Seed Dispersal Mini-Lesson

Objective: Students will learn that plants disperse their seeds in different ways.

Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Reading Level: Upper Elementary

Teacher Background

As all gardeners know, a patch of bare soil never stays bare for long. Within days, seedlings start to spring up, and if the conditions MORE

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Print or Project

  1. A Visual Overview: Show the slideshow of photos to your class. Each has a descriptive caption and kid-friendly copy for your students to read. (Please note that there is also more extensive teacher note copy just for you.)
  2. Creative Caption Review: Once you've been through the slideshow for an overview, go back through it again. This time ask students to explain why the captions do (or do not!) work. (Example: Is the "Hitching a Ride" caption a good one to describe the fruit of the Common burdock plant? Why or why not?)

Click the thumbnail slides below to see the captions and kid-friendly copy up close.

  1. Continue the Conversation: Ask students if they have ever blown on dandelion seeds to spread them in the wind. Did the fruits separate from the plant easily? Have they ever heard of the tradition of making a wish before the blow? Probe to see if students can think of any other plant seeds that travel in the wind. Be sure to talk about the shape of "helicopter" maple seeds.
  2. Write about it: Tell students to list three plants on a sheet of paper: the dandelion, lotus, and rose plants. Then ask them to write a brief description about what is special about the shape of the fruit and seed of each plant that helps the seeds get spread. You might want to discuss the idea of cause and effect. For example, the columbine seeds are lightweight, so it's easy for the wind to shake them loose from their seed heads.

Extension Activities

Reinforcements: These worksheets will be useful as you further develop your teaching unit. The Word Power worksheet will give your students vocabulary practice with key terms from this mini-lesson and the related activity will help reinforce key concepts on plants.


Word Power Vocabulary
Grade: 4 - 6
Students practice vocabulary relevant to seed dispersal by using each defined word in a sentence.



Go, Seeds, Go!
Grade: 3
Try a printable science activity that focuses on modes of seed travel.



Excerpted from:

Eyewitness: Plant

Find stunning photographs of plants from the seed to flower, and learn their fascinating differences and features. © 2008 DK, a division of Penguin Group (UK) Inc.

Receive 20% off your DK purchase with promo code DKCLIP.


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