Is this thing Dead? JACs Investigates: The Secret life of a Seed

Posted by: Barton Mills Jr Allotment Club

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Barton Mills Jr Allotment Club


We could hardly contain the excitement everyone was experiencing as they came into the classroom. Today was the day to see how “growing” gets started. We layed the classroom out with our supplies and started investigating. We gave everyone a dry pea seed, a 24 hours soaked pea seed, a 3-day soaked pea seed, a hand-held magnifying glass , and a sheet of paper. It makes it feel more official!

 We started with the dry seed first. So we asked, “Is it dead or is it dormant?”

The first answer we hear is, “definitely dead!” We responded by asking, “Then how do you think this happened?” Opening our hands to reveal a pea pod that had been soaked for 24 hours and comparing it to the dried one.  Does it look dead now? 

If you look really closely, the secret will be revealed. Using our magnifying glasses we spot a very small, teenie, tiny hole called the micropyle.   This micropyle lets water get in and starts things up. It was the water that made the seed wake up and begin its journey.

 Looking at the 3-day soaked seed, we could see that it had swelled so that the outer shell or coat sheds and the seed begins to split in half. There a very small shoot appears near the micropyle.  These are actually the roots of the plant forming. They will begin to dig in to the soil to supply the seed with nutrients.  The shoot is hidden.

 We split the seed in half to show everyone the center of the operation. Deep inside the pea, we asked everyone to stop and draw what they see. There, in the middle of the seed and on the papers of the kids, appeared a small bean shaped nucleus, called the hilum. The hilum is like the umbilical cord on people. The place on a seed that was attached to the plant. The brains of the operation are stored here. This will send out the stem and the leaves and the fruits. It is the central system of the seed.

 As the seed continues to become established, it will push up through the Earth until it reaches the surface. This will allow the pea seed to continue to combine the soil nutrients with the suns nutrients and feeding the hilum, becoming a primary producer.  Primarily plants are called this because they use energy of the sun and soil instead of eating food.

Our group concluded that the seed was not dead after all, it was dormant. Patiently awaiting waters arrival. 


Next month we are on the site for soil testing. What are we working with?

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