How do Flowers Work?

March 10, 2017 at 12:18 PM Leave a comment

Relaxing laundry list requirements for this traditional lab results in this:

Usually, it’s a slog through the parts of a flower, structure and function followed by a recall test. Kind of sucks the joy out of it and anyway, all that is available on the internet in one second.

Just asking the question “How do flowers work?” is a much more open ended and fascinating investigation. Students watch for pollinators, they look up a variety of search terms:

 

They examine their flowers and draw them from life. If they really struggle with drawing, I give them a little instruction on how to ‘see’ the flower and get started. If they were still struggling, I had them take a photo of their flower and put tracing paper over the iPad screen – it’s better than just downloading a photo I think for appreciating the minute beauty of nature. Which is part of the subtext of the lab of course.

We talk naturally about the co-evolution of pollinators and flowers, about the benefits of cross-pollination.

Students who are confused about how to move beyond the structure and function grid, I ask them to tell the story of how pollinators are attracted to the flower, how they are guided for where to go etc. in a 1, 2, 3 kind of way.

Circulating, praising, poking flowers around with kids looking on, we are all fascinated with the pollen under the binocular microscopes. It’s pin-drop quiet right now with my squirmy 5th period completely absorbed in the old-fashioned art and science of making a nature notebook sketch to show others how flowers work. With classical music playing. So yeah, I have the best job in the world.

IMG_3605Instead of giving extra credit for extra greatness, I gave extra kudos by making a display of the best ones in the display boxes outside the school office. Kids are excited to see each other’s work. Should have thought of this years ago!

IMG_3616

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Entry filed under: Curiosity, Genetics and Reproduction. Tags: , , , , .

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