Seedy Travelers

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In this activity (on pages 18-28), learners explore how the shape of seeds affects how they are dispersed by wind, birds, ocean currents and other means. Learners make predictions about seeds' ability to travel, and build devices to test their predictions. Tests include the Roll Test (rolled onto a target from a height), the Hitchhiker Test (a fuzzy cloth), and the Fly Test (distance from blowing). The "What We Know" introductory section introduces some of the various and amazing ways that seeds travel to locations far away from the plant the released them.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Simulation

English, Spanish

Materials List (per group of students)

  • 2 magnifying lenses
  • 1 package seed mix plus any seeds you find outdoors. Seeds such as maple, dandelion, cattail, or milkweed are great for the fly test in Part 2
  • 1 palm-sized piece of flannel or fuzzy cloth (a sweat shirt or an old sock)
  • 1 bending straw
  • 1 funnel
  • 1 marking pen
  • 1 paper punch
  • 1 small index card (3 x 5)
  • 30 cm ruler
  • clear tape
  • glue or glue stick
  • scissors
  • 2 sheets of 8 x 11 paper
  • 4 toothpicks
  • 4 sheets of different colored, 8 x 11 paper
  • 4 copies of p. 22 assembled into a target


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Populations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Research and Development

Informal Categories

  • Gardening
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Designed specifically for

  • Rural dweller

Culture, ethnicity, and gender

  • Girls

    • Explicity developed for this group


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Science After School Consumer's Guide


  • All rights reserved, University of Nebraska State Museum and Nebraska 4-H, 2002

Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation Informal Science Education Program, 9909496
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute