Benefits of Pollinator Plants
Driving or Multi-dimensional Question:
Think of a relevant problem with multiple solutions that will drive student learning.
You have been asked to design and build a garden or greenspace at your school using pollinator plants found in the Tennessee Valley. Your design should also take into consideration the behaviors and structures of pollinators in order to increase survival and reproductive success.
Once your garden/greenspace is built, you will create visual displays to communicate the benefits of planting pollinator plants to those visiting your garden/greenspace.
This PBL unit will ask students to explore proper resource management techniques as students learn the benefits of planting pollinator plants. Students will further explain how behavioral and structural adaptations increase a species’ survival and reproductive success.
This unit will require students to identify common, native pollinator plants found in the Tennessee Valley. Then they will design and build a school garden or greenspace utilizing these plants.
Imagine the school is going to start a garden. What items do you need to include in your garden in order for plants to grow, even when school is not in session and no one is around to care for the garden? Have students draw their garden. Then students will pair with a fellow classmate and share their thoughts.
Students will design and build a school garden or greenspace which incorporates pollinator plants native to the Tennessee Valley. The garden will have information posted communicating to visitors the benefits of pollinator plants.
7.LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes 6) Develop an argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to explain how behavioral and structural adaptations in animals and plants affect the probability of survival and reproductive success.
7.G.B.5 Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving area, volume, and surface area of two- and three-dimensional objects composed of triangles, quadrilaterals, polygons, cubes, and right prisms.
ELA and Other Standards:
7.W.TTP.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
7.SL.PKI.5 Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify claims and findings and to emphasize major points.
Digital Readiness (Computer Science):
AIT.6 Collect, organize, analyze, and interpret data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
CCP.22 Interpret the flow of execution of algorithms and predict their outcomes.
For more information on this lesson please see the Lesson Resources below
|Activity||Description||Resources and Materials|
The Importance of Pollinators
KWL Organizer on the topic “Pollinators”
In the first column, students will write what they know about pollinators. In the second column, students will write what they want to know about pollinators. After students watch the provided videos, they will complete the last column with what they learned about the importance of pollinators.
California Academy of Science: Why Protect Pollinators?
Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency: Habitat Pollinator Plot
Knoxville WVLT News: Rare animals thrive beneath TVA power lines (Cumberland Plateau)
Tracking Monarch Butterflies
Monarch butterflies are one example of a pollinator. Through the Monarch Watch Tagging Program, scientists track and study monarchs as they migrate each fall.
In this activity, students work with a partner to study the data provided on the Monarch Watch 2019 Season Tag Recoveries - Domestic Google sheet. Students are encouraged to pay special attention to the data in the “Notes” column.
Groups should be prepared to share with the class their observations of the data and provide informed decisions on how to best design a school greenspace or garden which could attract Monarch butterflies.
MonarchWatch.org: Tagging Monarchs
Google Sheet: Monarch Watch 2019 Season Tag Recoveries - Domestic
Native Pollinator Plants & the Pollinators They Attract
Dear Pollinator Letter
Students will practice letter composition and point-of-view writing. Using knowledge of pollinators and their needs, students should select one animal pollinator and write a letter to that pollinator. The letter should provide clear and relevant evidence on the benefits of visiting that pollinator in a particular garden.
Visit benefits should include the following:Pollinator plants present in the garden which are native to the Tennessee Valley and appealing to the designated pollinator Specific pollinator plant structure(s) which aids in that animal’s probability of survival and reproductive success Components of garden’s design which aid in the survival and reproductive success of the pollinator.
Google Slide Deck: Attracting Butterflies to Your Yard (created by Master Gardener, Jennifer Johnson)
Wild One's Tennessee Valley Chapter: Native Plants for Pollinators
Southeastern Grassland Initiative: TVA Rights-of-Way: Ruderal Habitats or Pre-settlement Savanna Conditions?
City of Gallatin: Save the Monarch
Virtual Habitat Design
Students will design and program a virtual habitat for a pollinator of their choice using Code.org’s Game Lab. Students should include a pollinator and a pollinator plant to which that particular pollinator is attracted to. Habitats may be coded to resemble an interactive postcard OR a video game.
Students may source images of their selected pollinator and pollinator plants from the Internet. These images can then be uploaded into Code.org’s Game Lab under the “Animation” tab and used in programming their virtual habitat, interactive postcard, OR video game.
Code.org: Game Lab
Code.org’s CSD Unit 3 - Animations and Games: Lesson 14 Project “Interactive Card” tutorial
Code.org’s CSD Unit 3 - Animations and Games: Lesson 22 Project “Design a Game” tutorial
Code.org Gardening Game: Click Make My Own (allows you to remix the project so you can add your own images)
NOTE: This activity can also be completed on other coding platforms such as Scratch or Bitsbox.
Scratch - scratch.mit.edu/
Bitsbox - bitsbox.com/code.html
Pollinator Garden / Greenspace Layout
Design and Build a School Garden or Greenspace
Students will work in groups to design and build a school garden or greenspace, as dictated by their teacher.
Groups will need to be able to explain how their garden/greenspace’s design will increase the probability of pollinator survival and/or reproductive success. This can include items such as which pollinator plants are in their garden and/or nesting opportunities.
Groups will be asked to calculate the quantity of garden supplies needed. This can include the amount of wood needed to build the bed, the volume of water needed per garden, the soil needed for planting.
Once groups have successfully designed and built their pollinator garden, students should create visual displays to explain the benefits of pollinator plants for individuals visiting these school pollinator gardens.
UT Institute of Agriculture: Create Your Own Butterfly Garden!
U.S. Forest Service: Gardening for Pollinators
Tennessee Department of Transportation: Pollinator Habitat Program
Gardener’s Supply Company: Garden Design “Pollinator Gardens”
Pollinator Gardens: Simple Tips for Creating a Pollinator-Friendly Landscape
The Tennessee Magazine: Pollinator gardens: a trend that puts some buzz in your landscape
Optional Extension: Monarch Tagging
Teachers order Monarch Watch Tagging Kits so students can tag and track Monarch butterflies that appear in the school garden/greenspace.
The provided video gives instructions for properly catching and tagging the butterflies.
Note: it may be easier to order Monarch butterflies to release
Monarch Watch Tagging Kits
Monarch Watch: Butterfly School
Optional Extension: 3D Print a Hummingbird Feeder
Hummingbirds are another example of a pollinator. Students can use a 3D printer to design a hummingbird feeder for their school garden/greenspace.
Students can use software such as Tinkercad to design their 3D printer files. OR students can print using completed digital files found on Thingiverse.
Tinkercad: Create 3D Digital Designs
Thingiverse: Digital Designs
Thingiverse: Hummingbird Feeder 3D Printer Files
|Community Partners||Contribution to Learning Experience||Contact Information|
TVA Natural Resource Management Professional
Guest speaker – discuss the benefits of planting pollinator plots
National or State Park Ranger
Field trip or virtual field trip – students travel to a national or state park to see firsthand how pollinators benefit the ecosystem
Local nursery or landscaping company
Guest speaker / Activity facilitator – discuss the advantages of using native, pollinator plants in residential landscaping; assist students as they design their school garden.
Local beekeeper/member of local beekeeper association
Guest speaker – discuss native pollinator plants and how the presence of these plants influences local honey production
Technology Integration: Students will use digital productivity tools, Code.org’s Game Lab and the Internet for research and PBL assignments. As an extension activity, students may also use a 3D printer and relate digital resources to print a hummingbird feeder.
Students will communicate the benefits of pollinator plants to visitors using displays posted around the school garden or greenspace. Students and their families will be encouraged to work in the garden on school STEM nights.