Uploaded by Laura Kirby

Monarch - Inquiry Observation lab

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What is “Pollination” & What is a “Pollinator?”
• The act of “pollination” occurs when pollen grains are moved between two flowers of the same species by
wind or animals. Successful pollination results in the production of healthy fruit and fertile seeds, allowing
plants to reproduce. Without pollinator visits to tomatoes and other fruit and vegetable plants in our gardens,
we would have no produce!
• Almost 90% of all flowering plants rely on animal pollinators for fertilization, and about 200,000 species of
animals act as pollinators. Of those, 1,000 are hummingbirds, bats, and small mammals such as mice. The
rest are insects like beetles, bees, ants, wasps, butterflies and moths.
Why Are Pollinators Important to Us?
• Worldwide, approximately 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be
pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend.
• Foods and beverages produced with the help of pollinators include: apples, bananas, blueberries, chocolate,
coffee, melons, peaches, potatoes, pumpkins, vanilla, almonds, and tequila. (Imagine a world without some of
these things!)
• In the United States, pollination by honeybees and other insects produces $40 billion worth of products
annually!
Butterflies and
Moths
Monarch butterflies in eastern North America
have one of the longest migrations of any
species! Their flights can last for thousands
of miles, from Canada to central Mexico.
Butterflies and moths need a place to land on
the flowers that they visit, so they prefer
broad, flat-faced flowers. Since they have
long, straw-like mouth-parts, they can suck
nectar from deep within the flower.
Pollinator Observation
Materials: Outdoor habitat, magnifying lense, clipboards, whiteboards and markers, chromebooks.
1. Observe an area in the schoolyard that you believe would make an appropriate habitat for pollinators.
Sit SILENTLY (we don’t want to scare the butterflies!) for 5 minutes to observe any pollinators
(especially butterflies!) nearby. Record your observations below.
2. Spend the next 5 minutes using a magnifying lense to observe the plants for eggs and larvae. Record
your observations below.
3. While you are waiting for other students to finish, review each of your observations. Think critically to
write a question that relates to each observation. For example: Observation = I saw a caterpillar
munching on a leaf. Question = How much does a caterpillar eat in one day?
4. Decide which one of your questions is the most interesting to you and put a star next to this question.
Type of Pollinator
Life Stage
(Bee, Moth, Monarch, other
butterfly, etc)
(egg, larva, chrysalis, adult)
Observation
Question
5. Return to your lab group and share what you observed. Each student will have a chance to share their
most interesting question that came to mind.
6. As a group, select one question from the group discussion and write this one question on the
whiteboard. Then discuss the following, and write your answers on the whiteboard. You will share this
information with the rest of the class.
a. What is your group’s question?
b. What do you hypothesize is the answer to this question?
c. Briefly, describe how you would test your hypothesis with an experiment.
d. Use the Internet to see what you can find about your question. Write one fact here and on your
whiteboard.
Extensions:
Use your chromebook to research the following:
1. How have flowers adapted to attract butterflies as pollinators?
2. How are butterfly-pollinated flowers different than bird-pollinated flowers?
3. Draw a picture of a butterfly-pollinated flower below.
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