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Power Pollinators: Insect Inventory

Grade Level Grades 3-8

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Materials: journalling materials (notebook and pencil), camera (optional)

*This lesson requires access to the outdoors and an area where there are flowers (does not need to be sunflowers).

Objective:

Pursue an understanding of the importance of pollinators for a garden, agriculture and the wild by conducting a detailed inventory of pollinators (bees, flys, moths etc.) on a specific plant over a period of time.

Instructions

1. Watch the video (3 min) "Power Pollinators: Sunflowers" https://youtu.be/LVbbYLD2t6w

2.Choose 1 or more days to take at least 15 minutes and watch a particular type of flower for pollinator action. The students will inventory every time a pollinator comes to the flower. (the same pollinator returning to the flower counts as 2). Weather can vary but generally sunnier weather is best. Tally the number of visits within a 15 minute period.

3. Determine whether the chosen flower is native to the area or not. Non native plants will often not have as many visitors and the types of pollinators may be different. In order to demonstrate this through investigation, have the students come up with a hypotheses for how attractive their flower is to pollinators and why, then use the data collected to direct learning.

4. For more advanced students, try to begin to identify each of the different species that are visiting the flower.  Creating a grid on a piece of paper and labeling different squares with likely pollinators will allow students to tally quickly based on species.

5. The more visits to the flowers the more accurate the pollinator count will be. As a class, compare notes on the the different results. 

Debrief:

What does the data show about the difference in pollinator attraction of native plants compared to non-native plants?

Which type of flower had the most visits from pollinators?

Which flower had the largest diversity of pollinator species?

Which flowers attracted the least number of pollinators?

Is there a noticeable difference between native and non-native plants?

Additional Resources:

The Great Sunflower Project: https://www.greatsunflower.org/

The Power of Pollinators PBS: (6 min. video) https://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/power-pollinators-xr2zez/27277/

www.originateve.org

Resources

Videos
Power Pollinators Sunflowers
Remote video URL

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