You'll need

​​Lots of different seeds that have fallen to the ground.

What to do

Safety warning

​​Some seeds may be a choking hazard for young children​.

  1. ​​During Autum you can go for a walk outside and collect several different types of seeds from the ground.
  2. ​Sort the seeds into groups of the same type (or species) of seed. For example, group all the acorns together.
  3. ​Look at all the seeds carefully and compare their different features such as colour, shape, size, and texture.
  4. ​Then sort the seeds into different groups by focusing on one similar feature. For example, group all the spiky seeds together or all the seeds with wings together. You may want to take pictures of the sorted groups as you go to compare to other sorted groups later.
  5. After you have sorted the seeds by one feature, try re-sorting them by a different feature, such as colour, shade (lightest to darkest), or texture (smoothest to spikiest). Compare what is grouped together now to the first grouping from step 4.
  6. Keep comparing the similarities and differences between all the seeds. Try to come up with your own ways to group them. For example, grouping them according to which ones float best or make the loudest noise if you drop them!

Questions to ask

  • ​​What do the seeds look like and feel like?
  • ​What features are the same between some of the seeds?
  • ​What features are different between some of the seeds?
  • Are there seeds which have some features that are different, and some that are the same? For example, both are spiky, but one is small and the other is large.
  • ​Why do we classify different types of things in different ways?
  • ​What other types of things do we group together by their features? It may help to think about things in the kitchen or in your drawers.
  • Are the plates, bowls, spoons and forks in your kitchen sorted and grouped together?
  • Why do you think they are grouped that way?​

What's happening

​​Classification is the process of grouping things together based on their similarities. Scientists classify different objects, animals, and plants to help organise them and learn more about them.

The scientific study of how living things are classified is called taxonomy. Plant taxonomy is the science of classifying and naming plants.

Did you know

All trees grow from a seed and all trees produce seeds to make new trees. Trees will not grow well if there are too many new trees growing in the same spot. They cannot move around to take their seeds to other places. So, trees have evolved other ways to move or spread their seeds.

Fruit trees grow seeds in their fruit, while some other trees just drop their seeds onto the ground. The seeds can spread in different ways. Some seeds are spread by the wind or water. Other seeds are spread by animals, such as birds.

Animals can spread the seeds in different ways such as picking up and dropping seeds, eating, and then pooping out seeds.

Fun fact

​​Sometimes squirrels will bury seeds to eat later and forget about them! The buried seeds can then grow into a tree.​