Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix
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Flower Power (Grades 6-8)
6 - 8
Two 40-minute sessions
Students will observe physical characteristics of flowers and explore principles of pollination.
- Cut flowers, 1 per student
- Contact a local florist and ask if they have some old flowers they will be discarding; look for flowers that exhibit easily identifiable parts: lilies, roses, tulips, columbines, irises, petunias, snapdragons, and sunflowers)
- 5-gallon bucket with water to store the cut flowers
- The Basic Parts of a Flower handout
- Clear tape
- Flower Power activity sheet, 1 per student
- Parts of a Flower Poster
- 6" x 6" colored origami paper,* 4–5 pieces of each color per student
- Green chenille stems (15 mm x 12"),* 1 per student
- White chenille stems (6 mm x 6"),* 1 per student
- Yellow chenille stems (6 mm x 6"),* 4 per student
- Green bump chenille stems (15 mm x 12"),* 1 per student
- Green tissue paper (3" x 3"),* 1 per student
- Yellow pony beads (6 mm x 9 mm),* 2 per student
- White pony beads (6 mm x 9 mm),* 5 per student
- Glue sticks
- Origami Flower Instructions PowerPoint
*These materials are included in the Origami Parts of a Flower Kit, which is available for purchase.
- 4–5 treat bags (treats selected at your discretion)
- Honey, I’d Love to Dance handout
- Written directions to each hidden treat bag
stamen: male parts of a flower, including the anther (produces and contains pollen) and filament (stalk supporting the anther)
pistil: female parts of a flower, including the stigma (where pollen lands), style (stalk-like part between stigma and ovary), and ovary (at the base, develops into the fruit and contains the seeds)
pollenizer: plant that provides pollen
pollinator: agent that moves pollen resulting in the pollination of flowers
Did you know? (Ag Facts)
- About one-third of the total human diet is derived directly or indirectly from insect-pollinated plants.
- An estimated 80% of insect crop pollination is accomplished by honey bees.
- While pumpkins and other squash are self-pollinating, they are a bit unique. The flowers on these plants are considered “incomplete” because the flowers are either male or female. The pollen-bearing male flowers contribute the pollen to the female, fruit-bearing, flowers.
Background Agricultural Connections
Interest Approach – Engagement
- Ask students to think about where fruit comes from. Ask the following questions to stimulate discussion and assess your students' prior knowledge:
- "What do you see on a fruit tree in the early spring?"
- "Do all flowers on a fruit tree become fruit?"
- "Why is it common to see bee boxes in fruit orchards?"
- "Why are bees an important agricultural resource?"
Activity 1: Flower Dissection
- Collect flowers in advance, and store them in the 5-gallon bucket with water in the bottom. Dissect a few flowers, and place them on card stock or a sheet of paper; label the parts.
- Discuss the background information with your class. Explain to your students that they are going to examine, dissect, and label the parts of the flower that are associated with pollination and seed formation.
- Read and discuss the Basic Parts of a Flower handout as a class, or have students read the handout individually or in small groups.
- Give each student a copy of the Flower Power activity sheet, clear tape, and a piece of card stock or paper. Have 6–7 pairs of scissors located centrally in the classroom.
- Using the Parts of a Flower Poster (see Materials) as a guide, instruct the students to first label the flower parts on the Flower Power activity sheet.
- Show students the previously dissected flowers. Explain that flower dissection requires precision and a “light touch.” Rough handling of the flower will destroy the parts that need to be labeled. Give each student a flower. Have the students carefully dissect the flower and tape the parts onto their card stock or paper.
- Ask the students to label each flower part. They should use the Flower Power activity sheet as a reference.
- Discuss the following questions:
- Are some flowers easier to dissect than others?
- Were some parts easier to identify than others?
- Did every flower contain pollen? Why or why not?
- How do you think your flower is pollinated?
- Can you predict the size and shape of the seeds that may be produced by the flower based on how the flower looks?
- If your flower were self-pollinated, and its seeds were planted, what would the flowers of its offspring look like? What if it were cross-pollinated?
Activity 2: Origami Flower Model
- Explain to the students that they will be creating an origami flower to model the parts of a flower.
- Follow the instructions on the Origami Flower PowerPoint to create the flower petals.
- Each student should add the following parts to their flower:
- The white chenille stem represents the style. Use one yellow pony bead to represent the ovary, and attach it to the bottom of the style.
- The yellow chenille stems represent the filaments. Push the white and yellow chenille stems up through the bottom center hole of the origami flower. Trim the chenille stems to the desired length, making sure the white chenille stem is slightly taller than the yellow chenille stems.
- Create the stigma and anthers by attaching a yellow pony bead to the top of the style and white pony beads to the tops of each filament.
- Use green tissue paper to create the sepal. Poke a small hole into the center of the sepal with the sharp point of a pencil. Glue the sepal around the bottom of the origami flower petals.
- Place the green chenille stem into the bottom hole of the flower. Create leaves around the stem using the green bump chenille stems.
- Ask the students to use their flower models to point out each part of the flower and explain the parts’ functions.
Activity 3: The Bee Dance
This activity needs lots of room. Try it outside!
- Ask students how humans communicate non-verbally (body language, hand signals, facial expressions). Have a few to demonstrate in a charades-type manner.
- Review the Honey, I’d Love To Dance handout. Discuss both dances and what each movement means.
- Divide the class into teams of 4–5, depending on class size. Have each team choose a scout. This student/bee will find the food source (treat bag) and communicate its whereabouts through bee dances to the team members.
- Give each scout written directions to a different treat bag (that you have hidden), and then send the scouts out to find them. Do not let the other students witness their search.
- When the scouts return, have them communicate the direction and distance of the treat bag to their team members using either the round dance or the waggle dance. No verbal or “human” body language allowed!
- Once all the teams have found their reward, follow up with a class discussion about the ease or difficulty of communicating through dance. Is it difficult to judge distance without a tape measure or other tools? Do they believe honey bees are intelligent creatures?
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation
After conducting these activities, review and summarize the following key concepts:
- There are many parts of a flower.
- Flowers can be beautiful to look at, but some flowers develop into food that we eat. All fruits and even some vegetables develop from the flower of a plant.
- A flower must be pollinated before it will produce a fruit. This can be done by insects such as bees.
- Pollination is important in producing our food. Pollinators like bees are one example of a natural resource used in agriculture.
Further explore the world of bees and pollination with these two, half-hour videos from America's Heartland:
Something has been happening that concerns farmers, especially citrus and nut growers, everywhere: there's less "buzz" in the air. Bees are disappearing. While apiarists - bee farmers - try to determine the cause of "disappearing hive syndrome," some are seeing a new business opportunity in taking their bees on the road.
California almond farmers grow 80% of the world’s almond supply and almost 100% of the US almond crop, generating more than 1.5 billion dollars a year in revenue. But to pollinate trees and grow those almonds, you need bees, lots of bees!
Suggested Companion Resources
- Beebuzz (Activity)
- Shape, Form, and Function in the Garden (Activity)
- Wisconsin Fast Plants® (Activity)
- The Life and Times of the Honeybee (Book)
- Origami Parts of a Flower (Kit)
- Honey Bee Study Prints (Poster, Map, Infographic)
- Parts of a Flower Poster (Poster, Map, Infographic)
- Bees: Tales from the Hive (Multimedia)
- How It's Made: Honey (Multimedia)
- NMSU Field Trip: Honey (Multimedia)
- The Honey Files (Multimedia)
- Wings of Life (Multimedia)
- Conserving Pollinators: A Primer for Gardeners (Website)
- Pollen Gallery (Website)
- Utah State University Bee Lab (Website)
State Standards for Utah
Grade 7: Science Standard 4Students will understand that offspring inherit traits that make them more or less suitable to survive in the environment.
Objective 1Compare how sexual and asexual reproduction passes genetic information from parent to offspring. Meeting one or more of the following indicators: a) Distinguish between inherited and acquired traits. b) Contrast the exchange of genetic information in sexual and asexual reproduction (e.g., number of parents, variation of genetic material). c) Cite examples of organisms that reproduce sexually (e.g., rats, mosquitoes, salmon, sunflowers) and those that reproduce asexually (e.g., hydra, planaria, bacteria, fungi, cuttings from house plants). d) Compare inherited structural traits of offspring and their parents.
Objective 2Relate the adaptability of organisms in an environment to their inherited traits and structures. Meeting one or more of the following indicators: a) Predict why certain traits (e.g., structure of teeth, body structure, coloration) are more likely to offer an advantage for survival of an organism. b) Cite examples of traits that provide an advantage for survival in one environment but not other environments. c) Cite examples of changes in genetic traits due to natural and manmade influences (e.g., mimicry in insects, plant hybridization to develop a specific trait, breeding of dairy cows to produce more milk). d) Relate the structure of organs to an organism’s ability to survive in a specific environment (e.g., hollow bird bones allow them to fly in air, hollow structure of hair insulates animals from hot or cold, dense root structure allows plants to grow in compact soil, fish fins aid fish in moving in water).
Agricultural Literacy Outcomes
Agriculture and the Environment
- Discover how natural resources are used and conserved in agriculture (e.g., soil conservation, water conservation, water quality, and air quality) (T1.6-8.c)
Common Core Connections
Language: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.6Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.
Plant Science Systems Career Pathway
PS.02.02Apply knowledge of plant anatomy and the functions of plant structures to activities associated with plant systems.
MS-LS1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
MS-LS1-4Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants, respectively.
MS-LS3 Heredity: Inheritance and Variations of Traits
MS-LS3-2Develop and use a model to describe why asexual reproduction results in offspring with identical genetic information and sexual reproduction results in offspring with genetic variation.