MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Pollination: Saying It with Flowers

Naomi Volain
Science Teacher
Springfield Central High School
Springfield, Massachusetts

This lesson focuses on the process of pollination. The learning objectives include learning the anatomy and physiology of flowers, the ecology of pollination, and a focus on plants as essential players in the natural world. This lesson is intended to be an introduction to the process of pollination and is not designed for advanced biology students and those taking an AP course. There are no prerequisites for the lesson. The lesson will take 1½ hours, or 2 class periods or more -- depending on the areas teachers want to spend more time on or how far in depth they want their students to go. Materials needed are colored modeling clay, 8 or more assorted fresh flowers or pictures of flowers, preferably native to the local ecosystem. Dissecting microscopes or magnifying glasses are great for examining the fresh flowers, but not necessary. Additionally, pictures of different subjects/objects amongst plants are needed for the last activity. Activities for the breaks include assessing student knowledge of flowers by model building, and examining flowers to determine and distinguish between the pollination anatomy of different flowers.

Naomi Volain is a Life Science teacher, and her teaching focuses on natural resources, investigation, inquiry, curiosity and excitement as the means to student learning and doing Science. She teaches Botany, Advanced Placement Environmental Science and its Lab, Ecology, Biology, and Pre-Advanced Placement Biology Lab classes. Field work is an important part of student work in all of her classes. Naomi is a NASA Network of Educator Astronaut Teacher and winner of a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, Massachusetts Science, 2011. She also received an Honorable Mention for the 2014 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators!

Sponsored by the Botanical Society of America, this site provides resources in the form of suggested readings, place of interest to visit and appropriate web links 

“Mighty Mutualisms: The Nature of Plant Pollinator Interactions,” presented by the Nature Education Knowledge Project 

Presented by National Geographic Education, this video on “People, Plants and Pollinators” explains the importance of bees and insects in making life on earth possible.

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This Lesson is in the following clusters: Botany