I am trying to do more plant biology with the kids but they are not naturally that interested in plants, however I have realized that whenever we look at plants from an animal angle then both kids get involved and absorb the information. So instead of looking at the parts of a flower that are needed for pollination we looked at what animals are pollinators and how the different animals are attracted to different plants (are they nocturnal, do they smell, are they close to the ground, can the insect land on the petal etc.) and it seems to really have worked. By taking the angle of what does the creature pollinating the plant require the kids have ended up learning quite a lot about the structure of the flower and how it can differ without even realizing it.
We started with our Plants, Pollen and Pollinators: Band 13/Topaz (Collins Big Cat) book which showed lots of different pollinators and explains how different creatures are attracted to different plants. I must say the photos included in this reader have been excellent.
After reading this book the kids had some definite guides that they had figured out
- Insects need to land on petals whereas bird or bat pollinators just hover.
- Insect pollinators tend to transport the pollen via their bodies whereas birds and other small animals tend to transport the pollen on their face.
- Smell is very important for nocturnal pollinators.
And a few more. But the fact was after reading the book the kids starting picking up the patterns.
In fact it inspired the kids to try and create their own summaries of the different pollinators that they had read about.
We also expanded it a bit and started talking about animal pollination verses wind pollination and how the flowers are different. We found some great flower picture cards on the Teachit Science website which clearly showed the difference in the flowers that are animal pollinated and those that are wind pollinated. There is also a worksheet they have on wind pollination (Teachit Science wind verses insect pollination). Just to mention the blue line in the photo is me needing to change the ink in my printer, it is not the download
And we even went onto a bit more detail about the flowers (because as my son pointed out to me you need to understand the parts of a flower to understand how they are adapted for different pollinators). The pages we used were also from the Teachit Science website (Teachit Science Plant Reproduction)
The pages I have used are Free to download from the Teachit Science website. (You need to set up a free account). The resources are created for secondary school and I think I will be using the site a lot more for my daughter as I found a number of interesting pages on their website.
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