From Seed to Seed:
Plant Science for K-8 Educators


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III. Part One: From Seed to Seed

A. From Seed...

When we talk about the life cycle of flowering plants, we are talking about the span of time between the germination of a seed and that plant's subsequent production of seed. Let's use the familiar green bean plant as an example. If you plant a bean seed and water it, the seed will germinate and within a week you'll see a sprout. The seedling grows and, after about six weeks, the plant enters its reproductive phase and begins to flower. These flowers, if fertilized, begin to wither and drop their petals. At about the same time, the ovaries within the flowers begin to develop into tiny bean pods. If you let these bean pods ripen to full size instead of harvesting them at the "green bean" stage, in several weeks you'll have bulging pods filled with large, succulent seeds. Allow these pods to fully mature and dry on the vine and eventually the pods will split, revealing-voila!-the bean seeds within. There's one life cycle completed, from seed to seed.

Now let's compare the life cycles of different types of plants.






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