One of our favorite science activities for kids during the spring season is dissecting a bean seed! It’s an easy science experiment to setup and is always lots of fun!
NGSS: Disciplinary Core Idea LS1.C
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As we observe all the new growth in spring, the kids are always interested in learning more about flowers, plants, and seeds. (Recently we observed how water travels through a leaf and explored flowers.) Today we’ll be looking at the inside of a seed! (This post contains affiliate links.)
Materials for Dissecting a Bean Seed
- Large beans (kidney, pinto or lima beans for example) soaked in water for 12-24 hours
- Magnifying glass (optional)
- Recording sheet (See below for free printable)
Procedure for Bean Seed Dissection
- Pick up a soaked bean and examine it.
- What do you think the inside of the seed will look like? Why? Illustrate your prediction on your paper.
- Rub the soaked bean between your fingers. The seed coat should rub off. Why do you think the seed coat is important?
- Now split your seed in two. (There is a slit going down the middle of your seed where it should come apart with a little help.)
- Observe the inside. (Use a magnifying glass if you’d like). Describe and/or draw what you see. Were your predictions correct?
Lucy’s Observations & Comments: “I think it will have sparkles inside.” “Look, it’s a baby plant!” “I want to plant it.” “Will it grow if we broke it apart?”
– Different seeds require different amounts of time to soak in the water before being easy to dissect. We used pinto beans. They were ready within 12 hours.
– It’s easier to see the baby plant after the seed dries out. After the dissection, set your bean aside and reexamine it after it’s dry.
– You can go to this link to print the Bean Seed Dissection Recording Sheet.
Question to Spark More Curiosity & Critical Thinking
Compare the dried beans to the soaked beans. What is the same about them? What is different?
What’s Going On?
A bean is a seed and has many different parts:
- seed coat: the protective covering that surrounds the seed
- embryo: baby plant
- food supply (cotyledon): the material that feeds the baby plant
Want to go even further?
Even more activities to inspire creativity and critical thinking for various ages.
- Do this experiment with different kinds of beans or even peanuts in their shells. Compare your results.
- Plant the bean seeds and chart their growth.
- Create a diagram showing the life cycle of a plant.
- Can you create artwork using your leftover dried beans?
- Some related books: The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle, Oh Say Can You Seed? by Bonnie Worth, The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds: A Book About How Living Things Grow by Joanna Cole, From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons