“Flowers have neither legs like some animals, nor have they wings like butterflies, therefore they cannot go after pollen; in seeking food and drink from flowers, insects carry pollen from one flower to another.” Handbook of Nature Study page 457
As the weather warms up in most areas of the world, spending time looking at and studying flowers is an enjoyable pass-time. Flowers should be beginning to bloom in a colorful rainbow in your own gardens, your neighborhood, or at a near-by park. Take advantage of the warmer weather and extend your Outdoor Hour time to possibly two 15 minute periods each week. We are spending a little time each day in our garden tending our seedlings and enjoying the sunshine.
Side lesson: If you or your child is allergic to pollen and suffers from seasonal allergies, you might want to take a few minutes to explain how humans are sometimes adversely affected by pollen in the air.
Here is a link that I found interesting that you could share with your children: Allergic Rhinitis
Outdoor Hour Challenge
#18 Looking for Pollen
1. Read pages 457-458 of the Handbook of Nature Study-Flower and Insect Partners. This section gives us two good lessons to be taught to even the youngest nature student. There is also an illustration that can help you explain about pollen and its role in the plant’s life-cycle. Simple and easy. You can easily adapt the illustration to your local area. Review the diagram on page 456 that shows where on the flower you will find the pollen so you can remind your children as they look for insects on the flower.
2. This week during your 10-15 minutes of nature study, take time to see if you can challenge your child to find an insect on a garden flower. This could be a bee, an ant, a butterfly, or a moth in most areas of the world. Share what you learned about pollen and insects in the reading of the Handbook of Nature Study using words and illustrations that your child will understand. If you can capture a bee in a clear jar, this would give you a way to observe the insect and possibly see some pollen on his body and legs. This would be best done with a magnifying glass or you could try to capture the bee with a digital photo and then enlarge it on your computer. I use the “macro” setting on my digital camera and take lots of photos in order to get a good clear one of bees. Continue to use the correct names for flower parts and for leaf parts in your discussions with your children.
3. Add any new garden flowers to your list in your nature journal.
4. This week you can draw an insect on a flower in your nature journal or draw a flower and show where the pollen is found. Record your flower seeds growth and/or record your sunflowers growth for the week.
This challenge is part of my Garden Flowers ebook. This ebook has ten garden related challenges that will walk you through a study of garden flowers using the Handbook of Nature Study. In addition to the challenges already written, there will be more photos, nature journal examples, book lists, and totally new notebook pages designed to go with each of the Garden Flower Challenges.