Seed Dissection – Sample Lab Report

Student examines seed with field microscope.

Teachers trying out the Growing Food with Hydroponics Seed Dissection activity may want to know more about this activity before using it with their students. This blog provides sample photos, discussion question answers, and data to help teachers see what they might expect when they run the Seed Dissection activity with their students. I’m including the seed diagram in the sample lab report, as it provides a good visual reference and introduction to terminology for students.

Line drawing shows Monocot and Dicot seed diagram with depiction of embryo, starch, leaves, cotyledon, and roots.

MATERIALS AND SET UP

The previous post, Growing Food with Hydroponics–Seed Dissection, features an image of the materials used for the Seed Dissection lab. Here are two photos that show how the digital microscope and digital calipers can be set up and used by students.

A digital microscope is connected to a laptop, which displays the image of themagnified corn seed live. Image credit: LFRuberg

The digital caliper displays the seed measurement in Metric or Imperial units. Image credit: LFRuberg

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Record answers to these questions below. Discuss them with your lab partner or teacher.
1. What is the name of the plant for each of the seeds? What is the plant used for?
SEED 1: BISTRO, Shelling Peas (Pisum sativum), SEED 2: [Organic] MOFGA Romaine Lettuce (Lactuca sativa), SEED 3: BLOODY BUTCHER Dry Corn (Zea mays), SEED 4: Hybrid Bicolor Sh2 Corn SOLSTICE F1 (Zea mays), and SEED 5: VNS YELLOW PEA Field Peas (Pisum sativum).
2. What are the differences seen between the different seeds?
These seeds differ in size, color, shape, and texture. The images taken with a digital microscope illustrate each seed’s main features and the differences between seeds.

3. What part of the seed do you think gives the plants its food to grow?    The starch.

4, What part of the seed might become a root, leaf, or other part of the plant?

The two types of pea seeds are similar in size and shape and structure. The seed embryo, cotyledon, leaves, and roots can be seen in the See d1 and 2 images below.

Image shows two types of pea seeds with seed embryo, cotyledon, roots, leaves, and seed coat visible.

Images of two types of corn seeds.

Seed 2 – Both of the Romaine Lettuce seeds have split seed coats; the plant root system is pushing out from the seed shell. The brief exposure to water, air, and warm temperature stimulated the start of germination. Image credit: LFRuberg

5. What do you think is the function of the hard outer coating?

The seed coat keeps the plant material inside protected from changing environmental conditions and prevents seed germination from starting until conditions are right.

6. How do you think soaking the seeds in water changed each type of seed?

Soaking the seeds in water softened the outer seed coat and allowed it to split open—letting germination begin and the new seedling to begin to form.

SEED CHARACTERSITICS CHART

Seed

Size Shape

Texture

Seed 1

5.9mm

round

smooth, wrinkled but less when wet

Seed 2

3.9mm by 1.4mm

elliptical, like a grain of rice

hard outer shell

Seed 3

12.2mm by 8.4mm

Triangular

Has a shiny, smooth outer skin

Seed 4

10.0mm by 13.2mm

Triangular

has a smooth shell with a white center

Seed 5

7.6mm

round

Smooth but fuzzy, not shiny

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