Free Nature Studies: How Seeds Find New Homes (Dispersal)

Free Nature Studies: How Seeds Find New Homes (Dispersal)

Free Nature Studies: How Seeds Find New Homes (Dispersal)

Read the current chapter online: “How Seeds Find New Homes”

Takeaway: Plants have many interesting and varying ways to spread their seeds!

  • After reading the lesson, try these narration prompts:
    • Why do seeds need a new home?
    • What are some of the different ways seeds find a new home?
  • Add a notebooking page for each of the plants mentioned in the lesson that we have not covered before:
  • You can read Henry David Thoreau’s description of witch hazel seeds dispersing in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, the September 21, 1859, entry.
  • Make a notebook page or flipbook for each of the different ways seeds find new homes (shooters, air sailors, water sailors, edible fruit, seed travelers, tramps or hitchhikers, and fire).  Draw, paste a picture of or list plants that fall into each category.  If you can find some of the seeds of these types of plants, they can be glued on the page.
  • Draw an illustration of ash seeds in your notebook on the ash tree page.
  • Draw an illustration of elm seeds in your notebook on the elm tree page.
  • Examine puncture weed seeds.
  • You can read about the fire and cones mentioned in The Rocky Mountain Wonderland by Enos A. Mills.
  • Read John 15:1-11.  You might also enjoy this free lesson on The True Vine from Calvary Chapel Children’s Ministry.
  • Read Galatians 5:22-26.  You might also enjoy this free lesson on The Fruit of the Spirit from Calvary Chapel Children’s Ministry.
  • Something to do #1: Take a seed walk!
  • Something to do #2: Add this suggestion to the narration prompts above.
  • Something to do #3: There are several Bible stories about seeds, such as the parable of the sower, the parable of the seed, and the parable of the mustard seed.
  • Something to do #4: You can read how squirrels and chipmunks help seeds get new homes by reading “Animal Seed Dispersal,” a chapter from A Year in the Wonderland of Trees.
  • Something to do #5: You can find out more about wildflowers by visiting Lesson XVI: A Field Daisy and Its Family.
  • Something to do #6: You could start a pizza garden instead.  Or if you are short on outdoor garden space, use this free indoor gardening unit from Home School Enrichment Magazine.
  • Something to do #7: If you prefer you can study positive character traits — one per month or so.  Younger children might enjoy this character study from
  • Memorize and recite Genesis 1:11,12.
  • Use Ecclesiastes 11:6 for copywork or dictation.
  • More about seeds from the Book of Knowledge:

    When you start a flower garden, you plant the seeds of the kinds of flowers you want.  The farmer plants seeds of corn and wheat, tomatoes and lettuce.  But how about the wild plants, the grass, the wildflowers and weeds, the big trees in the forest?  How do their seeds get planted?  How do plants spread their seeds so that almost every bit of the earth’s land surface that has enough moisture is covered with vegetation?

    Plants spread their seeds in many different ways. Some are blown about by the wind, some float on the water, some hitchhike rides on animals. Some plants even plant their own seeds, and some just let their seeds drop to the ground.

    A seed is a wonderful device that does two things: (1) it helps a plant to travel; (2) it protects the baby plant against enemies and bad weather until conditions are right for the young plant to start growing.

    You may object that plants do not travel; they take root in a spot and stay there. The old oak tree, of course, has to stay where it is. But every acorn contains a new small oak tree inside the shell. When strong winds blow and the acorns fall, some of them may hit projecting limbs on their way down and bounce many feet away from the parent tree. Squirrels may carry acorns some distance and bury them. If the squirrel fails to return for its buried food supply the acorn may grow into a new tree some distance away from the parent tree. And thus, while they are still very small babies, the oak trees do travel. So it is with most plants; they do their traveling while in the seed.

    “How Plants Spread Their Seeds” The Book of Knowledge

  • Plants
    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.  You’ll find seeds discussed throughout.  (For example, see the milkweed discussion in the wildflower section.)


Further Investigation

Seed Dispersal shows different methods and types of plants that use that method to disperse seeds.

Seeds and Seed Dispersal
Discussion for older students from Weber State University.

Is a Coconut a Fruit, Nut or Seed?
Interesting “mystery” from the Library of Congress.

Plant Structures: Seeds
The function, structure and growth of seeds at the Colorado State University Extension Center for older students.



Seed Dispersal
Interactive site at Birmingham Grid for Learning that shows examples of each method.

Gone With the Wind
An experiment from Science Buddies.

Maple Seed Helicopters
Is there anyone that hasn’t done this? Activity at 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? Activities at Indiana University.



The First Book of Plants {Free eBook}
Free public domain title that makes an excellent introduction to plants and can be used as a helpful plant study reference.

Little Wanderers by Margaret Warner Morley
Beautiful book for younger children covering the various ways seeds disperse.  Includes seeds that fly, float, cling, shoot out, and that animals eat.  In the public domain.

The Fly-aways and Other Seed Travelers by Francis Marion Fultz
A look at the fly-aways, sailors, jumpers, swimmers, and more!

Seed Dispersal by W. J. Beal
Short public domain work that discusses the different plants that disperse their seeds in various ways.


Unit Studies & Lesson Plans

How Seeds Get Here…And There
4-page download at the Missouri Botanical Garden with four seed dispersal activities.

Scattering Seeds
Lesson plan at for middle grades where students discover the seed dispersal method.

Parable of the Sower
Free lesson to go with the third activity at Calvary Chapel Children’s Ministry.


Printables & Notebooking Pages

Nature Journal Notebooking Sets {Free Download}
Free blank nature journal sets for drawing, illustrating, copying, or narrating.

How Seeds Find New Homes (Dispersal) Notebooking Pages
Simple pages that go with the lesson for copywork, narrations, and wrapping up.


Enjoy the complete series:

Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World