Grade Levels: K - 3
This lesson is for a primary science class. During the lesson, students will learn classification by sorting seeds into categories based on appearance. The students will recognize similarities and differences in seeds, use a table graphic organizer to classify objects, and use their senses to describe an object.
Ask students to bring in a piece of fruit that has definable seeds for a snack. Recall students' knowledge of the parts of the fruit (outer covering, flesh, seeds, and so on).
Have students eat their piece of fruit, put the seeds into a plastic bag, and label the bag. You may want to supplement the seed selection by bringing in various fruits, such as pears, peaches, plums, watermelon, cantaloupe, and so on. You will need enough seeds so that each group of two or three students has a set of all the seeds. If having students bring in enough fruit is a problem, you could pick up packages of seeds from the garden store to supplement.
Show the students a single bag of seeds from the same fruit, such as the seeds of a watermelon. Ask the class to brainstorm as many words as they can to describe the seeds of the watermelon. You may need to prompt them by asking about the shape, color, texture, or size of the seed.
Ask each child to pick one seed. Have them record on an index card words that describe their seed just like the class did with the watermelon seed. Once they have written as many words as possible, ask a few students to share their list with the class.
Ask the students if any of the seeds have characteristics that are similar. Tape the bags of seeds that are similar to the blackboard. Ask the students to describe how this group is similar. Give a category name to this group, such as "black seed." Write the name next to the bags. Continue asking for similar groups of seeds and descriptive categories until all the seeds are classified.
Use the overhead projector (or computer presentation with MS Word and tables) to show a classification chart graphic organizer. Show the students how to transfer their classification of the groups of seeds to the graphic organizer.
Here's an example of what the chart might look like:
Black seeds White seeds Brown seeds Apple Orange Plum Watermelon Cantaloupe Peach Pear
Give each group of two or three students a blank chart graphic organizer and a set of bags, each containing seeds from one fruit.
Ask the students to come up with a different system of grouping the seeds repeating the process that the class followed. Once they have their bags of seeds grouped on their desk, they should transfer the seed names and categories to the graphic organizer.
Evaluate the categories and items the students classified. Ask students to write a paragraph describing how seeds can be classified. They should defend the categories, using the distinguishing features of the seeds, such as size, color, shape, and texture. The students should use classification terms, such as features, category, similarities, and differences.