Fruit Investigation

Fruit Investigation - Body

What are the parts of a fruit, and why are they important for plant growth and survival? Make observations about the parts and features of fruit. Make inferences about how fruit helps the plant grow and survive.


  • Whole fruit (e.g., oranges or peppers)

  • Knife

  • Magnifying glass (optional)

  • Paper and writing utensil (optional)

Observation Ideas

  • With the naked eye, observe the color and texture of the fruit’s exterior.

  • Use a knife to cut open one or more pieces of fruit. Examine a cross section of the skin/rind (epicarp) and the interior edible part (mesocarp).

  • Using a magnifying glass, engage in close looking to make observations about the plant structure. Citrus fruits, like oranges, have rinds with oil glands that can mist when peeling them. Inspect the cross section of an orange to investigate the appearance and scent of these glands. You can also scratch the peel of the orange to smell its oil.

Discussion Ideas

  • What are your favorite fruits to eat?

  • What does the fruit feel like? Use your hands to make observations about the texture of the skin including its softness or hardness, waxiness, and bumpiness or smoothness. Does it look tasty? Why or why not? Predict if the fruit is ripe and why you think it is or isn’t.

  • Fruit can provide nutrients and water for the germinating seed. Make a prediction about what structures you will find inside the fruit . What colors and structures might you find? Talk with a partner or draw a picture of your prediction. Share your predictions and how you came up with them.

  • Fruit is the primary means of seed distribution in flowering plants. How many seeds do you think you will find? How did your findings differ from your predictions?

  • One way the fruit of a plant helps to disperse seeds is by attracting animals to eat the seeds. Which animals do you think might help distribute different fruits’ seeds? Why do you think that? How does this help spread seeds? Act out the movement of an animal picking and eating the fruit.

  • What do you wonder about fruit? Talk in pairs or small groups about what you have learned about fruit and discuss the questions you now have. Can you answer your peers’ questions based upon what you have learned through your investigations? How might you plan an investigation to answer them?

Further Investigation Idea

  • Use a magnifying glass to compare two different fruit structures, such as in a pepper and an orange. How is the rind or skin (epicarp) different? How is the edible part (mesocarp) different? How are the seeds different? Work in small groups to discuss or create a simple Venn diagram comparing the differences in the two fruits.