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Explore and Play: Sunflower Seeds

Use a magnifying glass to explore sunflower seeds with and without shells.


  • sunflower seeds with shells
  • sunflower seeds without shells
  • paper plates
  • magnifying glasses

Key Science Concepts

  • Plants grow from seeds.


Emphasize words about plants like seeds, flowers, water, soil, and grow as well as science process words like compare, describe, and observe.


  1. Give each child a handful of sunflower seeds in their shells on a paper plate. Ask, What do you think these are? Have you seen seeds like these before? Where?
  2. Have the children look at the seeds with magnifying glasses. Give them time to explore using the magnifying glasses. Ask, Can you describe what a magnifying glass does when you look through it? What happens when you look through a magnifying glass and move it far away from you? What happens when you hold it very close and look through it? Have them try holding the magnifier close to their face and moving the object closer or farther away.
  3. Crack open a few sunflower seeds and pass them around. Ask, What do you see inside? (seed) What do you think this outside part is? (seed and shell) What differences do you notice between the two parts?
  4. Ask children if they remember what Quack and the bird said about how sunflower seeds taste (delicious!). Ask if they’ve eaten sunflower seeds before. Pass around a bowl of shelled sunflower seeds for them to taste and have them describe what they taste like.

Have children add sunflower seeds—shelled and unshelled—to the Seed Museum during learning center time.