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Seed to Food Match-up

In this activity, students will match common food from the grocery store with the seeds that produce that food.

Students will gain a deeper understanding of the life cycle of their food as they learn about the plants they rely on as food.  

All plants start as a seed.

Seeds contain all the nutrition and information needed for the rest of the plant’s growth. When pollinators move pollen from one plant to another it is called cross-pollination. Many plants rely on cross-pollination to develop seeds; without pollinators, some plants would be unable to reproduce and soon go extinct! After flowers are pollinated, the ovules or eggs are fertilized. The ovules will develop into seeds and become the beginning for the next generation.

Many people can easily identify the name of the plant-based food they eat, but it is a greater challenge to identify what the seeds that produce the particular food look like.

Working in groups, students will discover that this challenge is achievable through critical thinking and discussion.

Objectives

  • Study different aspects of the life cycle of plants.

Materials

  • Per Class or Group:
    8-10 pictures of everyday foods (Use samples of real plants when/if possible.)
    1 seed per food (e.g. Tomato, peanut, pea, zucchini/cucumber, watermelon, lettuce, beet, onion, lentil, wheat.)
    1 tray per seed type

    Teacher Tip: If working with younger students, separate and put the seeds in plastic baggies so that they are not accidentally dropped or mixed.

Key Questions

  • Have you ever grown any of these plants from seed?
  • Have you ever seen any of these seeds before?
  • How did you figure out the ones you were uncertain about?

What To Do

Preparation

  1. Choose foods that are easily recognizable, but with a range of difficulty matching the food with the seed. Include only a couple of challenging pairs to ensure that the group can have a chance at matching most seeds with the foods. For example, tomato and pumpkin will be easier to match, but radishes and lettuce will be more difficult to match with their corresponding seeds.
  2. Place one seed in each tray. Position all the trays and the pictures on a table, in no particular order.

Challenge

  1. Have students observe the different seeds, and as a group, have them match up the seeds with the corresponding food we eat.
  2. Have them discuss amongst themselves until they are all certain they have a match.

Extensions

  • Plant the seeds and watch the plants grow through their entire life cycle.
  • Try the same activity with matching the food we eat with pictures of the plant that it comes from.
  • Visit the UBC Farm through their Farm Wonders program.