The Arboretum for Educators
Resources for Teachers, Students, and Families
What is a Seed?
Simply put, a seed is potential new life; it is the next generation of living plants. Seeds are found inside fruits. Botanically speaking, a ‘fruit’ is the structure of the plant that holds the seed, and ‘fruit’ is only used when talking about angiosperms, or the flowering plants. While gymnosperms, mostly the conifers, also produce seeds, they are generally found resting on the scales of cones. The following activities take advantage of the abundance of fruits and seeds so prevalent in the fall. Get your students involved outdoors while learning about the natural phenomenon of seed dispersal.

These experiments will add to student discoveries:
Students observe, sort, and classify a variety of seeds according to different properties, and then take a journey inside a bean seed to predict and observe changes that occur during seed germination.
Students learn about 6 different ways that seeds travel by going outside to find, observe and test many seed packages. They then sort and record their discoveries.
Students build on their understanding of seed dispersal strategies by focusing on seeds’ characteristics and dispersal efficacy. Using this knowledge, students are tasked with engineering novel ways to transport lima beans through the air, in water, and across land. 
Students consider the importance of seed dispersal when learning about land use. Aerial maps (New York maps included in lesson) provide an entry point to discussing how land use has changed over time, and what role seed dispersal may have in re-claiming land for forests, parks, and green spaces.
Bonus: Youth Activism Against Food Insecurity
Read about seed banks around the world. Then, meet 13-year-old Alicia Serratos to learn how she started a seed library in her school!
November Happenings
Share with students and their families!
Fairy House Construction
Sunday, 11/6, 1:00-2:30pm
Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum
Join us for a family hike as we build fairy houses! We will gather all kinds of leaves, twigs, sticks, berries, and whatever else we can find on the ground, and then go into the “forest” of the dawn redwoods to construct our fairy dwellings.
11th Annual Artwork Competition on Extreme Weather
For K-12 students
Deadline: 1/13
Cool Science is a free and public art competition held each fall for all K-12 artists. Cool Science is a collaboration between the UMass Lowell, UMass Boston, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, University of Kansas, and Kansas City Art Institute.
Please forward to other educators you know. Subscribe here to receive monthly Arboretum for Educators resource digests.