Lesson 4 of Apologia's Exploring Creation with Botany is all about pollination. This was not a terribly long lesson for us because we have studied pollinators so extensively in the past, with Apologia's Zoology 1 curriculum, and with our many FIAR (Five in a Row) studies.
As with every lesson, we used the Junior Botany Notebooking Journal for this course to record what we learned.
We started Lesson 4 with some reading from the text, where we learned about self-pollination and animal pollination. (I just love how Jeannie Fulbright writes!) We then wrote about some of the things we had learned in our journal.
From there, we talked about the many, beautiful designs God used with orchids. We took the text's challenge to design our own orchid and Maggie came up with this, the "hummingbird orchid." She fashioned this one after reading about God's "bee orchid."
After that, we read about flower color and the nectar guides on petals. (We will now be looking at the colors on petals much more differently!) We also learned about visible spectrum and ultraviolet light, light that we cannot see but bees can! In this way, bees are able to see nectar patterns on flowers that are invisible to the human eye. God really thought of it all! We then learned about how the bees get the pollen from different flowers, as each is designed uniquely.
We decided to pollinate a few flowers on our own. We bought some potted lilies from Lowe's to complete this activity. (Lilies' anthers and carpels are so easy to access so we thought they'd make a great choice for this project.)
Using a Q-tip to simulate a honeybee's fuzzy body, Maggie rubbed off some of the pollen from the anthers of one lily plant ...
... and then rubbed those same pollen grains onto the carpel of another lily plant. In time, we are hoping to see a fruit (the ripened ovary) in the place where the flower of the receiving carpel once was.
It should look like this.
(These images were downloaded from a Google image search.)
The fruit of the rose is rose hips. I had some rose hips tea in the pantry, so we enjoyed a cup!
We recorded all of this in her journal.
We continued to read in our text about butterflies as pollinators, moths, hummingbirds, and bats. It is amazing how different flowers are designed for different pollinators. For example, teeny tiny flowers with long, thin necks are designed for butterflies to pollinate, as they can unfurl their long proboscises to get to the nectar down deep.
The flowers that moths drink from smell sweetest at night and are usually white. Also, some hang upside down, making it easier for the moths to enter as they don't need a landing pad like other pollinators do. One example is this yucca plant.
Hummingbirds can see red very well, as bees cannot see red at all, so if you see red petals on a flower, you can bet it is designed for a hummingbird to pollinate it!
And since bats are nocturnal, the ones who are pollinators tend to look, too, for light-colored flowers. A cactus plant is a great flowering plant for bats because it has sturdy limbs and big flowers.
It was fascinating to learn how God designed specific flowers to attract specific pollinators! I will never look at flowers the same way again! We then illustrated these pollinators in our journal.
I just love Mags' little moth!
I had some prepared slides of different pollen types for our microscope. First, we checked out the pollen of lilies.
The pollen of lilies looks like this under the microscope, with a clear, elliptical shape.
Next, we looked at sunflower pollen.
Sunflower pollen looks like this up close, different than lily pollen.
Finally, we looked at tulip pollen.
It was just as multicolored as the flowers themselves! It was amazing to see how different pollen types look quite different on a microscopic level.
I challenged Maggie to write about one of these pollen types on a "Magnification Observation" sheet that I made.
She chose to document sunflower pollen!
(Here is one of our Instagram posts from the #365Challenge by Hip Homeschool Moms (http://www.hiphomeschoolmoms.com/) about our study.)
After that, we continued reading in our text about wind pollination, more about self-pollination, and the result of pollination (specifically, what happens to the pollinated flower after it has been fertilized). I was amazed to learn that of the few plants that are self-pollinators, among them are food crops -- wheat, barley, rice, oats, beans, peas, soybeans, peanuts, eggplant, lettuce, peppers, and even tomatoes. God really loves and cares for His children!
From there, Maggie wrote the story of a flower in her journal ...
... as well as a comic strip to illustrate what she had learned about the pollination process.
We then finished up our notebook work, including this page with adorable, pull-out images of pollinators.
On each, Maggie wrote important facts.
Lastly in our journal, we recorded our research on butterflies native to our state, Georgia, and the plants that each like to pollinate and lay their eggs on.
After our journal work, we watched Disney Nature's Wings of Life film, about the importance of flowers and caring for all of the pollinators that do such important work for us. (There were a few minutes in the film that an evolutionary stance was expressed, but we just paused it and discussed what we know about our Creator and what His Word tells us about His design. Other than those few minutes, we found it to be very enlightening and the video photography was just amazing.)
Here is a photo from the footage from the film of some monarchs, snacking on some milkweed.
Later today we start Lesson 5, "Fruits." Check back soon for that post!