How Plants Reproduce

Contributor: Roxann Penny. Lesson ID: 12770

"Mighty oaks from little acorns grow." That saying says a lot about plant reproduction. Exactly how do those tiny seeds produce big plants? Watch a plant grow really fast, then grow one yourself!

categories

Earth Science

subject
Science
learning style
Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Otter
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio:

How do baby plants grow? Here's a sneak peek:

Seed germination to growth time lapse by Niel Bromhall:

Plants, like animals, reproduce; that means they make new plants.

Doing this ensures that plant species do not become extinct. Extinction is used to describe something that no longer exists, like dinosaurs. Most plants begin their life cycle from a seed. This process is called germination.

Seeds have many shapes and sizes. For example, some seeds are small and oval in shape, like a pear seed, while others are round and smooth like the seed from an avocado.

You should also know that not all plants produce seeds. Some plants produce spores, which in turn create new plants. Spores need moist, shady areas to grow and produce new plants. Sometimes, you can see a plant's spores beneath its leaves. Take a look at the image below. How are spores different from seeds?

plant spores

If you examine the inside of a seed under a microscope, you will find an embryo and an endosperm.

  • The embryo is a tiny plant inside the seed.
  • The endosperm is small leaves that provide food for the embryo.

Both the embryo and the endosperm are protected by the seed coat, the outer layer of a seed. Look closely at the following image. Can you identify the seed coat, the embryo, and the endosperm?

seed anatomy

In order to grow, or germinate, seeds must have the right temperature, moisture, and oxygen. Once these conditions are all in place, the tiny plant inside the seed (the embryo) will begin to grow larger and larger. As the new plant grows, it pushes through the outer layer (the seed coat), and eventually the new plant makes its way out of the soil. Look at the image below. Describe what is happening in the picture with each of the eight plants shown:

seedling

Now, take a few minutes to look at the following SciShow Kids presentation, How Does A Seed Become a Plant? In it, you will learn what seeds need to grow. As you watch the video, listen carefully to learn how seeds know when it's time to start growing. Also, look out for the following terms:

  • germination
  • seed coat
  • dormant
  • embryo

 

Now you know that seeds need energy to grow into new plants. People, like plants, also need energy to grow and live.

  • Can you think about any other similarities between what seeds need to grow and what you need to grow?

Take a few minutes to read and discuss the following questions with your parent or teacher:

  • Why is germination important?
  • What would happen to the Earth's environment if seeds did not germinate, or if they remained dormant?
  • Do you think people could live on Earth without seeds or plants?

Once you have completed your discussion questions, continue to Got It? to test your understanding of how seeds germinate by answering a few questions.

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