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Autumnal Musings - Seed Dispersal

Seed dispersal is one of the many natural phenomena in autumn that children begin to notice and ask questions about. Today, we hiked past a Bladdernut tree and a Japanese beechnut tree and collected some seeds and seed pods that we discovered on the ground.

Young children use play as a way to learn and discover more about the world around them. Natural materials such as these inspired the children to create campfires and pretend food. Using seeds and seed pods in fantasy play gives children an opportunity to explore, observe, and ask questions using many senses.

We also explored the seeds and seed pods in a more directed manner, using magnifying lenses and group discussion. Sara noticed that if you shake the Bladder nut pods, you can hear shaking inside. Bridger predicted that it was seeds making the noise. We opened it and True predicted that if we broke open the seed, the inside would be a lighter color than the outside.

After breaking open the seeds with pruners (True's prediction was correct), we did an experiment to see if the Bladder nut would float in water, which many children thought it would because of the air inside, and it did! This opened up a discussion surrounding the many ways seeds disperse.

Eva noticed on our seed dispersal guide that animals' fur can carry seeds, perhaps the beechnut pods. We used literacy skills to read the tree tag, which told us the special of tree that these pods came from. I demonstrated the "eat and excrete" movements to the children which they thought was hilarious and enjoyed copying it. Finally, we noticed the many different shapes and physical characteristics seeds can have, such as parachutes or wings to help move with the wind.

What common changes and events during fall time do you notice children gravitating towards each year?

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