Try this seed-scattering experiment to see how far some plants will travel to grow.
What You'll Need:
- Wind-dispersed seeds (maple, elm, dandelion, thistle)
- Access to a second-story window
- Sticks (optional)
This activity works best in the fall, when wind-blown seeds are most available.
Step 1: Collect some wind-blown seeds. Look for seeds with wings, such as maple and elm, or with downy parachutes, like the dandelion or thistle. These seeds are built so that the wind will scatter them far from their parent plant.
Step 2: Have a friend stand carefully near an open window on the second floor of a home and toss a handful of winged seeds toward the ground.
Step 3: Watch them to see how far they sail. If possible, mark the furthest seed with a tall stick. Note also how the seeds land. Do they fall flat, or do they spin so fast that they drill themselves into the ground?
Step 4: Now have your partner drop dandelion or thistle seeds. (Make sure they are separated from one another first.) Do they drop to the ground, or do they float for miles? Can you mark the farthest one?
Try this activity on a breezy day and a still day to compare how far the seeds spread.
For more gardening crafts and activities, check out:
ABOUT THE ACTIVITY DESIGNERS:
The following activities were written by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls: