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Science Misconception: Are Seeds Living or Nonliving?
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Science Area:  Life Sciences

Misconception:

 

Seeds are not living things. 

 

Facts:

- Seeds are living.  Seeds use small amounts of stored
                                    energy to stay alive and are "waiting" for good conditions to begin to grow.  Most seeds need as such as water and certain temperatures to begin to grow.  

Explanation: 

 

Students may not classify seeds as living things because they are not actively displaying characteristics of living things.    Seeds are living things!  Seeds contain an embryo that is capable of germinating to produce a new plant. 

 

Suggested Activity:

“Seeds and Pebbles”

For each group of children you will need lima beans, small pebbles similar in size to the lima beans, water, containers that you can see through, tooth picks and magnifying glasses.  Steps to follow:

 

  1. Show children both the lima beans and the pebbles.
  2. Ask the children which one is living and which one is not.
  3. Have the children sort the lima beans and pebbles.
  4. Place lima beans in one container with water and pebbles in another with water
  5. Observe the changes between the lima beans and the pebbles.
  6. Overnight the lima beans will be larger, they will have absorbed water.  Their skins may have popped and they will feel soft.   The pebbles should remain unchanged.
  7. From there, each child can use a tooth pick to peel the outer skin off of the bean and open up the lima bean.
  8. Explain that each half of the open seed is called a cotyledon.
  9. Look for a tiny plant inside the bean.
  10. Have children list differences observed between the pebbles and the beans.

 

Source:  Levenson, Elaine.  Teaching Children About Life and Earth Sciences.  TAB Books (Division of McGraw-Hill).  New York. 1994.  p. 149-150.