This morning, Thomas very kindly let me attack his olives. You see, after learning all about the different parts of a plant, we had agreed that an olive was a fruit. Just to make sure, we wanted to see inside. We were expecting to find a seed; fruits, you see, have seeds inside.
So yours truly (that's me!) dug away at the green flesh and sure enough, lurking inside we found quite a big, hard seed.
Then the fateful question; Tommy asked, 'Would it grow if we planted it?' Well, it might have.....before it got smashed. You see, in my attempt to show that the seed of an olive is hard but that it contains a soft kernel inside (and that it is this kernel that sprouts through the hard seed when it begins to grow) I whacked it with a hammer.....
just that little bit too enthusiastically. Yes, the hard seed broke, but the soft kernel inside got pulverised. Sadly.
But all was not lost. Because it led to some interesting questions (funny; that happens quite a lot in Class 2i). What, we wondered, do you do with olives? We already know you can eat them (quite a lot of us like them) and Virginia remembered they are used on pizza (she would; Italian, you see!) Then Owen told us that they are used for olive oil.
So where does the oil come from then? 'They squeeze the fruit,' explained Tommy.
Well, without further ado, we went back to our pulverised olive and touched it. Hmm. Possibly the merest bit 'oily'. In fact we performed a little test for oiliness. We rubbed a bit of the olive fruit onto a piece of paper and then did the same with the pulverised kernel.
Then we held the paper up to the light and detected a tiny translucent oily patch when we held it to the light.
Of course, the next thing we wondered was whether all hard seeds have soft kernels which contain oil.....
We have already attacked Dasha's plum seed (her nice healthy choice of snack) with our hammer (better success that time, although the soft kernel we found was rather withered and too small to test).
But what about sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds?
Walnut seeds or hazelnut seeds?
Or even orange or lemon seeds?