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Pollination Parties!Pollination-Parties

  • Subject:
  • |
  • Grade(s): K-5
  • |
  • Duration: One to Two class periods

Lesson Plan Sections


Students will:
1. understand the pollination process and show examples of bee pollination on specific plants
2. understand the interdependence between insects, plants, and humans
3. understand that insects can have a negative impact on their ecosystem.


For this lesson, you will need:
access to a library or reference books on bees, butterflies, and pollination
copies ofPollination Parties worksheet
markers or colored pencils


1. Review the concept of pollination with students. Explain that pollination is the process of moving pollen from one plant to another. It is through this process that plant reproduction happens. Briefly discuss the importance of plant reproduction to all living things.
2. Review the ways in which bees and butterflies pollinate plants as they get food for themselves. Bees, while sipping nectar from flowers, get pollen stuck on various parts of their bodies. This pollen then rubs off on certain parts of the next flower that they fly to. Bees are the most important pollinators in nature.
3. Explain to students that they are going to find out more about the "pollination parties" that are taking place on farms around the world. Pass out thePollination Parties worksheet. Students will start the activity by thinking about how bees make people uncomfortable through the Imagine question. Then they will consider some of the plant products that benefit from bee pollination.
4. Ask each student to select a plant from the worksheet and use the library or Internet, or both, to conduct research on the plant and how it is pollinated.
5. Allow time for research and completion of the Pollination Parties worksheet. When students have completed their work, compile each worksheet into a class book on pollination for your media center, and then lead a discussion about the ways in which bees are useful to people.

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Begin with a brief explanation of pollination, as in the activity described above, but then have your students draw a comic strip that illustrates pollination (as described on thePollination Parties worksheet). Frame one, for example, would show a bee or butterfly looking for food. Frame two would show it settling on a flower and sipping nectar while pollen gets caught on its body. Frame three would show it flying off looking for more food. Frame four would show it settling on a new flower with pollen from the last flower rubbing off on the new one. They could then write one or more summary sentences under each frame.

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Discussion Questions

1. Worker bees have stingers that are bent at the tip. When a worker bee stings something, its stinger gets stuck in its victim. When the worker pulls away, it loses its stinger—then dies! Queen bees, on the other hand, have straight stingers that can be used over and over again. Why should the queen have a better stinger?
2. Bees are terrific fliers. They can fly forward, backward, and sideways, and they can even hover! If scientists built an airplane that could fly like a bee, what would it look like? Would it have wings? Propellers? What shape would it be?

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Allow your students time to share their findings from their research. You can assess their worksheets using a simple three-point rubric:
  • Three points: complete facts, detailed drawing, well-written responses complete with many supporting details
  • Two points: some facts, adequate details in drawing, satisfactory responses with some supporting details
  • One point: few facts, vague or inaccurate drawing, limited responses with little or no supporting details

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There's More to Bees Than Stingers!
Bees are useful to the plants they feed on. Yet bees often get a bad reputation because of their stingers. Have students design posters that will change the negative image of bees so that people appreciate them more. Drawings could show bees as helpful farmhands. Ask them to include a catchy slogan.

Did an Insect Help Make This?
Have students make a list of all the fruits and vegetables in their homes and at school and then conduct research to find out whether the farmers who raise these crops rely on bee pollination.

Butterfly and Bee Buzz Words
Have students create an illustrated dictionary of butterfly and bee vocabulary. For each word, students should provide the definition and a small illustration. Compile the images into a class reference book or scan them for publication on your school's Web site.

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Suggested Readings

The Magic School Bus: Inside a Beehive
Joanna Cole. Scholastic Press, 1998.
Join Mrs. Frizzle and her class as they visit the inside of a beehive! Watch her students become busy worker bees who participate in all the hive activities: gathering and storing honey, caring for the larva bees, and following a swarm of bees as they establish a new hive.

An Extraordinary Life: The Story of a Monarch Butterfly
Laurence Pringle. Orchard Books, 1997.
Experience in exquisite detail the life of a monarch butterfly, starting with her late summer birth in a Massachusetts field and her transformation from caterpillar to butterfly. Continue as she travels on an amazing journey to Mexico for the winter months, mates in the spring, and then migrates back to Arkansas to lay her eggs, completing her life cycle.

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All About Butterflies
This Enchanted Learning site is a colorful combination of textual information and clearly labeled diagrams and pictures providing data on topics such as anatomy, species, senses, differences between butterflies and moths, and more. Especially useful is the illustrated dictionary of butterfly terms.

Nature: Alien Empire
This PBS Online site shows a terrific diagram of a worker bee that allows you to click on various body parts, both inside and out, to learn about their functions.

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Click on any of the vocabulary words below to hear them pronounced and used in a sentence.

speaker    carnivore
Definition: Any of an order of flesh-eating mammals.
Context: Lions and sharks, which eat meat, are carnivores.

speaker    herbivore
Definition: A plant-eating animal.
Context: Pandas and zebras, which only eat plants, are herbivores.

speaker    metamorphosis
Definition: A marked and more or less abrupt developmental change in the form or structure of an animal occurring subsequent to birth or hatching.
Context: A butterfly undergoes metamorphosis at different life stages, changing its physical form.

speaker    nectar
Definition: A sweet liquid that is secreted by the nectaries of a plant and is the chief raw material of honey.
Context: Nectar gives many flowers their smell.

speaker    pollination
Definition: The transfer of pollen from an anther to the stigma in angiosperms or from the microsporangium to the micropyle in gymnosperms.
Context: Bees help with the pollination of plants by moving pollen from one plant to another, helping the plants to reproduce.

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This lesson plan may be used to address the academic standards listed below. These standards are drawn from Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education: 2nd Edition and have been provided courtesy of theMid-continent Research for Education and Learningin Aurora, Colorado.
Grade level: K-2, 3-5, 6-8
Subject area: science
Understands how species depend on one another and on the environment for survival.
Knows that living things are found almost everywhere in the world and that distinct environments support the life of different types of plants and animals.
Knows that all organisms (including humans) cause changes in their environments and that these changes can be beneficial or detrimental. Knows ways in which species interact and depend on one another in an ecosystem (e.g., producer/consumer, predator/prey, parasite/host, relationships that are mutually beneficial or competitive).

Grade level: 3-5
Subject area: science
Knows about the diversity and unity that characterize life.
Knows that plants and animals progress through life cycles of birth, growth and development, reproduction, and death and that the details of these life cycles are different for different organisms.

Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: science
Understands the genetic basis for the transfer of biological characteristics from one generation to the next.
Knows that reproduction is a characteristic of all living things and is essential to the continuation of a species.

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Jesse Kraft, an elementary school teacher in Virginia and freelance educator.

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