants carefully from each bag and transferred them into a pot.
 Hopefully, with some TLC, we'll get turnips!
All of our measurements and notes from the experiment went into her journal (pages 35-36).
We continued our reading about seeds in Usborne's Starting Point Science book (Volume 1).
Then it was time to take a little field trip to our local botanical garden to identify some monocots and dicots.  (She had to find three of each kind.)  Here, Maggie is drawing her first dicot, a pansy.
You can tell it is a dicot because it has petals in multiples of four or five.
 The second dicot she spotted was this snapdragon.  (Its leaves are another indicator that it is a dicot, with a clear midrib in the center of the leaf, with veins that branch out from the midrib.)
 The first monocot she spotted was this papyrus plant.  (Its leaves form veins that run up and down the leaf.  There is no true midrib.)
 Her final dicot was this azalea.  (Again, you can see it has petals in multiples of four or five and leaves with a definite midrib.)
 Her second monocot was this daffodil.  It has petals in multiples of three (this specimen has six petals) and no midrib in its leaves.
 Her final monocot was very common ... grass!  She drew each of these six examples in her journal and we pasted smaller versions of these same pictures that I took of each, next to her drawings.
 For more seed fun, we took a box of shade wildflower seed mix and planted it in some shady areas of our yard.
 Can't wait to see if they sprout!
We made another small seed collection on page 39 of her journal (right).  She chose seven seed types (pear, basil, apple, green bean, turnip, sunflower, and summer squash) and we made envelopes for each and placed them inside.
She reviewed the parts of a seed on pages 42-43 of her journal.
We love the minibooks!
We then set out to learn about some interesting seeds.  Out of our January 2017 issue of Highlights magazine, we read about the interesting helicopter-like seeds of the sugar-maple ("Little Twirling Trees," page 12) ...
... and we read about rafflesia, mistletoe, and squawroots, tricky seeds in Usborne's Mysteries & Marvels of Nature, ("Plant Intruders," pages 90-91).
We also read about some plants that don't necessarily start out as seeds in our Giant Science Resource Book by Evan-Moor, page 22 (the piggyback plant, jade plant, and strawberry plant).
We finished our work in our journal ...
... before we did one last thing with seeds.  We decided to do a "seedy sock walk," walking through grass with a pair of Daddy's white socks on over her shoes.
 Once home, we carefully removed her shoes and used our magnifying glass to investigate.
 What did we find?  Seeds!  Seeds are everywhere!
We printed these pictures for her journal before we called it a wrap on Lesson 2.
Next up?  "Flowers" with Lesson 3!  Stay tuned!

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