in Fall...Collect Them All!
Seeds in Fall...Collect Them All!
is actually five activities in one inquiry. In How Many Different
Kinds of Tree Seeds Can You Find at Your School?, students are introduced
to the term biodiversity while they collect seeds around their school.
In How Many Different Kinds of Tree Seeds Can You Find in Your Community?,
students collect tree seeds around their homes over a one-week period.
In What Kind of Seed Is It?, students identify collected seeds using
selected books and/or online resources. A class survey of seed varieties is used
to reinforce the concept of biodiversity. In What Is Dichotomous
Sorting?, students silently sort themselves into groups by attributes
as an introduction to dichotomous keying. In How Can You Use
Dichotomous Sorting to Classify Seeds?, student apply their knowledge
of attributes and dichotomous keying using the seeds they've collected
and identified. The Family Page
extends this learning to the community by inviting parents to facilitate home
seed collecting and dichotomous keying.
This inquiry is designed to be completed in September or October.
Week 1, Day 1: How Many
Different Kinds of Tree Seeds Can You Find at Your School? (45 min.)
- Copy a class
set of the Thinksheet, Data Sheet #1, and Family Page. (See Ready
- Walk your
school grounds and identify trees with seeds.
- Review Related
Resources and order library resources for next week's activities.
the activity to your students. "In this activity you will..."
- use seed attributes
(size, shape, color) to classify seeds
- use dichotomous
keying to classify seeds found around our school and your home
- hypothesize the
level of biodiversity for your community
- identify human
behaviors that have a positive impact on preserving seed and plant biodiversity
- Tell students
what behaviors you expect of them before, during, and after the lesson.
- scientific thinking
- respectful listening
- speaking in appropriate
- Explain how
this activity is grouped:
- a whole class
- home seed collecting
throughout this week
- classroom activities
using collected seeds next week
- Take students
on a seed collecting hike around the school. Pay special attention
to tree seeds. (future photo)
the term biodiversity. (See Background Information.)
- Distribute the
Thinksheet and give students a moment to
complete the "Think It Through" section.
- Review the
Online Tree Seed Tour as a class.
- Complete the
"Hypothesis" section of the Thinksheet.
the Data Sheet and discuss. Demonstrate how
to document seed collecting using a seed from the classroom hike.
- Remind students
to document seeds as soon as they find them.
the Family Page. Point out that the World
Wide Web address for the Online Tree Seed Tour is included to aid them in
identifying seeds at home.
- Review Cautions
for outdoor activities. (See Background Information.)
- Assign home
seed collecting to be completed within one week using the Data Sheet.
Week 1, Days 2 through
5: How Many Different Kinds of Tree Seeds Can You Find in Your Community?
- Students use
their Data Sheets to record seeds collected throughout the week.
Background Information (5 min. each day)
- Day 2: Share
Background Information on Types of Tree Seeds and
Seed Reproduction at the conducting of class before beginning other science
- Day 3: Share
Background Information on Seed Dispersal and Germination
at the beginning of class before conducting other science activities..
- Day 4: Share
Background Information on Seed Biodiversity and Seed
Bank at the beginning of class before conducting other science activities..
- Day 5: Share
Background Information on Plant Products and Conservation
to Preserve Biodiversity at the beginning of class before conducting other
science activities. Remind students to bring in their seeds for the next
2, Day 1: What Kind of Seed Is It? (45 min.)
- Gather the
following materials: calculators, miscellaneous seed/tree identification
books. (See Related Resources for examples.)
- Copy a class
set and make an overhead transparency of Data Sheet
#2. Note: Use this sheet for the first 10 seeds collected. If more than
10 varieties are collected, use the back of the data sheet (students) and
a clear plastic transparency (teacher).
- Decide how
you will manage seed identification resources.
- Bookmark the
Online Seed Tour for student use on
classroom and/or lab computers.
- Have students
share the seeds they collected in small groups.
- Revisit the
Online Tree Seed Tour (whole class or one computer per team). Identify
unknown seeds. Remind students to use their leaf samples as a guide
- Identify the
remaining unknown seeds using the collected library resources.
- Complete Data
Sheet #2 as a class and discuss.
the percent of the class that found each tree species (e.g., 5 of 20
students found sugar maple seeds. 5/20ths of the class = 25% who
found this species.). List this data on the Seeds In Fall...Data
Sheet #2. Note: Round decimal amounts to the nearest percent.
- Total the
number of different trees/seeds found by at least 5% of your students.
Compare this figure with the chart on page one of the Thinksheet.
- Complete the
"Make Some Sense of It" section of the Thinksheet.
- Instruct students
to keep their seeds and leaf samples at school through the end of the inquiry.
2, Day 2: What Is Dichotomous Sorting? (45 min.)
- Have students
stand at their desks.
- Ask the class
to silently split into two groups based on a common attribute
for each group. Stress that this must be done silently and that the
attribute must be lasting and observable (e.g., gym shoes vs. not gym shoes
is not acceptable because tomorrow your shoes can change). Note:
99% of the time this first sort will yield a boy group and a girl group.
- Record this
sort onto an overhead transparency of the Dichotomous People Sort Data Sheet.
- Ask each subgroup
to silently split again into two groups (creating a total
of four groups) based upon a lasting attribute.
- Record the
attributes onto the the overhead transparency of the Dichotomous People
Sort Data Sheet.
- Continue splitting
and recording subgroups until each student has a unique grouping. (See
example.) Students who finish sorting should return to their seats.
- Share the Dichotomous
People Sort Data Sheet with the class.
- Test the dichotomous
key (part 1).
- Have all
students stand up at their seats.
- Call out
the first attribute (e.g., fourth grade students in Mr. Shoe's class).
Students remain standing if this attribute applies to them.
- Trace a
path to a connected attribute (e.g., girls). Students remain standing
if this attribute applies to them. Note: Remind students who sit
down to remain seated even if a later attribute applies to them .
The key is designed to narrow to one individual through a series of
in this manner until you get to the last attribute in the series (e.g.,
Sara Nade). Only (Sara) should be standing. If anyone else
is standing, retrace the steps and find out why. In most cases,
other standing students didn't hear when a non-attribute was called.
Stress that (Sara) is the only person in the room with this unique set
of attributes (i.e., fourth grade student+girl+braces+freckles+pierced
the above steps several times. Be sure to demonstrate that dichotomous
keys also work backwards (this is a potential sixth grade proficiency
- Test the dichotomous
key (part 2).
- Call a student to the front of the room.
- Ask the class to help you use the dichotomous key to identify
this persons attributes two choices at a time (i.e., "Is this student
a girl or boy? Does this student have long or short hair?)
- Verify with the selected student that the correct keying path
was used on the key.
- Save your overhead
of the Dichotomous People Sort. It makes for a quick review of keying
at a later date.
Board Tip: Have a parent volunteer trace the transparency onto chart paper
to create a large version of the data sheet for classroom display.
2, Day 3: How Can You Use Dichotomous Sorting to Classify Seeds? (45 min.)
- Review yesterday's
Dichotomous People Sort activity so that students can connect this learning
to seed sorting.
- Share the Dichotomous
Seed Sort SAMPLE Data Sheet with students.
how to sort seeds using four seeds randomly collected from student seed
collections. Emphasize the use of attributes that will be lasting
(i.e., color, size, shape). Avoid using unusual attributes (i.e.,
scratches, cracks, missing pieces, etc.).
- Group students
into teams of four. Each team member contributes two seeds to make
a team collection of eight seeds. Teams sort their team collection
using the Dichotomous Seed Sort Data Sheet.
- Check seed
results as each team finishes. Early finishers can add seed art to
their Data Sheet.
- Have each team
"star" the bottom attribute for one of the seeds on their Data
Sheet and mix up their seeds.
- Rotate teams
and have them try to identify the seed with the "starred" attribute
for another team's seeds.
- Split teams
into paired groups. Repeat the above sorting activity using a new
Data Sheet with each student contributing four seeds to again create an
eight seed collection. Early finishers can begin a second sort of
eight new seeds or add seed art to their Data Sheet.
- Return students
to their seats to complete a final eight seed sort--individually.
Have students complete art with this Data Sheet. This will serve two
- It will create
a visually appealing work for display on a bulletin board.
- It will give you
a context for checking their attributes should you want a formative
assessment prior to the summative assessment(s).
- Check and/or collect
individual Data Sheets.
Note: Some students may
be unable to collect eight seeds. Rather than penalizing them, ask students
who collected multiple seeds of a certain variety to share extra seeds with
those who need some.
2, Day 4: PutItAllTogether
- Summarize the
- Biodiversity is
the quantity and quality of different living things in an area.
An area rich in biodiversity will have many different living things (i.e.,
plants, animals, fungi, etc.).
- According to our
class seed search, our area is rich/average/poor (choose one) in its tree
biodiversity. Discuss factors which may contribute to this result.
(See Background Information: Conservation to Preserve
- Dichotomous keys
are used to identify people, objects, etc., by their attributes.
- Seed banks hold
the seeds for future plant growth and future biodiversity of plant life.
- Humans must regulate
their use of plant products in order to conserve plant resources for the
students for appropriate behaviors during the lesson.
- Formative: anecdotal
notes of teams in progress, incidental questioning of students' rationale
for what they are doing (during activity), observation of teamwork, status
of the class (end of each unfinished activity day)
- Summative: Choose
one or more of the following (See Ready to Print):
- People Search (concept review)
- Online Assessment
- Check out Related
- Plant a native Ohio
tree species in honor of your students.
- Experiment with collected
seeds to see if they will germinate.