Nov 23

Thanksgiving Science

Get your whole family involved in the science of your thanksgiving meal! Did you know some of your thanksgiving favorites are made from seeds? Not all seeds are the same. Corn and green beans are examples of two different types of seeds known as monocots and dicots.

Corn & Beans

Monocot and dicot plants have many differences, but some can even be observed in their seeds. Try cutting a corn kernel in half and comparing it to a bean.

  • Can you find the seed coat that protects the seed before it germinates?
  • What about the cotyledon, that feeds the seed underground?
  • Or the epicotyl that becomes the new plant’s first stem and leaves?
  • What other seeds are on your dinner table this holiday season?
  • Are any of them monocots or dicots?
Corn Seed Structure. Anatomy of grain. Monocot seed diagram.
Bean Seed Structure. Anatomy of grain. Dicot seed diagram.


Potatoes are a favorite at many meals, but especially for thanksgiving! Potatoes also come from plants, but they are not seeds. They aren’t root vegetables either, they are the starchy tuber of the plant Solanum tuberosum. Tubers are a nutrient storage system for the plant. They are found near the roots and store nutrients for the plant to use during cold months and later regrow.

  • Are there any other tubers on your dinner table this holiday?
  • What about root vegetables like carrots or radishes?


We don’t just have plants at our dinner table this Thanksgiving, we also have microorganisms like yeast! Yeast is a single celled fungus used to make bread rise and in fermentation. Often one of the first steps of making bread is to proof the yeast. Yeast feed on the sugars and flour found in dough and release carbon dioxide to make the bread rise.

If you are making bread, invite your kids to come watch these tiny fungi do their work. When added to warm water and sugar, yeast will release carbon dioxide and foamy bubbles should be visible. Try adding yeast, warm water and sugar to a small bottle and place a balloon over the top. You will be able to observe the balloon trapping the carbon dioxide released by the yeast.

  • What are your favorite foods made with yeast?

We hope you enjoyed learning about the science of this holiday food! Happy Thanksgiving! May you and your family enjoy a grand feast and loving company.