Activity 1: Discovering Pollinators and Pollination!

What would our food supply or our life in general look like without pollinators?

The goal of this activity is to explain the role that pollinators play in food production and in the life cycle.  Many youth are afraid of bees or other seemingly threatening insects so in this lesson we want to convey that these animals help us to grow food and we should protect them as they are responsible for the a fair percentage of the food that we grow.

This activity is for students of all ages and will be complete after this one session.

Materials:
– Science journal
– Pencils/pens
– Pollinator reference book or website

Step 1: In the classroom or garden, discuss what pollinators are, the job they do and why they are important in the process of growing food.  

Step 2: Bring the students out to the garden with their science journals and pencils/pens. Have students create a list of pollinators they see.  

Step 3: Review the pollination process and the important role that pollinators have in helping us to grow food. Ask the students; What would our food supply look like without pollinators? What would the fruits and vegetables section of the supermarket look like without them?

Scaffolding:In addition to a review in class before heading out to the garden, read them a book about pollinators which talks about the role of pollinators and the various kind of pollinators that help us to grow food.  Have students the list

Enrichment:Have students dissect a flower to learn the different flower anatomy that plays a role in pollination.  Once the flower is dissected, students will tape all the flower parts to a piece of paper and label them.  Students write a paragraph explaining their dissection and explaining each different function of the flower.

Helpful Links:

Why is Pollination Important to the Life Cycle

Pollination and Fertilization of Plants

 Activity 2: Plant Parts: To Eat or to Compost? That’s the dilemma.

How can we make complete use of the plants we grow and ensure zero to little waste?

In this activity students learn the use and functions of different parts of a plant.  Students will learn to identify which parts of the plant we can eat and what parts we can compost or use for other purposes (such as for fire kindling, air-freshener, bandages or medicine).  Students will come away with an understanding of the importance of putting to use as much of a plant as possible and sending as little and preferably nothing to the landfill.  The benefits of a culture that consumes and reuses more is emphasized.

Materials:
– Child-friendly knives
– Cutting boards
– A bowl of fruits, vegetables, and herbs
– Compost collection container
– Science class’ notebooks

Step 1: Place a tray of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs on the desk of a group of of 4-6 students.  

Step 2: Students will take turns each picking a fruit, vegetable or herb and explaining to the rest of the group what they know about it.  Does their family use this fruit, vegetable or herb to cook at home?  What are the parts we can eat? What are the parts we can compost?  What are the parts we can use for other purposes.  While talking to the group the student can demonstrate uses of the fruit or vegetable while chopping it up and highlighting its features.  

Step 3: Once the student is finished addressing the group, others can chime in with how they use this food and other uses they know for it.  Each student will take a turn picking a fruit and talking to the rest of the group about their selection.  

Step 4: After all students have had a chance, everyone will write notes in their science journal about what they learned. Have them make a short report on the fruit or vegetable they chose. 

Name:
Color:
Use:
Parts (how many can you identify?):
Smell (does it smell good? is the smell strong?):
Do you like it?
Where does it come from (a tree or the soil, and where in the world)?:
Did you learn something new about it?:

So that the food from the lesson doesn’t go to waste, give the leftover fruits and vegetables to students that would like to take some home or take it home yourself.

Scaffolding: Read a book about zero waste such as : Trash Talk: Moving Toward a Zero Waste World or The Garbage Monster

Enrichment – For older kids, give them some quiet reading time with some of the following books and videos. When they are done have a discussion on what they read and what observations they came away with.  Ask students what are some things that they do specifically to create less waste.

Composting: Nature’s Recyclers, Trash Mountain, Trashy the Trash Can

Helpful Links:

Love Food, Hate Waste

Reduce Food Waste

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