Seeds and Sun

The children will experiment with sprouting seeds.

child holding a sprouted seed

Lesson Objective

The children will conduct an experiment to determine the importance that the Sun plays in growing seeds.


What You'll Need

  • Small resealable plastic bags – 2 per child
  • Watermelon seeds – 2 per child
  • Half sheets of paper towels – 2 per child
  • Small paper plates
  • Magnifying glasses – 1 per child
  • Masking tape
  • Marker

What To Do

Note: This experiment will take about 1 week to complete.
  1. Label the bags with the children’s names, two bags per child.
  2. Display the watermelon seeds and ask children about them (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
  3. Distribute two seeds on a plate and a magnifying glass to each child. Encourage the children to examine the seeds with a magnifying glass and have them describe what they notice about the seeds.
  4. Ask children if they know what a seed needs to grow (see Did You Know?).
  5. Explain to the children that they will be learning how the Sun affects seeds.
  6. Assist the children with placing one seed and a wet half sheet of paper towel into each of two bags. 
  7. Using tape, attach one of the bags to a sunny window. Seal the bags.
  8. Using tape, attach the other bag to the inside of a closet door or wall (or another dark location).
  9. Ask the children to make predictions about what will happen to the seeds.
  10. Check the seeds daily. Record the children’s observations.
  11. The seeds that were in the Sun will have germinated. The seeds that were in the closet will not have germinated.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Describe the seeds.
  • Tell me what you can do with seeds.
  • Tell me what you think seeds need to grow into a new plant.
  • Describe what you think will happen to the seeds in the window/in the closet.
  • Explain why you think one seed germinated and one did not.
  • Tell me what you think would happen if you used different seeds or different plants.
  • Explain why the Sun is needed for things to grow.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Try this same experiment using different types of seeds such as kidney beans, pumpkin seeds, peas, or other flower seeds.
  • Try planting the seedlings in some soil. Keep track of the plants’ progress.
  • Have children draw pictures showing what the plant looks like once it emerges from the soil. They could continue to document the plant’s growth over time.
  • Place the seeds and magnifying glasses on the science table for further exploration.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children make predictions about what would happen to the seeds?
  • Were children able to explain what happened to the seeds in each location and why?
  • Can the children talk about why the Sun is important to plant growth?


Did You Know?

Some plants begin life as tiny seeds. For these seeds to germinate, or sprout, certain conditions need to be present. All seeds need air, water, and warmth. The outside of all seeds have a seed coat that protects the tiny plant inside and keeps it from drying out. Moisture helps the seed coat to soften so the tiny plant can emerge. Most seeds need light and warmth to begin to grow. In the spring, the air is warmer, there is usually more rain, and there is more sunlight because the days are longer. This is the reason spring is generally known as the growing season.

Seeds are found in the fruit or flower of a flowering plant. But not all plants produce seeds. Nonflowering plants, like ferns and mosses produce spores. Spores are found underneath the leaves of nonflowering plants. Spores drop off the main plant and eventually become a new plant. Once they are separated from the main plant, both seeds and spores can germinate.

Vocabulary: Child-Friendly Definitions

  • seeds – the small part of a plant with flowers that grows into a new plant.
  • watermelon – a large fruit that has a green or yellow skin, pink or yellow flesh, and usually many black seeds.
  • experiment – a test used to discover something not known, such as the cause of something.
  • germinate – to start growth or sprout.
  • predict – to say ahead of time that something will happen.
  • magnifying glass – a lens that makes objects seen through it appear larger.

Lesson Tips

  • Be certain to have the children label the seeds that were in the sun and the seeds that were in the dark.


  • The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli
  • A Seed Grows (My First Look at a Plant’s Life Cycle) by Pamela Hickman
  • One Watermelon Seed by Celia Lottridge
  • Watermelon Day by Kathi Appelt

Home School Resources

Home educators: use these printable lesson PDFs to teach this lesson to your home schoolers. They're available in English and Spanish.

Home/School Connections

Las Conexiones a la Casa

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Content Provided By

Common Core State Standards Initiative – These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge [1]. Visit the CCSS