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Power of Flowers    Mystery 1

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In this Mystery students learn how and why flowers are pollinated. In the activity students create a model of a flower.

Why do plants grow flowers?

Beginning Exploration (1 of 12)
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Beginning Exploration (2 of 12)

DISCUSS:

Why are bees important? What do you know about “pollination”?

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Beginning Exploration (3 of 12)
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Beginning Exploration (4 of 12)

DISCUSS (1 of 4):

Can you find the pollen dusters and the stigma on this flower?

Poppy

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DISCUSS (2 of 4):

Can you find the pollen dusters and the stigma on this flower?

Daffodil

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DISCUSS (3 of 4):

Where are the pollen dusters and the stigma on this flower?

Cinquefoil

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DISCUSS (4 of 4):

Now that you know the stigma needs pollen on it, in order for the seed pod to grow, what can you do in your greenhouse?

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Beginning Exploration (8 of 12)
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Beginning Activity: Make a Flower
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Beginning Exploration (9 of 12)
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Beginning Exploration (10 of 12)

DISCUSS:

So now what would you do, in order to get your vanilla plants to form seed pods?

In case it’s not obvious by now…

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Beginning Exploration (11 of 12)
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video 5

Beginning Exploration (12 of 12)

DISCUSS:

What other animals drink nectar from flowers? (Hint... Think of other animals you’ve noticed hanging around flowers.)

Here are some examples we thought of…

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Get supplies and print handouts.

In this activity, your students will make flowers from paper and bees from pipe cleaners. They’ll fly their bees from flower to flower, carrying pollen.

Each student will need:

  • a Make-a-Flower sheet and a Flower Base sheet —print them here
  • markers or colored pencils to color with (green and two other colors)
  • scissors
  • two or three pipe cleaners
  • a sticky label (you can buy these at an office supply store or Amazon. If you have old address labels, you can use those instead.)
  • a glue stick (students can share)

To see that pollen is transferred from one flower to another, students need two different kinds of pollen. For each table, you need:

  • two small paper cups
  • a tablespoon of pollen for each cup

Here are powders that work as pollen and are available at the grocery store. Choose two.

  • ground coffee
  • cornmeal
  • cinnamon
  • ground sage or dill weed
Beginning Activity: Make a Flower
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Beginning Complete!

You've completed the Exploration & Activity!

If you have more time, view the assessment, reading and extension activity in the optional extras.

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Optional Extras

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity & exploration which you just completed.
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Reading: Flowers Go Bats!

Bees, butterflies, and birds aren't the only animals that pollinate plants. This reading describes how the Saguaro cactus depends on bats to move pollen from flower to flower.

If your students are interested in seeing how bats pollinate plants, show them these amazing photos of bats in action. (Click on a photo to enlarge it.)

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Activity: Lily Dissection

Lily flowers are easy to take apart. Children can find the stigma and pollen rods easily and can often find eggs in the flower’s ovary. Each child needs:

  • a flower to dissect. Day lilies are larger and easy to dissect, but they’re expensive. Peruvian Lilies (also called Alstroemeria) are less inexpensive and also work well.
  • a worksheet with directions for the flower you chose: Peruvian Lily or Day Lily .
  • an Operating Table sheet
  • a butter knife or plastic knife
  • a magnifying glass (optional)
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Activity: A Bouquet of Flower Parts

You can extend the Flower Dissection activity by bringing in a mixed bouquet of flowers. Let students examine a variety of flowers and look for the parts that they found in the dissection. Finding the pistil, stamens, and ovary will be easy in some flowers — irises, tulips, amaryllis, daffodils, and gladiolus flowers all have parts similar to the lily.

Finding these parts in daisies, dandelions, and sunflowers can be much more challenging. These blossoms are actually made of many tiny flowers packed together, with parts too small to see without magnification.

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Activity: Garden Observation

Spend a sunny afternoon watching what pollinators visit the flowers in a garden. Have each student choose a flower that's in the sunlight and watch it for 5 minutes. Have them write down what pollinators visit their flower and how long they remain in or on the flower. Students can describe or draw the flower, noting what might attract insects to the flower.

Back in the classroom, discuss what students noticed. Did certain insects visit one type of flower more than others?

For more ideas on observation in the garden, check out the Pollinators in the Garden and other activities from the Denver Urban Garden.

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Activity Extension: More Paper Flowers

If you liked making paper flowers for this mystery, here are some ways to take that activity further.

  • Experiment with where you put the sticky stigma. Can you make a flower where the bee ALWAYS gets pollen on the stigma when he enters the flower?
  • Make a garden of flowers of different colors using construction paper or coloring the flower template.
  • Make flowers of different shapes. You can make a narrower cone using the flower template. Just cut off the gray triangle and overlap two or three petals.
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Image & Video Credits

Mystery Science respects the intellectual property rights of the owners of visual assets. We make every effort to use images and videos under appropriate licenses from the owner or by reaching out to the owner to get explicit permission. If you are the owner of a visual and believe we are using it without permission, please contact us—we will reply promptly and make things right.

Exploration
ice cream by stu_spivack , used under CC BY-SA
greenhouse by Pastorius , used under CC BY-SA
Vanilla pompona by H. Zell , used under CC BY-SA
Vanilla bahiana by Orchi , used under CC BY-SA
tree by Bruce Marlin , used under CC BY-SA
Activity
two bees by Waugsberg , used under CC BY-SA
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