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The Seed Story

Plants appear quite stationary. Their roots firmly planted in the ground, they cannot pick up and move to a sunnier site or find water, but plants do get around. How do plants come to cover new islands or the median strips of some freeways?Â

Seed dispersal.

Most seeds have special adaptations that enable them to fly, float, roll,

scatter, or ride far away from their parent plants.Â

*Why would it be advantageous for seeds to travel?* If all seeds simply fell to the ground and stayed beneath their parent plants, most would crowd each other, competing for light, space, water,

and nutrients. If disease, disaster, or a predator struck, more of the plant population would be decimated if it was concentrated in one area.

*Key Idea: Seed dissemination enables plants to maintain their population, expand their range, or change the location of their range in response to environmental change.

Your Task, Think like a plant...                            and design a successful seed!

The Process 1. Research seed dispersal methods using the website links below. 2. Choose a dispersal method--or combine a few!-- and design a seed. 3. Choose a project style and create your presentation--be sure to include both elements in the rubric, an understanding of seed dispersal methods and a clear, well thought out seed design. ➡ Make a model and present orally. ➡ Create a poster with a labeled scale drawing. ➡ Write a detailed and descriptive essay. ➡ Another idea? Come talk to me!                • • • • • • •

For wind dispersed seeds Seed dispersal more seed dispersal--with tiny videos! another site on seed dispersal Seed dispersal outline with photos Nova--The seedy side of plants Exploding seeds--very cool video!


Not there yet



Seed dispersal methods

Discussion of seed dispersal methods is unclear or not present.

Discussion of seed dispersal methods is clear.

Discussion of seed dispersal methods is clear and includes how seed dispersal adds to a plant始s success.

Seed design

Seed design is not detailed and it is unclear what seed dispersal methods are being utilized.

Seed design is detailed and clearly utilizes one or more seed dispersal method.

Seed design is detailed, clearly utilizing one or more seed dispersal method and includes discussion on how this design will increase this plant始s success.


Little care was taken in the creation of this project

Project is neatly created and presented

Project is well planned and executed


The inventor of Velcro ripped cockleburs from his dog's fur. Da Vinci and the Wright brothers studied birds in flight and today a rising number of designers are looking to nature to nurture their creativity.  Tapping into 3.8 million years of R&D (research and design) and some 10 million species for insight, companies as diverse as Boeing, Ford, General Electric, HP, IBM, Nike and Patagonia are collaborating with the original source and welcoming biologists to the design lab. 

Do you have a question? Look at the world around you, wonder why and how. You may find the answer in nature.

For Teachers For grades 6-12. Oregon State Benchmark: SC.CM.LS.04.03, Explain how biological evolution can account for the diversity of species over time.

Goals: Demonstrate how sexual selection drives evolution. Understand how evolution acts on individuals and populations. Objectives: TLW understand the different methods of seed dispersal. TLW demonstrate how the different methods of seed dispersal increase a plant's ability to be successful.  TLW communicate information to others in a clear, interesting way. Thank you to Terrain for schools for the idea and background information. See Terrain for schools lesson plan for more activity ideas.

The Seed Story  

A webquest for middle or high school students investigating seeds and how plants relocate and spread.

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