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Grade 4 Task: How Seeds Travel

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Sample Task

Investigate how different types of seeds spread to places where people do not plant them.

How Seeds Travel is a 30-minute hybrid hands-on task in Life Science measuring students' understanding of the concept that organisms of the same kind differ in their characteristics, and that certain characteristics offer advantages in survival and reproduction. The task employs the concept that different types of seeds have features that allow them to be dispersed in different ways, such as by wind or by animals. In the task scenario, students who plant seeds for a vegetable garden observe plants growing that were not planted as seeds by the class. To understand how this could happen, they investigate how seeds are dispersed to locations where they were not planted by people. In the hands-on part of the investigation, they observe and note the structural features of different types of seeds provided in the task materials kit. Students need to predict and explain how various features can help seeds be spread either by wind or by animals. The students then need to propose a fair test to compare the distance wind could spread two types of seeds with different structural features.

Seeds blowing in the wind
Content area:
Life Science
Using Scientific Inquiry
Learn about content areas and practices
Task type:
Hybrid Hands-on Task
Task time:
30 minutes

Key findings about student performance on selected questions from this task.

Students were able to apply their Life Science knowledge and scientific inquiry skills to do the following:

31% of students were able to describe the structural features of seeds and explain how these features enable them to be spread by wind.

30% of students were able to describe the structural features of seeds that help them to be spread by animals and explain how animals spread the seeds.

11% of students were able to propose a fair test to investigate which type of seed would be spread the greatest distance by wind.

Try the How Seeds Travel task yourself and see student performance and scoring guides for all task questions.

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Task Simulation

Experience this task as the students did

You can experience this task just as students did to understand how they applied their science knowledge and skills to read-world problem-solving scenarios. Select the play button below to start the task. After completing the task you can see the results alongside those of students.

The image below shows the five seed packets included in the How Seeds Travel task materials kit that was supplied to students. Please refer to this image when you try the task. Note that the seed names were not provided to students but were provided to question scorers.