Germination of Seeds Lesson for Kids

Lesson Transcript
Debra Patuto

Debra has taught at elementary levels and has an M.ed with certification in elementary education and special education

Expert Contributor
Amanda Robb

Amanda has taught high school science for over 10 years. She has a Master's Degree in Cellular and Molecular Physiology from Tufts Medical School and a Master's of Teaching from Simmons College. She is also certified in secondary special education, biology, and physics in Massachusetts.

The seed coat, cotyledon, and embryo are parts of a seed and each has its own function in germination. Explore the germination of seeds, including the parts of a seed and their roles in creating a new plant. Updated: 12/07/2021

Understanding Seeds

Did you know that all plant foods that have seeds are considered fruits? Yes, this even includes some foods that you might think are vegetables, such as avocados, tomatoes, pea pods, squash, and peppers. By definition, fruit is made up of seeds and fleshy plant material that you can eat. But, what exactly makes up a seed? Let's take a closer look before we explore germination.

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  • 0:00 Undestanding Seeds
  • 0:32 Parts of a Seed
  • 1:28 Seed Germination
  • 3:01 Lesson Summary
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Parts of a Seed

When it's cold outside, you put on your coat to protect your body from getting cold. Well, seeds have coats, too. Some seeds have hard coats and some have soft coats. Just like your coat, the seed coat protects what is inside the seed.

And what's inside the seed is very important. One major part inside the seed is the cotyledon, a large space just underneath the seed coat. It protects the inner parts of the seed and also supplies the baby plant with food and nutrients while it grows. Another important part of the seed is the embryo, the baby plant inside the seed that has roots, a stem, and leaves. These parts all need to stay safe inside the seed so that it can grow into an adult plant.

Seed Germination

As a baby plant, a seed requires several things to grow big and strong, like healthy soil, the right amount of sunlight, and water. A seed also has to go through germination, the phase of growth when the seed begins to sprout. For some seeds, special things have to happen before they can germinate. Some need to lie dormant (which is like resting), and some seeds require cold nights and hot days to help with cracking the coat open. Some even need to pass through an animal to be activated by the acids in the animal's stomach!

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Additional Activities

Grow Your Own Seedlings

In this hands-on activity, students will be able to identify the steps they learned about in the lesson by germinating their own seeds. To do this activity, you will need biodegradable cups, soil, seeds, a spray bottle, plastic wrap, rubber bands, and ample sunlight or a sun lamp.

Time to Get Gardening

Now that you've learned about how seeds germinate, are you curious to try the process yourself? In this science experiment, you will be germinating seeds and looking for different stages of germination that were described in the lesson. To get started, follow the directions below.

  1. Start by filling a biodegradable cup with dirt.
  2. Open up your seed packet and examine the seeds. Where is the seed coat and how do you know?
  3. Next, push a pencil into the dirt in three different spots about one inch deep.
  4. Place one seed in each hole and lightly cover them with dirt.
  5. Use the spray bottle to moisten the soil.
  6. Cover the top loosely with plastic and secure it with a rubber band.
  7. Place your cup in direct sunlight or under a sun lamp. Check it each day to see if the seed has sprouted and be sure to keep the soil moist with your spray bottle.


  1. How did you see the seed coat? What is it used for by the plant?
  2. Were you able to see the cotyledon as the seed sprouted? How did you know?
  3. Were you able to see the roots? Why or why not?

Expected Results

Students should see their seeds sprout within a few days, depending on the type of seed they chose. They should be able to identify the outside of the seed as the seed coat (which is used to the protect the inside of the seed). They should also be able to see the cotyledon as the seed started to sprout, since it will appear as a single embryonic leaf or a pair of embryonic leaves as the seed sprouts. They will not be able to see the roots growing, because that part of the plant grows underground. If students are having trouble getting their seeds to sprout, make sure there is ample sunlight and warm temperatures for the seeds. Consider placing the cups in a window or near a heater or under a sunlamp. Also, be sure to check the specific requirements for germination of the seeds you chose.

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