ALEX Lesson Plan


What is Inside of a Seed?

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Antwuan Stinson
System: College/University
School: Alabama State University
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33064


What is Inside of a Seed?


Students will learn the various components of a seed. A seed consists of three main parts: the seed coat, the endosperm, and the embryo. Of these parts, the embryo is clearly the most important. Its cells will differentiate and develop into all the different tissues that will ultimately make up the mature plant. The other parts of the seed merely play supporting roles. These roles, nonetheless, are critical to the embryo's success.

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.


 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
SC (9-12) Biology
10. Distinguish between monocots and dicots, angiosperms and gymnosperms, and vascular and nonvascular plants.
  • Describing the histology of roots, stems, leaves, and flowers
  • Recognizing chemical and physical adaptations of plants
  • Examples:
    chemical—foul odor, bitter taste, toxicity;
    physical—spines, needles, broad leaves
    SC (9-12) Botany Elective
    10. Describe the structure and function of flower parts.
  • Describing seed germination, development, and dispersal
  • ELA2015 (12)
    1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain. [RL.11-12.1]
    SC2015 (9-12) Biology
    4. Develop and use models to explain the role of the cell cycle during growth and maintenance in multicellular organisms (e.g., normal growth and/or uncontrolled growth resulting in tumors).

    Local/National Standards:


    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    Students will learn

    • the parts of a seed: the seed coat, the endosperm, and the embryo
    • the three main parts of the embryo: the primary root, the cotyledon(s) (there are two in many kinds of plants), and the embryonic leaves

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

    Students will learn that the cotyledon serves a function similar to that of the endosperm--supplying food to other parts of the developing embryo. 

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    31 to 60 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    Computer with Internet access and a printer
    LCD projector
    Digital camera

    Interactive whiteboard tools


    Technology Resources Needed:

    The teacher will use the following links to develop the lesson activity


    The lesson should follow a discussion about the structure of plant seeds: angiosperms and gymnosperms or monocots and dicots.


    Step 1:  Students will listen during whole group instruction to discuss the structure of the plant seed.

    Step 2:  Divide students into cooperative working groups of 2-3.

    Step 3:  Students will find various pictures of plant seeds including monocots and dicots or angiosperms and gymnosperms.

    Group Activity Procedures

    1. Put the eight seeds into the jar and pour distilled water onto them. After 24 hours, remove the beans and place them on a paper towel.

    2. The beans should be damp and easy to pry open with your fingernail. Remove the outside of the bean. This part is called the seed coat, and it protects the bean inside. Place your fingernail at the rounded edge and spread the halves of each bean open lengthwise.

    3. Use a magnifying glass to look inside. What can you see? Sketch the inside of each bean, labeling each half from 1 to 16. Do different bean plants look different inside?


    When you look inside a bean, it’s not just empty space in there. A bean is made up of different growing parts, and you’ll be able to see them quite clearly with your magnifying glass.

    The cotyledon is the largest part of the inside of the bean. It stores a lot of the food for the growing bean. Like a chick embryo has a yolk and a baby has an umbilical cord, a bean seed has a cotyledon to act as a source of food.

    At the top of the cotyledon is the epicotyl. This is the beginning of the bean’s shoot and will eventually form the leaves. Look closely. Can you see what will form the bean’s future leaves? Just under the epicotyl is the hypocotyl. This is the beginning of the bean’s stem. The radicle is under the hypocotyl. This is the beginning of the bean’s roots. A whole baby plant is nestled inside that tiny, growing bean seed.

    A bean needs water to grow. At first, it absorbs this through a small hole called the micropyle that is found in the hilum, the scar on the side of the bean that shows where it was attached to its parent plant. When the bean germinates, or begins to grow, the baby bean plant starts to take shape inside the bean seed. It uses the starch that’s in the cotyledon as food.

    What would happen if you cut away part of the cotyledon?

    To extend your experiment, get five new bean seeds and soak them overnight. Cut off the lower half of one of the cotyledons of one bean, the lower half of both cotyledons on another bean, ¾ of the cotyledon on another bean, and all of the cotyledon on the last bean, leaving only the embryo. Leave one unaltered bean plant as the control.

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    Assessment Strategies

    Students will demonstrate their findings to the class by groups. Students will record the observations in a journal to be handed in for credit, placed in their classroom folders, and used during assessment.


    Use the website below for an in-class assessment:


    For students who may need extra assistance, highlighted notes may be used.

    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.