How Do Seeds Travel?
Somebody should figure it out. Why not you?
November 5 , 1993
What You Need:
- a variety of seeds
- hand lens
- tub of water
- pieces of cloth or fur
- measuring tape
What To Do:
- 1. Examine each seed with hand lens. Note any features you think would boost (or limit) its mobility. For instance, does it look like it might stick to something?
2. Make a prediction about how each seed travels.
3. Put your predictions to the following tests:
A. The Wind Test
- Stand fan on chair at edge of desk so center of fan is aligned with desktop. Hold each seed 10 cm above and 10 cm in front of blowing fan. Let go. Record how far it travels. Repeat for each seed.
B. The Hitchhiker Test
- Press seeds onto different test materials/fur to see if they stick. Record your observations.
C. The Water Test
- Drop seeds one at a time into tub of water and stir. Record your observations.
- What characteristics do the seeds that passed each test have in common? Is any one travel trick "better" than the others? Will all methods work equally well in all environments? How might the ability to travel in more than one way benefit a seed?
Don't Stop Now!
- Invent a whole new method of seed dispersal. Try it out on a real seed.
"Plant" the mud collected on your shoes or a pet's pays to see what grows.