Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bees and Pollination Activity

We have talked about pollination before, during our Flower Unit, but it was good to review it from the bee's point of view. :) I'm sorry to say I have never before noticed the pollen baskets (good picture here) on the legs of bees I've seen flying around, but from now on I will always look for them!

This activity (best for younger kids, really) demonstrates how a bee gathers pollen on her "fur" while sipping nectar from flowers. It's easy to set up: put some small item in the bottom of a plastic cup (we had leftover starbursts) and then fill the cup with Cheetos or some kind of cheesy chip. 
I traced the circle at the mouth of the cup and drew a flower around it, then cut an X in the middle of the flower. Tape the paper flower on to the cup. We made three of these flower cups.
Have your little Bees reach for the nectar at the bottom of the cup. As they do, their fingers become covered with "pollen." Then, show how when they reach into the next cup, they leave orange "pollen" on that flower too.

We also did a simple demonstration of how a bee forms pollen balls. As she gathers the dusty pollen grains on her fur, she scrapes them together and packs them into the "pollen basket" on her back leg. As she packs the individual grains in tighter and tighter, they stick together and form granules, like those in the picture above.
We tried it with brown sugar, picking up the little grains of sugar and then packing them into a teaspoon with our fingers. Then we looked at the little "pollen granules" we had formed.

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