Without pollination, we would not have flowers, fruits, or many vegetables that we enjoy each day. However, it is sometimes hard to see why honeybees and other pollinators play such a big role in our lives. This exercise will help students to visualize the necessity of pollination and of healthy pollinators in the ecosystem. Students will assume the roles of various types of pollinators and go on to produce a dramatic presentation that outlines the interconnectedness of various processes.
- Students will be able to identify, describe, and explain pollination
- Students will be able explain why pollination is critical to producing the fruits we eat
- Students will be able to explain why it is necessary to have healthy pollinators to do a good job.
Grade Level: 5-6
- One class period
- Paper Cups (One per "bee" student)
- Basket (One per "flower" student)
- One piece of 11.5 x 17" paper per student
- About 100 - 200 small pom poms. Half blue, half red
Before the Lesson
Watch the video clip, The Bounty of Bees to help them get acquainted with the issue. Students should also be familiar with the concept of migration, for which the resources Ladybug Pajama Party and Gray Whale Obstacle Course may be helpful.
Part I: Groups and Roles
1. Tell groups that today you will be putting on a 2 minute play with the class about pollination. There will be four different roles:
- Honey bees (normal)
- Honey bees that cannot fly
- Flowers – this should be a slightly larger group
2. Put the students into four different groups - One different role per group
Part II: Designing the Coustume
3. Tell students that they will need to design a costume for themselves for the play today. The costumes will be posters that they will wear during the play. Their poster should have on it:
- A pictorial representation of their role
- Title - what role they are playing
- Short explanation of their role (no more than two sentences
4. Hand out the paper and the markers. Circulate the room explaining each role to the student groups:
- Honey bees (normal): will go around as fast as they can and TAKE 3 BLUE pollen grains (pom poms) from each “flower” and GIVE 1 pollen grain to each flower that they go to.
- Honey bees that cannot fly: will stay at their hive the entire time (have them cheer on other bees)
- Honey bees that are slow/sick because of parasites: will walk in super slow motion to each flower that they can get to and TAKE 3 RED pollen grains (pom poms) from each “flower” and GIVE 1 pollen grain to each flower that they go to.
- Flowers: will have large baskets filled with pom poms to represent pollen. Flowers will be scattered around the room at different spots
5. When students are ready with their posters/costumes, have them affix them to the front of their clothing.
Part III: The Two-Minute Play
6. Distribute the students representing the flowers around the roomRemind everyone of their roles one, final time before starting the 2-minute timer allowing for the bees to play out their roles.
Part IV: Data and Reflection
8. Have each group count the pollen that they have collected and record them in the charts on the data sheet you made earlier ("A" and "B") which correspond with the appropriate group.
- The bee groups count their pollen grains and record on chart "b" in their notes.
- for the flowers, have each flower copy and fill out chart "a"
9. Write the following questions on the board. Allow students ten to fifteen minutes to copy and answer the questions.
- Which type of bee had the most pollen grains in their cups/hive? Why do you think this is?
- What do you think that the “cup” represents?
- Why did each bee give 1 pollen grain to the each flower that they came to?
- Which color of pollen did flowers have the most of at the end? Why is this important to think about?
Part V: Discussion and Assesment
10. Allow students three to five minutes to discuss answers in their small groups
11. Discuss answers to the questions with the class -- there can either be a reporter, or you can call out individuals, or whichever reporting method you choose.
12. Students will receive three component grades for the play:
- An assessment of their written answers to the questions
- An assessment of their poster
- An assessment of their participation as: a group member, an audience member during discussion, a contributor to the 2 minute play