Seed Parts and Sprouting Starts


Seeds are extraordinary! For example, one tiny tomato seed will grow into a beautiful tomato plant that will give over ten pounds of tomatoes! The life of nearly all plants we eat starts as a seed. Though seeds come in different shapes, sizes, and textures, they all share common parts — and contain everything a plant needs to reproduce and begin growing. In this lesson, you will investigate the parts of a seed, learn about the germination process, and try sprouting seeds yourself.

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30-40 minutes. 

  • Seeds
  • A small plastic bag
  • A paper towel

Seed coat: covers and protects the seed
Embryo: forms the new plant
Endosperm: acts as food for the seed and nourishes the embryo
Germinate: when a seed begins to grow and put out shoots.
Cotyledon: the first “leaves” of a plant
Monocot: a plant with one cotyledon
Dicot: a plant with two cotyledons


Flowering plants are divided into two categories determined by the first leaves that emerge from the seed. These first leaves on a plant are called cotyledons. Some plants have one leaf in the seed, called monocots, and plants with two leaves in the seed are called dicots.


Label the different parts of the seed. Look at the vocabulary list and the image above to help you locate the terms.


In your own words, describe what the different seed parts do.


Seed Coat:



Seeds need a moist environment and the correct temperature (warmth) to germinate. During early stages of growth, the seedling relies upon the food supplies stored within the seed. The stored food supports the embryo during seed germination. The germination process ends once a shoot emerges from the soil, but the growth of the plant is just getting started.


Starting seeds is an easy and fun activity to do at home. You can start seeds easily and watch them grow by starting them in a plastic bag. All you’ll need is a few seeds, some sandwich bags, paper towels, and water. Follow the instructions in the Seed Starting Activity sheet. 

Student Notes
  • Now that you began exploring the germination process, watch this time-lapse video of germination and answer questions about the video.
  • Learning about germination can inspire your creative side. Go to our lesson on Germination of a Bean Seed and complete the Haiku poem activity.
  • What to explore seeds further? Check out our lesson on Seeds We Eat and learn about the many edible seeds that make up a large part of human diets.

Harmier, K., (n.d). Parts of a Seed. Iowa Ag. Literacy. Retrieved from

Seeds, Miraculous Seeds.(n.d) Maine Agriculture in the Classroom. Retrieved from
Starting to Grow. (n.d). Missouri Botanical Garden Retrieved from

Disclaimer: All videos and references are used for educational purposes only. The Edible Schoolyard Project does not endorse any brands, labels, organizations, or businesses included in videos or references.  

Notes for Teachers and Parents
  • This activity supports students in practicing learning by undertaking a project that has tangible results in the garden.
  • This activity encourages students to feel that cooking and gardening are more accessible.
  • This activity integrates experiences that support the development of relationships to food and the land.

Authored by Raquel Vigil and Nick Lee