3 Ways to Teach Pollinators and Seed Dispersers in the Spring

5:53 PM

Here in Georgia, Spring has been wonderful. We've had cool temperatures, soaking rains at night and low humidity during the day. In this strange world of quarantine, distance learning, and staying at home, being outside has made life feel so much more normal! 

With our slowed daily pace, I have been taking daily walks in the mornings with my 4 year old son and and 6 year old daughter. Not having a packed daily schedule has been a blessing to this tired mama. A few weeks ago we started talking about all the ways we noticed spring had arrived. It prompted lots of self-discovery with my two, surrounding birds and plants. I wanted to share with you 3 ways I've found it helpful to teach pollinators and seed dispersal. 

 



1. Go for a Signs of Spring Hunt! 


My two miss going to school so much, so this day we loaded up their backpacks with pencils and paper (and a snack). We decided to focus our pictures and list on pollen and seeds. Once home, we watched (from a distance) the bees pollinating our blueberry bush and flowers in our yard. We took pictures of the center parts of flowers and talked about the parts of the plants. This connected our bee observations. My two had so many curious questions as they watched the pollinators at work!

We wrote about what we saw and turned our lists into spring poems. (Which led to deciding to paint flowers and decorate our windows for our neighbors...a little If you Give a Mouse a Cookie, moment, ha!)     

2. Use FOOD for Pollination Demonstration 

When I was teaching in the classroom, my students were ALL ears when food was involved- no surprise, so are my kids. 

Foods that have a colored powdered coating (Cheetos for example), can easily be used to show how pollen can attach to insects' bodies as they move from flower to flower. This is quickly prepped using brown paper bags. Students draw a flower on the front- this represents flowers growing outside. Then, pour the chips into each bag. Their hands represent the insect. Kids will go flower to flower, reaching into each bag and touching the pollen. They can also touch the outside flower pictures. What do they notice? It's a great visual to show how pollen can move from flower to flower- just make sure to have extra Cheetos on hand for students to actually eat when the learning is done. 👍


3. Create an Insect/Bird Model
Creating animals and insects that are pollinators or disperse seeds, is lots of fun! Last Spring, I made these models using supplies we hand in our art cabinet. We'd seen birds eating blueberries from our bush, so that prompted me to think about how I could use a clothes pin as a beak! This year, my kids are old enough to make models on their own. Set up is low prep in a classroom setting and it helps students demonstrate their understanding of pollination and seed dispersal. If you'd like a print/go STEAM/STEM version for your class, which also includes a mini-learning unit, check it out in my shop.  

How have you taught this concept? Please share what you've done to become part of the conversation.

Until Next Month...Keep exploring the world around you!

STEAM ON!

Stephanie Spivey 

by Stephanie @ Spivey Sparks

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