Friday, March 13, 2009

the birds and the bees (and the moths, bats, and butterflies)

Another one of our favorite topics in Garden Science is pollination. We seek to make the connections between pollination (and the important role of pollinators) and food production. If pollination didn't happen for some reason (say, a far-fetched scenario like the disappearance of honeybees), then there wouldn't be any fertilized seeds, and subsequently no fruit since the purpose of fruit is to protect and spread the seeds.

Because we need pollination to occur in our garden, every well-planned garden has flowers that will attract pollinators. Flowers aren't just appealing to the senses - they contain the reproductive parts of a plant, including the all-important seeds. In our Garden Science lesson, we learned about the different parts of the flower and each part's role in pollination. To better understand how a flower is put together, we took some flowers apart. Each student had a lily flower to dissect. We chose a lily because it is a perfect flower - meaning it has both male (stamen) and female (pistil) parts.

After dissecting our flowers, we made bird feeders. They will help to provide a food source to our bird friends, who oftentimes have trouble finding suitable food in an urban setting during the cold months. When it comes time to install our school gardens, each class will hang their bird feeders outside in their schoolyard - recognizing that our schoolyards are environments filled with wildlife too.

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