Add to collection
  • + Create new collection
  • A plant reproduction resource for NZ Curriculum levels 1 and 2. Explore some of the science ideas behind plant life cycles, seed dispersal and how some plants reproduce without seeds.

    Rights: Daniel Blunt, CC BY 2.0

    Dandelion seeds

    Dandelion seeds float away in the wind. To make sure at least some of the seeds land in a suitable growing place, the plant has to produce lots of seeds.

    Humans have many reasons to grow plants: for food, for building materials or simply for pleasure. A plant really just has one reason to grow – to reproduce to make more plants like it.

    Angela Schipper – the writer

    As a former new entrant teacher, I was thrilled to learn that the Science Learning Hub had been asked to develop resources for New Zealand Curriculum levels 1 and 2. I know first-hand that very young children can be keen little scientists who excitedly soak up science content vocabulary and hands-on activities.

    The Hub is full of excellent science information so it was my goal to modify some of our existing materials for use with lower primary school students. The Living World and plants seemed a good place to start. The pollination and ferns articles provided much of the background information. The text in these articles has been simplified to reflect the younger audience.

    The science behind seeds, stems and spores

    These are the big science ideas in this collection:

    Hands-on (and feet-on) learning

    With the science articles in place, my next step was to design student activities – and the best people to help me with these activities were children themselves. I sent word to my favourite educational ally, Maree van Mil, and was readily invited to visit her year 2 classroom. For years, I’ve had the pleasure of playing Mrs Frizzle, sister of the famous Magic School Bus teacher Valerie Frizzle, with Maree’s students. The Friz swept into the classroom, and I had a delightful time getting to know the children and listening to their viewpoints and explanations on how the living world of plants works. This information helped to form the activities we used with the students and I subsequently styled for the Hub. We even got the children to eat broad beans after examining them for embryos. Try getting a 6-year-old to eat those at home!

    Rights: Caroline Nu’u

    Maree van Mil

    Maree van Mil and her year 2 class enabled content developer Angela Schipper to trial her ideas for teaching and learning activities.

    Maree followed up every visit with art and literacy activities to record and deepen student understanding of the key science ideas. Children’s work, comments and photos were the foundation of vibrant wall displays. At the end of the unit, the children invited me back to the classroom and presented their work to me. They also gave me a bouquet of flowers – and happily told me all about the blossoms’ reproductive structures!

    Take up the challenge

    Other student activities include:

    • Common foods and plant parts uses a graphic organiser to identify whether a food is a root, stem, leaf, flower, seed or fruit.
    • Matching seeds and fruits uses activity cards to match seeds with the fruits from which they grow.
    • Looking at seeds and fruits is a ready-to-use cross-curricular teaching resource. Intended for NZC levels 2–3, this worksheet-based activity does not require internet access and has multiple literacy activities.
    • Pollination role-plays – pipe cleaner finger puppets take on the role of insects, birds and wind to simulate different pollinators.
    • Seed dispersal puppet play uses stick puppets to explain how plants disperse their seeds.
    • Woolly sock walk – meander through long grass to experience seed dispersal.
    Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato

    Seeds on woolly socks

    Talk a walk through long grass or an unkempt area to see what types of seeds may be present. Wear the woolly sock over your shoes for safety.

    Introduce students to some of the science ideas and concepts relating to pollination with this unit plan. It is suitable for students working at NZC levels 1 and 2.

    For teachers wishing to extend student knowledge of flowering plant life cycles, the Pollination collection provides ideal follow-on resources.

    Bilingual resources

    The following resources are in te reo Māori and English:

    There are links to other plant resources, including Word downloads in te reo Māori only, in the article Ngā rākau.

      Published 8 April 2014, Updated 14 September 2023 Referencing Hub articles
          Go to full glossary
          Download all