Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Spreading Seeds from Pods: a Second Water Balloon Experiment

We have loved exploring that the parts of a flower and pollination are important in producing seeds. We also know from our floating seeds experiment that it is important for the seeds to spread away from the plant for new plants to grow.  We also know from our Seeds BLAST that seeds can be spread by wind and animals.  We wanted to explore another way that seeds can be spread - by exploding pods!  We started by watching this short film showing a seed pod exploding and spreading the seeds and thought that it looked like a balloon bursting.  So we made our special blue pods that exploded out of water balloons.



For each of our pods we used a water balloon that we added some flour (seeds) and then blew them up to represent the pods.  The flour was added by attaching a water balloon to the bottom of a funnel, then each girl put about a half a teaspoon of flour in the funnel and used a straw to smoosh it into the balloon.  We had to be careful not to push to hard or the balloon came off the bottom of the funnel.


Then mommy VERY carefully (so as not to get flour in her mouth) blew up the balloon and tied it shut.  We made two very big balloons and two smaller balloons to see if size would make a difference.  Then the fun started - the girls launched the balloons off the back deck (under adult supervision).  This would represent the pod falling from the tree.


When some of the pods landed they would burst (especially if they landed on the grass) which would be like the pod bursting and spreading the seeds.  Some would land and roll away, but we could pop them once they settled and saw how the pod could protect the seeds to take them further away from the plant.


We did notice that the smaller balloons tended not to pop and the larger would pop.  We spoke about how this might be like the mature seed pod that was stretched thin and ready to spread it seeds while the younger (smaller) pod would protect its seeds until it was time to spread them.


It was a little hard to see just how much the seeds spread when looking down on the grass so we put a towel out on the table.  First we put a lump of flour in the middle and it just sat there and did not move anywhere.  Then we put a balloon with flour in it and popped it!   You could see just how far the balloon spread the flour or seeds and how this could work to spread seeds in nature.



We had a lot of fun exploring this way of spreading seeds.  We hope you will have some exploding seed fun too!

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Supplies:

  • 2 water balloons
  • funnel
  • straw
  • flour
  • knife


Directions:

  1. Attach the water balloon to a funnel.
  2. Place about half a teaspoon of flour in the funnel and force into the balloon using a straw.
  3. Remove the water balloon from the funnel and carefully inflate and tie off.
  4. Make one balloon very big and make the other smaller.
  5. Launch your balloons onto grass and see what happens.
  6. Take a balloon that did not pop and place it on a surface and pop with a knife to see the seed dispersal.


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