- Describe why some plants need to be pollinated
- Describe ways to facilitate pollination in the Lab
Pollinators are one of the most critical participants in the natural world. Approximately 30% of the fruits and vegetables we eat would cease to exist if it weren’t for the largely unrecognized efforts of pollinators.
Recent efforts have been made to stabilize the bee populations in the northern hemisphere as unforeseen hive collapses have become commonplace. Often attributed to the overuse of chemical pesticides and herbicides, these collapses serve as the canary in the coalmine. Will we heed the warning? Will we change our processes to accommodate the bees and other pollinators? We sure hope so.
In the absence of pollinators, like the conditions in our indoor Edible Learning Labs, we must take on that task ourselves and hand-pollinate some crops. Though this is possible on a small scale it would be impossible at a scale large enough to feed the World.
Tools & Materials
- Fresh flowers
- Flat screen or SMART Board to stream video
- Abiotic pollination
- Biotic pollination
Introduction (10 minutes)
Begin the lesson with a review of the anatomy of a flower. Explain the role that each part plays in the pollination process and identify the male and female parts.
Activity (20 minutes)
Give each Student a flower and have them identify it as male or female if possible. Using just their hands, have them dissect the flower part by part.
Discussion (10 minutes)
What do flowers use to attract pollinators? What do insects pick up when they touch a flower? What role does that play in pollination?
Assessment (5 minutes)
Use the following questions to assess the Students before and after the lesson. Tally the responses of the group in the Assessment Tracking Log for comparison:
- By a show of hands, how many of you can explain how pollination works?
- Now that you understand the pollination process, how many of you think you could explain the process to someone else so that they would understand it?
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