National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix
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The Seed Match
K - 2
1–2 hours per activity divided over 2 days
Students will investigate where food comes from, the parts of plants that we eat, and the difference between fruits and vegetables. Activities include examining food plants and their seeds, reading and discussing the book Tops and Bottoms, and completing activity sheets.
- The Seed Match activity sheet
- Crayons or colored pencils
- Paper plates and paper towels
- Cutting utensil (for instructor only)
- Food plants for investigation (1 of each per student or pair of students): peanut (in the shell), small squash, apple, bell pepper, strawberry, kiwi, wheat (available for purchase), and an edamame pod (found most often in the freezer section at local grocers)
- Tops & Bottoms by Janet Stevens
- Where Do They Grow? activity sheet
- Crayons or colored pencils
Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)
fruit: the part of a plant that develops from the flower and contains the seeds of the plant
vegetable: an edible part of a plant that does not contain the seed
Did you know? (Ag Facts)
- 90% of the plants on Earth are flowering plants.1
- Flowering plants produce fruits.1
- Seeds can stay dormant for a long time; the oldest known seed to sprout was more than a thousand years old.1
Background Agricultural Connections
Interest Approach – Engagement
- Ask students to tell you what some of their favorite fruits and vegetables are or to name some that they commonly eat. Write these on the board, and tell students that you will come back to them later.
- Next, ask if they can tell you where fruits and vegetables come from.
- Tell students that they’re going to see Big Bird find out where fruit and vegetables come from. Show the video Sesame Street: Big Bird Visits a Farm (3:48 min).
- Use some or all of the following questions to discuss the video:
- Where do fruits and vegetables come from? (plants grown on farms)
- Do fruits and vegetables just grow on farms? (no, farmers have to plant seeds that will grow into the plants that produce fruits and vegetables)
- What kinds of things do you think farmers do after planting seeds to make sure that their fruits and vegetables grow well and make it to market? (water the seeds, water the growing plants, provide nutrients from compost or fertilizer, remove the weeds that compete for sunlight, harvest the fruits and vegetables when they are ready, etc.)
Activity 1: The Seed Match
Instructor’s Note: In preparation for this activity, obtain enough food plants to give each student or pair of students one of each of the following: peanut (in the shell), small squash, apple, bell pepper, strawberry, kiwi, wheat (available for purchase), and an edamame pod (found most often in the freezer section at local grocers). Do not cut them open until the students have made their preliminary seed predictions. It is also recommended that teachers give each student a paper towel and a paper plate to be used when the seeds are removed. The activity can be completed in one day if you have already collected and dried enough seeds to be glued on the activity sheet in advance.
- Give each student a copy of The Seed Match activity sheet and one of each of the food plants shown on the activity sheet.
- Have them examine their food plants. Ask them to predict what the seeds will look like on the inside. Some students will recognize that the strawberry and the wheat have seeds that are visible from the outside.
- Students should color the pictures of the food plants and draw a picture of what they predict the seeds will look like in the top right hand corner of the box.
- Have them guess how many seeds are on the inside/outside of the food plant. This question can be simplified for younger students by asking if there will be many or few seeds, or greater than or less than a certain number. The predicted number can be written either in the square or on a separate sheet of paper.
- When the predictions are complete, have the students remove the seeds (cut open the squash for them). Allow them to examine their findings and determine if their predictions were accurate. The seeds from their findings should be placed on the paper plate and labeled so that they can be dried.
- When the seeds are dry, instruct students to paste them in the box of the plant that matches the seed.
Activity 2: Where Do They Grow?
- Read the book Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens with your students.
- Review the background information from this lesson with your students and then review the crops that Hare grew in the book.
- Have the students identify the parts of the plant that Hare’s family was able to eat.
- Have the students identify the different things that Hare’s family had to do to grow their crops.
- Draw a two-column list on the board, and label one side “Fruits” and the other side “Vegetables.” Remind students that a fruit is defined as the part of a plant that contains the seed, and a vegetable is defined as any edible part of a plant that does not contain the seed.
- Have the students identify whether each item from the list of favorite fruits and vegetables that they made during the engagement activity is a fruit or vegetable according to the definitions you provided.
- Optional: Use the What is a Fruit? What is a Vegetable? bulletin board to further discuss the difference between fruits and vegetables.
- Introduce the Where Do They Grow? activity sheet to students. Have them color the pictures.
- Have the students determine where each of the vegetables pictured on the activity sheet grows, either above or below the soil. Students should cut out the crops and glue them in the correct location using the farmer’s soil line.
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation
After conducting these activities, review and summarize the following key concepts:
- Fruits and vegetables come from plants grown on farms.
- Farmers plant seeds, water and weed the plants that grow, harvest the fruits and vegetables, and send them to the market where we can buy them to eat.
- A fruit is the part of a plant that contains the seed.
- A vegetable is an edible part of a plant that does not contain the seed.
- We eat many different parts of plants, some of which grow above ground and some of which grow below ground.
Connect this seed lesson to math by reading Bean Thirteen by Matthew Mcelligott to your students. This funny story about bugs and beans combines well with math lessons on prime numbers and division.
Use the hands-on activities in the Nuts About Peanuts! lesson plan to further explore the parts of living things and other life science concepts.
Suggested Companion Resources
- Sprouting Success (Activity)
- A Seed in Need: A First Look at the Plant Cycle (Book)
- A Seed is Sleepy (Book)
- Anno's Magic Seeds (Book)
- How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? (Book)
- Spill the Beans and Pass the Peanuts (Book)
- Sunflower House (Book)
- Tops & Bottoms (Book)
- Vegetable Garden (Book)
- Farming in a Glove (Kit)
- Living Necklace Kits (Kit)
- What is a Fruit? What is a Vegetable? (Poster, Map, Infographic)
- Grow it Again (Teacher Reference)
Agricultural Literacy Outcomes
Culture, Society, Economy & Geography
- Discuss what a farmer does (T5.K-2.a)
- Trace the sources of agricultural products (plant or animal) used daily (T5.K-2.f)
Education Content Standards
1-LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
1-LS1-2Read texts and use media to determine patterns in behavior of parents and offspring that help offspring survive.
K-LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
K-LS1-1Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
Common Core Connections
Reading: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix (2013) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.