On their Fall Farm trip, the 8-9s explored the world of seed dispersal. During their nature studies classes with Annie, the students not only discovered seeds being released by a plant, they also discussed various ways the seeds are spread. The kids were quick to recognize the role that wind plays in spreading lighter seeds or seeds with their own built-in parachutes. But what about heavier seeds or those found inside a pod?
When thinking of the word pod, students made the link to a space pod that transports beings from place to place, or an iPod that enables the transport of music. So what will transport the seeds in an apple? “People can plant the seeds,” was offered by some students. “Animals will eat them and then poop them out!” suggested others. This was not only the correct answer, but also the most fun for the students to shout out.
While examining the seeds on a Goldenrod plant, the class tried their best to blow the seeds away. Most of the seeds stubbornly hung on. However, when the plant was dragged across a person’s sleeve, the seeds were quick to grab on and hitch a ride. One of the more interesting discoveries was the Burdock seed. These seeds are encased in a round pod with spines sticking out, giving the appearance of a porcupine egg, if such a hing existed. Upon a closer look, the kids saw that each spine had a little hook that enabled the pods to stick to one another or to an animal walking past. The class listened to the sound of two burdock seed pods being pulled apart. All were quick to recognize the Velcro-like sound it created. This, they learned, made perfect sense, as the invention of Velcro can be directly attributed to the Burdock plant. The class then continued their hike through field and forest, examining through the lens of seed dispersal how plants insure that there are more plants.