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Science in a seed

How do seeds become plants?

Seeds are small packets that contain everything necessary for germination. Once the seed germinates and breaks through the soil surface, the machinery is in place to collect sunlight and convert carbon dioxide into food for the plant to allow it to grow.

In this unit, students dissect a seed and determine the conditions necessary for a seed to germinate from seed to plant.


Teacher background

Some plants can reproduce asexually, or by producing clones. Many other plants produce seeds through sexual reproduction. For these plants, survival depends on germination of seeds and viability of young plants. If a seed germinates in the wrong place or at the wrong time – then life is over for that individual. In this lab, student groups will design and conduct experiments on seed germination to explore the effects of abiotic and biotic factors on plant survival. Plants require certain factors to grow successfully. They need abiotic factors such as water, light, nutrients, a substrate to grow in, and often a suitable temperature. If these are not optimal for a plant, then its ability to germinate and grow can be reduced. They can also be affected by biotic factors such as the age of the seed, predation or mold growth.

Next gen standards

Science and engineering practices

  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Crosscutting concepts

  • Cause and effect
  • Systems and system models
  • Energy and matter

Disciplinary core ideas/content

  • ESS3C Human impacts on Earth systems
  • LS1A Structure and Function
  • LS1B Growth and development of organisms
  • LS1D Information processing
  • LS2C Ecosystem dynamics, functioning and resilience
  • LS4C Adaptation


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