Cambridge Science Centre


My Favourite Exhibit: Seed dispersal

Written on 14 Apr 2013 in Blog

Why do seeds fly?

The seed dispersal exhibit is my favourite because of its appeal for all ages. You can make your own paper seeds and test them in our wind tube to see how far they’ll fly. Without really noticing they’re doing it, children (and competitive teenagers and grown-ups as well) start thinking about what will make their seeds fly further, playing around with the weight, size and shape of their seed.

Many plants use wind to disperse their seed, and I like the way this exhibit explores the physics behind the biology. Plants have evolved lots of ways of spreading their seeds through the air and the exhibit highlights a few of them. It shows how the parent plant can spread their offspring far and wide so they don’t compete for light, water and nutrients.
I love some of the unusual ideas that the children have - my favourite was a letter ‘E’ with wings (made by Ethan) that hovered at the top of the tube all afternoon. Each day something new is created including revolving crowns, tumbling fish and balloons with wings that spun for hours! It might be a while before plants develop something like these though.

Written by Julia Grosse