Meanwood Valley Urban Farm1
Flowers and pollen
Welcome, introduce leaders
Have you seen any flowers today?
What are flowers for?
A flower is the seed-making machine of a plant. Today we are going to find out how the plant makes seeds with its flowers.
How are seeds made? Do they just grow from the plant?
No. Seeds are made by transferring pollen (usually a yellow dust inside a flower) from one flower to another of the same type of plant. This is known as pollination. The pollen then fertilises the ovary – the female part of the flower; and the seeds begin to grow inside it.
So pollen needs to move around in order to make seeds, but how does it do it?
WIND: Wind pollinates by blowing pollen around from plant to plant. Wind pollinated flowers are usually small and unnoticeable, found on grasses and some trees.
So this leaves the flowers we recognise: colourful, pretty and scented, all for the benefit of…
INSECTS: Colourful flowers are not attractive for our benefit, but for the insects such as bees which pollinate them. They are bright billboards that advertise the sweet nectar usually deep inside the flower. They even have landing lines that direct the bee to the nectar. But as the bee delves inside to reach it, it gets covered with yellow pollen. It is very likely that the bee will fly to many flowers of the same type of plant during the day, pollinating them one by one.
Take pupils on guided tour, showing them wind pollinated flowers and insect pollinated flowers. Show them the different parts of a flower. Collect some flowers to stick on the worksheet. After tour, move inside and stick pollen on the worksheet and draw the parts of a flower.
Put different coloured water in each of the film canisters attached to the flowers. The children should be split into three teams. The aim is for each member of the team to have pollinated a flower. To pollinate a flower, they take a pipette full of water from on flower and squirt it in another. The winners are the team that finish first.