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Design a Pollinator
By: Rachel Hughes and Kirstin Bittel


Time: 2-3 class periods
Preparation Time: None
Materials: Colored Pencils
White Paper
Lined Paper


Abstract
During this lesson students will apply their understanding of basic plant and animal biology to design a pollinator(s) that is(are) well adapted to a given plant.

Purpose – Application of role of pollinators in plant re[production.

Objectives
Students will be able to:
i. Make a scientific drawing of a pollinator with at least 5 traits that make them well adapted to a given plant(s).
ii. Describe in their science notebook the adaptations that make their pollinator well suited to a given plant.

National Science Education Standards
Content Area C - The Interdependence of Organisms
Organisms both cooperate and compete in ecosystems. The interrelationships and interdependencies of these organisms may generate ecosystems that are stable for hundreds or thousands of years.


Teacher Background
Over time, some organisms have evolved special relationships that allow them to cooperate efficiently with other organisms. Some pollinators, like hummingbirds, have evolved long beaks that enable them to better pollinate long tubular flowers. Butterflies are also well adapted to pollinating tubular flowers due to their long proboscis. Bees on the other hand are much better adapted to florescences than tubular shaped flowers. Flower colors also play a role in attracting specific pollinators to help plants cross-pollinate and reproduce.

 

Activity

DAY ONE

1. Review the material learned in the lesson titled Flowers: Form and Function. Ask students to explain the form and the function of the major parts of a flower. What flower shapes are best suited to insects? Why? Birds? Why? (Spend some time discussing that not all plants that attract insect pollinators will attract the same type of insect.) What are the pros and cons of a flower having male and female organs on the same flower versus on separate flowers?

2. Next review the material from the film yesterday. What are some existing pollinators? What are some of their adaptations? How do these adaptations help the organism to better pollinate specific flowers?

3. Tell students that for the next 2 days they will be creating new pollinators to pollinate a given flower. Each pollinator will need to have a minimum of 5 adaptations that are designed to help it better pollinate the given flower.

4. Students will draw each pollinator in its environment on a half sheet of white paper (if you wish you may wish to have them create an actual model of the pollinator) and write a detailed paragraph explaining the adaptations and why they are beneficial on the other half of the paper.

5. Instruct them that this is meant to be a scientific illustration. Having some examples of scientific illustration available for students to review as a class. Ask students what are the common features that they see in these illustrations. What makes a particularly effective illustration? On the board identify the criteria students identify as important to a scientific illustration.

DAY TWO

1. Allow students this second day to complete their pollinator design and written explanation.

2. As students finish up remind them to begin working of their presentations for the following day. Presentations should be interesting and should highlight the new pollinator, the flower(s) it pollinators, as well as its specific adaptations.

DAY THREE

1. Presentations. As students are working, you evaluate the presenters both on the inclusion of five adaptations and on their presentations skills. The audience should be taking notes on the new pollinators as well as formulating questions about the suitably of the adaptations.

2. Allow time for a few students to question each presenter. To ensure that all students are actively participating it is a good idea to randomly call of students to question the presenter and keep track of who has been successful at both asking and answering those questions.


Assessment

The rubric below is a guideline for assessment. If you choose to use it, make sure students are given a copy prior to beginning the project.

4
Illustration detailed, has all the criteria the class identified as important to scientific illustration, and clearly depicts all 5 adaptations. The flower type is clearly apparent to the viewer and the relationship between adaptation and flower is apparent.

Paragraph has more than 5 complete sentences including an eye-catching first sentence and a concluding statement. Paragraph explains how each adaptation is important.

3
Illustration is detailed, has most of the student identified criteria for a scientific illustration and clearly depicts all 5 adaptations. The flower type is clearly apparent to the viewer

Paragraph has 5 or more complete sentences including an eye-catching first sentence and a concluding statement. Paragraph explains how each adaptation is important to survival.

2
Illustration depicts all adaptations but they may not be clearly apparent or the flower type is not clearly apparent to the viewer.

Paragraph has 5 or more complete sentences including an eye-catching first sentence and a concluding statement. Paragraph explains each adaptation but may forget to explain how each is important.

1
Illustration depicts some adaptations and they may not be clearly apparent. The flower type is not apparent to the viewer.

Paragraph has fewer than 5 complete sentences and may not include an eye-catching first sentence or concluding statement. Paragraph explains adaptations but forgets to explain how each is important to survival.

 

Embedded Assessment

The drawing and the description allow for assessment of biology content, scientific illustration and paragraph structure.




PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:


an
NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award

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Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694


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Last update: November 10, 2009
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