Learning about seeds is an accessible and fascinating starting point for any school garden inquiry. Gardens depend on seeds, and learning how seeds travel can deepen a child’s understanding and appreciation for plant life cycles. In British Columbia there are many ways we can use these books from Kindergarten through to grade 7 to learn about seeds and plants.
Curricular Connections to How Seeds Travel
In Kindergarten, students are learning about basic adaptations of plants. How seeds travel is a wonderful entry to the complex idea of adaptations. In grade one, students are learning that living things have features and behaviours that help them survive. Looking at the wide variety of seed coats and seed designs are a meaningful way to begin this conversation! In grade two, as children begin to learn about life cycles, seeds (and how they travel) is an important lesson these books can introduce. In grade three the concept of biodiversity in introduced. Understanding the many ways seeds travel can help children begin to understand the importance of biodiversity. In grade four, students explore the idea that living thing sense and respond to their environment. A deeper inquiry into how seeds travel would be a suitable for kids this age to explore. In grade five, students begin to understand concepts of interconnectedness and the First People’s understandings that everything in our environment in connected. Seeds depend on this interconnectedness to travel. In grade six, laws of motion and forces of gravity are explored. Taking children outdoors to explore the real world implications of motion and gravity on seed travel would be valuable learning! In grade seven, evolution and natural selection become part of the scientific conversation that children are having. How seeds travel has a place in these broad scientific explorations.
Here are my favourite books for broadening and supporting inquiry into seed travel (and the connected content from our BC science curriculum). I’ve provided links to Amazon for your shopping convenience along with description of the book from the Amazon site. Simply click on the image of the book or the title to start your shopping.
By Dianna Aston. Loaded with facts about seeds, a good introduction to any inquiry of seeds with thorough coverage of how seeds travel. “Poetic in voice and elegant in design, the book introduces children to a fascinating array of seed and plant facts, making it perfect reading material at home or in the classroom.”
By JoAnn Early Macken. A wonderfully illustrated book about the many ways seeds travel. “A gust of wind lifes a maple seed, sending it spinning like a shiny green helicopter throught the sky. Where wil it land? From splashing away in a raindrop to scurrying with scampering squirrels to hitching rides on your sleeves and socks, seeds have many ingenious ways to traveling to new laces, growing roots, and beginning the cycle again.”
By Jean Richards. Practical and informative. “Many seeds travel inside fruits. The fruit is like a suitcase for the seeds. It protects them on their trip. Readers will learn how fruits are designed to protect a plant’s seeds and also to help the plant spread its seeds to new places.”
By Elaine Pascoe. Not reliably available on Amazon. I’ve had better luck finding this book in our library. Its a good look at the different ways various kinds of seeds are carried from place to place and how they find good places to grow.
By Eliza Wheeler. “Miss Maple gathers lost seeds that haven’t yet found a place to sprout. She takes them on field trips to explore places to grow. In her cozy maple tree house, she nurtures them; keeping them safe and warm until it’s time for them to find roots of their own, and grow into the magnificent plants they’re destined to become.”
By Barbara Cooney. If you don’t already have this in your collection of forever books, you need to order it right now! So many lessons about life, and the world, and how one person can make the world a better place. “Alice Rumphius, who longed to travel the world, live in a house by the sea, and do something to make the world more beautiful, has a timeless quality that resonates with each new generation. The countless lupines that bloom along the coast of Maine are the legacy of the real Miss Rumphius, the Lupine Lady, who scattered lupine seeds everywhere she went.”
By Kathryn O. Galbraith. Possibly my favourite of the bunch! Beautifully written to facilitate conversations and wonderings from children. “A farmer and her son plant vegetables in their garden, and the wind carries a few seeds away. Birds and animals may carry some along with them on their travels. Sometimes the rain washes them away to a new and unexpected location. And sometimes something more extraordinary occurs, as in when the pods of the Scotch Broom plant open explosively in the summer heat, scattering seed everywhere like popcorn. Year-round, we all play a role in the dispersal of seeds throughout our landscape, planting the wild garden together.”
By Eric Carle. A classic you are likely to find in your school library. “Carried aloft by the autumn wind, the tiny seed, along with other bigger seeds, travels far over the world. the journey is perilous: one of the bigger seeds is burned by the sun; another falls into the ocean; still another is eaten by a bird. Even after those that are left have landed on fertile ground and begun to grow, danger is near: one small plant is stepped on; one little flower is picked; but the tiny seed keeps growing almost unnoticed. Young readers will cheer at the happy outcome of this exciting tale. And they will long remember the heartening message of the tiny seed’s steadfast perserverance in the face of many hazards and obstacles until its final joyful success.”
By Cindy Jenson-Elliot. In my opinion, one of the best books for helping children understand that weeds have a purpose and that plants are only “weeds” if they are growing in places we don’t want to them to! “From bright yellow dandelions popping through cracks in sidewalks to purple loosestrife growing rampant along roadways, weeds offer unexpected splashes of color and life to the least likely of places. With lovely language and a sly sense of humor, this beautiful picture book celebrates the tenacious temperaments of these pesky plants”
By Jerry Pallotta. An excellent look at the interconnected role animals have in helping seeds travel. “From the apple seeds falling off the sticky fur of a black bear to the pine seed carried by an army of ants marching to their anthill, creatures great and creatures small participate in nature’s cyclical dance in the planting of a tree.”
Please do message me if you have another favourite that I’ve missed! In the meantime, come join me on Pinterest for more ideas on growing and learning with kids in school gardens: