Seeds and Water

Children will grow a plant.

Birds Nest

Lesson Objective

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


What You'll Need

  • Small resealable plastic bags – 2 per child
  • Sunflower seeds – 2 per child
  • Tape
  • Half sheets of paper towels – 2 per child
  • Small paper plates
  • Magnifying glasses – 1 per children

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 sunflower seeds. Ask children if they know what they are.
  3. Ask children if they know what a seed needs in order to grow.
  4. Give each child a seed on a plate and a magnifying glass. Encourage the children to examine the seeds with a magnifying glass. Ask the children what they notice about the seeds.
  5. Explain that they will be learning about how water affects seeds.
  6. For each child, in one bag, place one seed and a wet half sheet of paper towel. Seal the bags.
  7. In the other bag, place one seed and a dry half sheet of paper towel. Seal the bags.
  8. Use tape to attach the bags to a sunny window.
  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 wet paper towel will have germinated. The seeds that had a dry paper towel will not have germinated.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Describe the two seeds. How do they look? Why do they look so different?
  • Tell me what seeds need to grow.
  • What do you think would happen if you used different seeds?
  • Explain why water is important for growing.

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 sunflowers 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.
  • Place the seeds and magnifying glasses on the science table for further exploration.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children describe the seeds?
  • Could children explain what happened to the seeds in each bag and why?
  • Could children explain the importance of water to plant growth?


Did You Know?

All seeds need certain conditions in order to sprout. They need air, water, warmth, and light. Many seeds lie dormant during the winter months because it is too cold for them to sprout. With the arrival of spring, the air is warmer and there is usually more rain. The days are longer in the spring, which means there is more light. Not all seeds grow into new plants. Some seeds, such as pumpkin seeds and some nuts, can be eaten before they begin to sprout.

Although seeds are small and seem insignificant, seeds are very powerful and important to people. Seeds create plants that provide fuel, shelter, and food for people and animals. One single corn kernel can multiply five hundred times in less than 4 months. A huge apple tree is the result of one tiny apple seed. A whole family can have food from just one handful of seeds.

Vocabulary: Child-Friendly Definitions

  • seeds – the small part of a plant with flowers that grows into a new plant.
  • sunflower – a tall plant with large yellow flowers.
  • experiment – a test used to discover something not known, such as the cause of something.
  • wet – having water or other liquid within something or on the surface of something.
  • 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 not to use processed, salted, roasted sunflower seeds that are sold in the supermarket.
  • Be certain to have the children label the seeds that had a wet paper towel and the seeds that had the dry paper towel.
  • You can use colored stickers or draw a raindrop on the bags with the wet paper towels.


  • From Seed to Sunflower by Gerald Legg
  • Sunflower House by Eve Bunting
  • Big Yellow Sunflower by Frances Barry
  • Sunflower by Miela Ford

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