Our Wonderful World by Emery Lewis Howe is a rich nature study book available for free download covering backyard neighbors, feathered friends, garden life, four-footed comrades, and the earth and its neighbors. By covering one chapter a week, there are 32 weeks worth of lessons. Enjoy the complete series!
We are in the third section of the book, Garden Life, covering plants in 12 lessons including how plants grow, flowers, roots, stems, leaves, wildflowers, pollination, trees, seeds, and wheat/bread. This week we’ll cover seed anatomy; and next week how seeds travel.
- Review pollination.
- Add a page in your notebook for each of the plants mentioned: white bean (haricot), tomato, potato, spruce tree, pecan tree, filbert, chestnut, and Brazil nut.
- Observe a bean plant growing and note the various stages mentioned in the lesson (or if you are in a hurry, watch the time lapse video below).
- Plant and observe a tomato plant growing. Note the various stages mentioned in the lesson (or if you are in a hurry, watch the time lapse video below).
- Cut and cross-section a green tomato and a ripe, red tomato. Notice the difference in their seeds.
- Plant and observe a corn plant growing. Note the various stages mentioned in the lesson (or if you are in a hurry, watch the time lapse video below).
- Plant a potato from an “eye.”
- Can you find the twin seed “cradles” of the maple tree?
- Examine the elm tree “cradle.”
- Compare and contrast the maple tree and elm tree cradles.
- View the brown cradles of the oak (acorns).
- Examine an apple cross-section.
- Read a little about the Brazil nut and see its odd seed cradle arrangement.
- Make a list of the different seed homes discussed. What others can you add?
- When arranging your seed collection in the first activity, read Seed Art for inspiration!
- Activity 2: The author gave a hint as to the reason nuts have hard shells near the bottom of pg. 201. Can you guess?
- For the third activity, read about the strawberry, red raspberry and currant.
- If you don’t have a pin cherry seed available for the fourth activity, you can read a description at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
- Finally, this article on how to grow roses from seed will help you describe a rose seed home for the last activity.
- Read and copy Matthew 13:31, 32 or Genesis 8:22.
- More about seed homes and nuts from the Book of Knowledge:
A seed consists of an embryo plant, a food supply to keep this little plant alive until it starts making its own food, and a protective covering…. [T]he embryo plant results from the processes of pollination and fertilization that took place in the flower. Seeds develop inside fruits.
There are fruits that contain just one seed, such as the olive, cherry, peach and avocado. Most nuts, acorns, and the various grains such as wheat, corn, oats, rice and rye are one-seeded fruits that we refer to as seeds because the “fruit” part is only a tight skin or shell around the seed, and fruit and seed could hardly be distinguished.
When the fruit of a tree or a shrub is inclosed in a bony, woody or leathery covering that does not open when ripe, it is commonly called a nut. Some people, indeed, live almost entirely on nuts.
Nuts differ very much in their formation, and fruits like the walnut and chestnut, which have a thick outer covering that has to be removed before what we call the nutshell is exposed, are really at a stage between a stone fruit, like the plum, and a nut that has its shell exposed, like the filbert.
“How Plants Spread Their Seeds” & “The Natural History of a Nut,” The Book of Knowledge
Ready to go outdoors? The Handbook of Nature Study covers plants beginning on page 453, and continuing through page 731. The beginning pages cover how to begin the study of plants and their flowers, and then follow guidelines for investigating specific wildflowers, weeds, garden flowers, cultivated crop plants, trees, and flowerless plants.
Time lapse of bush bean growing.
Time lapse of tomato plant growing.
Time lapse of corn plant growing.
Parts of a Seed
Apple Seed Anatomy
Learn about seeds and what is inside them.
Seed Structure and Anatomy
Technical information and wonderful diagrams for all.
Fruits and Seeds
Showing the different types of seed home arrangements.
Case 3: Is it Dust, Dirt, Dandruff or a Seed?
Interactive exploration of the anatomy of a seed from the University of Illinois Great Plant Escape.
Starting Tomatoes from Seed
Maple Seed Helicopters
Is there anyone that hasn’t done this? From NASA.
Exploring Science and Design with a Maple Seed
From biology and physics, to calculus and computer science, to aerodynamics and astronomy. Who knew you could learn so much with a maple seed?
The World of Plants by Dinah Zike
Dinah Zike was known for her foldables before lapbooks became popular. In this book she incorporates that learning tool with learning about plants. Includes 24 complete lessons including templates, activities, the scientific method and suggestions for further activities and research. You’ll find the table of contents and an example lesson at the publisher’s website. A lessons on conifers and seeds are included.
Units & Lesson Plans
Inside a Seed
Simple lesson plan for dissecting a lima bean seed to see what is inside.
Seeds: Thematic Unit
Six lessons in this 4-page download exploring everything about seeds.
Lessons for the older student including seed dissection from the University of Arizona.
Excellent 32-page download from the Wisconsin Fast Plants Program that includes step-by-step plans for planting and charting plant growth. Includes journal activities, discussion questions and charts.
The Trellis and the Seed
A unit study from Homeschool Share based on the book of the same name.
Plant Growth Monitoring
Instructions and charts for observing plant growth.
Dissection Lab Sheet
For recording observations when dissecting a lima bean seed (see Units & Lesson Plans above).