The Power of Pollination

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Students will be able to describe how pollination works and its importance by playing a game.

Big Idea

Acting as a bee helps the students make the connection of the important role bees play in the pollination process.


10 minutes

Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.

In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.”

By saying “walking feet” I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.

When all of the students are seated on their dot in the rug area I ask the students, “Does anyone know how a pumpkin is made?”

I select a student who is following the correct classroom protocol of raising their hand.

My discussion direction will depend on the responses I get. If I do not get the responses I need then I go ahead and tell the students, “A pumpkin is created when a female pumpkin flower is cross pollinated by a male flower. Who can tell me what pollination is?”

I select a student to respond.

“Great explanation Henry; pollination is when an insect takes pollen from one flower and puts it on another flower.”

“Can anyone tell me the name of an insect that is a pollinator?”

I select all of the students who raise their hand so everyone has a chance to give their pollinator.

“Those were all great responses. Today we are going to read a book about the most common pollinator – the bee. The bee is responsible for 80% of all pollination. Without our friend the bee we would have a lot less pumpkins at Halloween time. In fact we would have a lot less food to eat at all. We are very lucky to have the bee so next time you see a bee I would like you to say “Thank you for my pumpkins and my food.””


I use this discussion to engage my students’ attention, elicit prior knowledge and provide the students with some appropriate vocabulary. 


45 minutes

I show the students the cover of the book we are going to read.

“This book is called In the Trees, Honey Bees! It is written by Lori Mortensen and illustrated by Cris Arbo.”

I go ahead and read the book including the facts provided on each page.

At the end of the book reading I tell the students, “Today at one of your work stations we are going to play a game where you get to be a bee and try to collect as much pollen as you can.”

“Each of you will have a legging to wear on your lower leg (the leggings are simply men’s socks with the foot part removed). On the legging there are Velcro strips (I hold a sample up for the students to see). These Velcro strips act like the hairs on a bee’s legs. I also have ping pong balls with Velcro dots stuck on them (again I hold up a sample for the students to see). These ping pong balls represent the balls of sticky pollen on the flowers that the bees visit. The ping pong balls will be sitting in the middle of the hula hoops on the ground. Who thinks they know what the hula hoops are representing?”

I select a student to respond.

“That’s right Bryan the hula hoops are the flowers. You are going to have five minutes to fly from flower to flower to try and collect as much pollen as you can. Now do you think you are going to be able to grab the “pollen” with your hands?”

I allow the students to call out the response, “No!”

“That’s right. Bee’s do not have hands and in this game neither do you. You will have to do the best you can just using your legs to try and collect as much “pollen” as you can.”    

“Does anyone have any questions?”


I send the students over to the integrated work stations one table group at a time to maintain a safe and orderly classroom. It usually sounds like this;

“Table number one go get ready to have some pollination fun.

Table number two, you know what to do.

Table number three, hope you were listening to me, and

Table number four, you shouldn’t be here anymore.”


Allow the students 15 minutes to work on the activities. After 15 minutes are up, the timer goes off and the students clean up and get ready to switch stations.  

I set the visual timer and remind the students to look at it so they can use their time wisely. I also take a timer outside with me to make sure I stay on time with the group outside playing the game. 

NOTE - Due to the weather we ended up having to play the game inside in the hallway. 

Students waiting in the hive

Student pretending to be a bee

Student collecting pollen.

Student showing the pollen on her legs.

Students showing their pollen collection results.

Students showing their pollen collection results.

Student sample of a waggle dance.


During the game outside I will give different scenarios for the students to follow. For example I will tell the students that it is very cold. In cold weather the bees are much slower and sluggish so they may only walk between flowers. Or I might say an over enthusiastic land developer has mowed down the bees usual nectar supply so now they have to fly further to get to the nectar and I place the hula hoops very far away from the hive (me). Alter the game as you see fit.   


In this activity the students are exploring how the pollination process works.  


At another work station the students are writing as if they were a bee and where they went and what they did for one day (ELA). 

Honey Bee story

Students working on their bee writing prompt.


At another work station the students are playing a card game where they must collect four important items essential to a wild honey bee’s survival (science).

That's What I Need Game

Students playing the bees needs game.


At another work station the students are observing how bees transport pollen from flower to flower by using a chalk flower and a cotton ball bee (science).

Chalk flower outline

Students working on coloring their flowers.

Student pollinating her flower.

Students pollinating each others flowers.


These activities provide the students with the opportunity to apply and expand their understanding of the concepts within new contexts and situations thus elaborating on the information they have been presented with. 


10 minutes

When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look, listen” technique mentioned above.

“When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair and take a spot on your dot. Walking feet, go.”


Once the students are seated I tell the students, “Team 203 your exit ticket today is to tell me one observation you made today. Remember you will need to use a complete sentence when giving your answer. For example, “One observation I made was…””

“When you have told me your pollinator you may use the hand sanitizer and get your snack.”

I use the fair sticks to determine the order of the students.

If a student is unable to give me an answer, they know they can do one of two things.

  1. They can ask a friend to help, or
  2. They can wait until everyone else has gone and then we will work on coming up with an observation together.


I use this exit ticket process as a way for the students to explain what they observed from the lesson we just did. This quick assessment process allows me to see if the student is able to take information learned in one format and be able to transfer it to another format.   


In order to assess if my students have successfully understood and retained the information presented in the lesson I evaluate each student by providing them with a task the next day for morning work. For this assessment I have the students write in their science journal responding to the morning work prompt, “Draw and label two facts you learned about bees.”

Some students will attempt to write the answer themselves and others can have an adult act as a scribe.

For this assignment I want the students to think carefully about what we learned yesterday and be able to explain to me why they drew those two particular facts in their science journal. 

Student sample 1.

Student sample 2.

Student sample 3.