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Seeds Capability: Interpret representations NoS achievement aims: Communicating in science Contextual strands: Living world Level : 1,2

Author: K.E. Anderson.  Connected 1, 1999, pages 2–5

This resource illustrates how a Connected article can provide opportunities for students to strengthen their capability to make sense of representations in the context of science.

Curriculum Aims and AOs

NZC LINKS: The Nature of Science strand


Achievement objectives relevant to this resource

Communicating in science

Develop knowledge of the vocabulary, numeric and symbol systems, and conventions of science and use this knowledge to communicate about their own and other’s ideas.

L1 & 2:

Build their language and develop their understandings of the many ways the natural world can be represented.


NZC LINKS: Living World


Achievement objectives relevant to this resource

Life Processes

Understand the processes of life and appreciate the diversity of living things.

L1 & 2:

Recognise that all living things have certain requirements so that they can stay alive.


Learning focus

Students discuss how different photographs emphasise different things.

Learning activity

This article contains several photographs showing how different plants disperse their seeds.

Adapting the resource

This article could be used to strengthen students’ understandings of the many ways the natural world can be represented. On page 4 there are photographs of peaches and on page 5 a photograph of apples. Encourage the students to look really carefully at the photos of the peaches and compare these with the photograph of the apples.

What is the same?

What is different?

Both have seeds in the middle of the fruit. Peaches have one big seed and apples have more than one little seeds.
Both sorts of seeds have pointed ends.

Peach seeds are big and rough.

Apple seeds are small and smooth.

Both fruit are shaped like balls. The peach’s skin looks furry and the apples’ skin looks shiny.
Both fruit have got reddish skins. The peach is yellow inside. The apple is white.

Encourage students to use clear objective language, e.g., “The peach is round and yellow”, rather than “It looks yummy”.

From the photographs, what can we find out about peaches that we can’t find out about apples? [The photographs show us what peach leaves look like and that peaches grow on branches.]

Pages 2 & 3 also provide opportunities for developing understanding of how photographs can be selected to show particular things. The close up photographs of sycamore seeds on page 2 show a lot of detail about the seeds but do not tell anything about what sort of plant a sycamore is. The text on page 3 is supported by a photograph of dandelion seeds. There is also a photograph on that page of a dandelion flower. Draw students attention to the flower and ask why they think the photograph is there. [The photograph shows the flowering part of the dandelion plant.]

What’s important here?

Scientists represent their ideas in a variety of ways, including models, graphs, charts, diagrams, photographs and written texts. It is important for students to think about what a particular representation tells us and what is left out. This sort of questioning provides a foundation to critically interact with ideas about science in the media and to participate as critical, informed, and responsible citizens in a society in which science plays a significant role. (This is the purpose of science in NZC.)

What are we looking for?

Can students compare and contrast different photographs?

Can students use clear descriptive language?

Can students suggest the author's purpose for selecting particular photographs?

Opportunities to learn at different curriculum levels

For suggestions about adapting tasks in ways that allow students to show progress in gathering and interpreting data see  Progressions .

Exploring further

Any book containing a range of illustrations could be used to support this capability.

Other resources for this capability

Watch Me! (L1) Ready to Read series 2009, Guided Reading level: yellow

Light and Colour: Our Vision of the World (L1 & 2) Building Science Concepts, Booklet 10

Standing Up: Skeletons and Frameworks (L1 & 2) Building Science Concepts, Booklet 51

An Interview with a Glass of Water (L3 & 4) Connected 2, 2002

Ferns (L3 & 4) Connected 3, 2002

Why Does It Always Rain on Me? (L3 & 4) Connected, Level 3, 2012

Spring is a Season: How Living Things Respond to Seasonal Changes (L3 & 4) Building Science Concepts, Booklet 44

The Air around Us: Exploring the Substance We Live in (L4) Building Science Concepts, Booklet 30

Catch My Drift (L4 & 5) Connected, Level 4, 2012

Bioaccumulation interactive (L5) Science Learning Hub

The elements: element analyser interactive (L5)Digistore on TKI

Garden Bird Survey: Participants’ Stories (L5) Landcare Research webpage

The Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale (L5) GNS Science webpage

Key words

Connected, seeds