The Evolution of Seed Pods

In this activity, students explore how the development of seed pods protect the seeds and ensure the survival of the plant species.

By exploring a variety of seeds and seed pods and creating a seed of their own, students understand the benefits that the development of pods have for plants’ survival. 



Prior to the activity, the teacher obtains a variety of seeds and seed pods. The teacher also creates large leaves out of construction paper and string that will become the pods protecting the students’ seeds. 


The student will:

  1. Examine seeds and seed pods both tactually and with magnification if possible.
  2. Split open seed pods and examine the seeds inside the pod noting how they are attached to the pod. 
  3. Examine some leaves, noting the feel of the vein structure and the shapes. 
  4. Examine the construction paper leaf noting the string forming the veins.  
  5. Using glue or tape attach beads to the edges of the leaf at the end of each vein. 
  6. students doing pea pod activity
  7. Note what happens to the beads as the leaf is shaken and the seeds fall.   Did the seeds necessarily fall where they could receive needed nutrients to grow?
  8. Reposition the seeds on to the leaf, then carefully fold the leaf in half enclosing the beads/seeds and tape the pod shut. 
  9. Notice how the shape of the folded leaf actually is very similar to the shape of the pods already on the tray. 
students doing pea pod activity
Two students at their desk examining pea pods
student looking at pea pod
Student examining pea pod with a magnifying glass


Here is an article about seed pod evolution: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4070412/.

If tape or glue are difficult for a student to use independently, use of adhesive foam shapes are readily attached to the construction paper leaves. Also, the leaves can be made as large as possible to help students who who find it difficult to manipulate small items, such as beads.

NGSS Standards:

LS4.B: Natural Selection

LS4.C: Adaptation

By Kate Fraser

Collage of the evolution of seed pods

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