Pollination Partnerships

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly on ironweed

Flowering plants attract different types of pollinators, from bees to butterflies, ants, or moths.  In this hands-on program, we explore the fascinating adaptations and interconnections among flowering plants and their insect pollinators.  Students will closely observe and identify a diversity of local insect pollinators and the wildflowers they frequent. Students will also observe and discuss the adaptive behaviors of various pollinators at flowers, as well as study the adaptations of various wildflowers that ensure successful pollination. 


Grade Levels, Program Length, and Season

  • Appropriate for Grade Levels 3-8
  • This program lasts 1 1/2 hours and can be adapted to suit the needs of your group 
  • The program is offered May through October

Program Description and Activities

Your students will be engaged in a multifaceted program experience that may include:

  • Comparing and contrasting the adaptations of insect pollinated plants with wind pollinated plants.
  • Exploring and discussing the importance of insect pollinators such as honeybees and native bees to many of our agricultural crops.
  • Investigating and discussing simple ways to create a backyard “pollinator garden” that can help to reconnect native plants and their insect pollinators in our residential spaces.
  • Using a laboratory microscope to investigate adaptations of flowers and their insect pollinators and to view pollen samples from different flowers.
  • Visiting the campus Community Organic Garden to observe and explore the role of pollination and pollinators in vegetable gardening. 

Science Standards

Pre- and Post-Visit Resources