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Power of Flowers Unit
Mystery 1 of 4
Why do plants grow flowers?
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DISCUSS:

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

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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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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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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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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 expensive 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
lemonade stand by Joshua Ommen , used under CC BY-SA
ice cream by Davgood Kirshot
grocery store aisle by Bidgee , used under CC BY-SA
chocolate syrup by Daniel Oines , used under CC BY-SA
ice cream by stu_spivack , used under CC BY-SA
Vanilla Beans by Alphaomega1010 , used under CC BY-SA
vanilla seed pods by B.navez , used under CC BY-SA
trowel by walkersalmanac
plant with dying flowers by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Kletr
greenhouse by Pastorius , used under CC BY-SA
Vanilla pompona by H. Zell , used under CC BY-SA
person on laptop by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Andrey Popov
bees/flowers by MrWallybutler
bee/flower by Bernie Kohl
lavender seeds by Hans Braxmeier
babies by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Gelpi JM
sprout by lanailic
spring flower w/bee by Dirk Fuhlert
bee with pollen by gailhampshire , used under CC BY-SA
George Washington Carver by Alabama Department of Archives and History , used under Public Domain
plant pollen by Madecasse
clock in grass by Alexas_Fotos
Vanilla bahiana by Orchi , used under CC BY-SA
kid with headache by espies
bee/rose by motoronna
lily flower by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: AN NGUYEN
animated grad cap by ClkerFreeVectorImages
animated mag glass by OpenClipartVectors
bee inside flower by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: ileana_bt
bee flower pollen by Vita Serendipity
bee tongue by pam newcombe
animated juicebox by OpenClipartVectors
maple syrup by Miguel Andrade
tree by Bruce Marlin , used under CC BY-SA
sugar by 422737
sugar cane by parhessiastes , used under CC BY-SA
Activity
white lily by alex grichenko
two bees by Waugsberg , used under CC BY-SA
Overview
Grade 3rd
Topic Plant Life Cycle & Heredity
Focus Flowering & Reproduction
Print
Activity Prep

In this Mystery, students learn how and why flowers are pollinated. In the activity, Make a Flower, students make flower models out of paper and bee models out of pipe cleaners. Students fly their bees from flower to flower and observe what happens to the flower’s pollen during this process.

Preview activity

Number of students:
Glue Sticks
15 glue sticks
Markers
Three different colors for each student and one of them should be green. Crayons or colored pencils also work.
Details
90 markers
Scissors
30 pairs
Dixie Cups (3 oz)
16 cups
File Folder Labels (Stickers)
We prefer stickers because they are easier to distribute in a classroom. Tape also works.
Details
30 labels
Pipe Cleaners
90 pipe cleaners
Pollen Variety 1 (Ex. Cinnamon)
Cornmeal will also work.
Details
4 ounces
Pollen Variety 2 (Ex. Ground Coffee)
Ground sage or ground dill will also work.
Details
4 ounces
Make a Flower printout Print 30 copies
Prep Instructions

We suggest students work in pairs. Homeschool students can work on their own, but will need to make two flower models and may need a partner to help with a few steps of the activity.

Prepare “Pollen” Cups

So they can observe that pollen is transferred from one flower to another, you will need to provide students with two different kinds of pollen. In half the cups, spoon about a tablespoon of one of the “pollen” types (e.g. cinnamon). In the other half of the cups, spoon about a tablespoon of the other “pollen” type (e.g. ground coffee). Groups of four students will be sharing two cups of “pollen."


Classroom Management Tip

To avoid distractions, we suggest waiting to distribute the “pollen” cups to students until Step 9 of the activity.

Overview
Grade 3rd
Topic Plant Life Cycle & Heredity
Focus Flowering & Reproduction