Tuesday, May 31, 2011


During my own school years, I was always a Math and Science girl. As I'm finishing up my second year, it's amazing to me how much that affects my teaching. Now, I've come to really appreciate Social Studies and find the history of Virginia fascinating, but when it's all said and done, it still seems kind of pointless. :) My passions are pretty evident in my teaching, I think and the majority of my students are obsessed with Math and Science...!

Since we put our Science curriculum on hold for a little while in order to get ready for the VA Studies SOL test, now that we're done with that test, we're ALL about Science in Room 21! We are smack-dab in the middle of our study on plants and it's been so much fun! Science is such a blast because it's SO hands-on and exciting! Now, you're all probably wondering how learning about pollination can be hands-on, so let me tell you... :) Last week, we learned about the parts of a plant and the parts of a flower (as soon as I introduced the Pistil as the female reproductive organ, I instantly had the undivided attention of 20 little 10-year-olds!.. along with one boy asking me if he was supposed to get parent permission to participate in this "Family Life Lesson"). As part of that instruction, the kids got a chance to build their own flower out of a plastic cup and a flower template (pictures forth-coming!) and got an opportunity to dissect a flower. They were each given a petunia and step-by-step we broke it apart and found the Stamen, Pistil, Sepal, and Petals. The activity was met with mixed reviews as some students couldn't wait to tear their flowers apart, while others were being extra stubborn and claiming I couldn't make them ruin a perfectly good flower. (After reassuring them the flower was dead the moment I plucked it from the stem, they all conceded and we were able to move on!)

After reviewing the parts of the flower (which they remembered surprisingly well after a long weekend!), we read a short article about Pollination and then got to the "experiment." We had to discuss ways flowers attracted pollinators (bright petals and nectar), the role of the pollinators, and the process of fertilization. To make sure the information would never be forgotten, I pulled out some cheese-puffs and Starbursts. Again, 20 sets of eyes were locked on me! I poured some of the Cheetos into a bowl and poured some Starbursts in on top. I shook it up a little and then asked a student to act like a pollinator and come get some nectar. At first, she was extremely confused, but after some guidance from her classmates, she was able to figure out that the Starbursts represented the nectar. After she retrieved a Starburst, I asked her to notice if she'd picked anything else up from the bowl. She looked at her hand and pointed out the orange cheese-crumbs that had rubbed off while she was digging around. Through some coaxing, she was quickly able to make the connection to pollen and then rattled off the steps of fertilization to me. I repeated the process with a few more students until I was sure they all got it! I knew the information had sunk in when all of a sudden, one of my girls shouted out, "Ms. Wacek, the nectar is good, but can I please eat a Stamen (the pollen producer... aka a Cheese-Puff!)?" Haha. I LOVE the stuff they come up with!


  1. Oh my goodness Steph...you are an INCREDIBLE teacher. AND I'm thankful you're also a good story teller!! This is Mom...but I can't figure out how to show that...so I'll be anonymous once again. OH...and thanks for explaining the 'scientific' stuff a bit (like the ways flowers attract pollinators)...for us non-scientists!

  2. Hi! My name is Michelle and I am student teaching in fourth grade right now. I stumbled upon this blog entry when searching for a pollination activity. I did this with my kids a few days ago and they LOVED it!!! The looks on their faces when they realized that the cheese powder was the pollen was priceless! I, too, had a boy ask me if he could eat some stamens. I also got a note from a parent yesterday telling me how thrilled their child was with this activity and thanking me for making learning fun!!! Thank you so much for this wonderful idea!!

  3. Michelle,
    Thanks for the feedback! I'm so glad you enjoyed the activity, it's definitely one of my favorites (although, I have to state, it's not an original with me.. though I have no idea where it came from!)! Enjoy your student teaching, it'll go quick! What state/city are you doing it in?

  4. I just changed from fourth grade in Elkton, Virginia to third grade in Shenandoah County (still in Virginia). I can't believe there are only six weeks left!!

    I just started a blog about this student teaching placement for a class!