In this lesson, students will analyze an article that introduces readers to the importance and role of pollinators, factors contributing to their current decline, and easy steps that can be taken to help pollinators. This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area. This lesson includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.
Subject(s): Science, English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 6, 7, 8
Document Camera, Computers for Students, Internet Connection, Speakers/Headphones
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Keywords: pollination, pollinators, bees, mutualism, plant reproduction, fertilization, pollinator diversity, text complexity, informational text
Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Describe the relationship between pollinators and flowers in an ecosystem
- Explain the role and importance of pollinators
- List factors that are currently causing a decline in pollinators
- List steps that can be taken to improve populations of pollinators
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of a text
- Determine the meaning of unknown academic and domain-specific words in a text
- Construct a written response that clearly establishes a main point(s), contains relevant textual evidence to support the main point, utilizes transitions to maintain flow, effectively uses domain-specific vocabulary, and provides an appropriate conclusion
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
In regards to science:
- Students should have some basic background knowledge about the different type of bees and their roles in ecosystems. The PestWorld for Kids can provide this information.
- Students should have an understanding of the different symbiotic relationships that exist in a community. Teachers should focus on mutualism and how pollinators and flowers each benefit from their relationship. This link provides access to a Khan Academy resource page on ecological interactions.
- Students should be familiar with why pollinators are necessary for pollination of plants. This video titled "Why Do We Need Bees?" (3:32, uploaded by YouTube user Earth Rangers) provides some information for students on this topic.
- Students need a basic understanding of the role that plants play in supporting populations of pollinators. This video titled "Pollination: Trading Food for Fertilization" (10:58, uploaded by YouTube user naturalistoutreach) can help.
- Students should have a general knowledge of plant reproduction and pollination. An online plant reproduction tutorial can be found here.
In regards to literacy skills:
- Students should have prior experience utilizing various vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text. For this lesson, prior experience in using context clues and word parts to determine the meaning of words in a text would be beneficial. In addition, students should have some dictionary skills that will enable them to look up words with multiple meanings and determine the most appropriate meaning based on how a word is used in a text.
- Students should understand the term "central idea." The central idea is the author's main point about the topic or topics in a text. The central ideas are the dominant, most important, or chief ideas that emerge from all the ideas presented in a text.
- Students should be aware of text features that can help them locate and learn information when reading a text. The text features in the article for this lesson include a title and subtitle, as well as the use of bold font. The online version of the article also includes photographs and captions.
- Based on the writing rubric provided with the lesson, students should be able to respond to a writing prompt in a clear, organized manner that includes use of an introduction to establish the main point(s), a body paragraph(s) that support the main point(s) and includes relevant and specific textual evidence, and a conclusion that supports the main point(s).
- Students should have some awareness that use of transition words or phrases can help a piece of writing flow smoothly from one point or idea to the next. Teachers might wish to share the PDF from this site to help students with transitions.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- Why are pollinators important to fruit and vegetable crops?
Pollinators help plants spread their pollen more efficiently, and when a plant is fertilized, it can produce fruits and seeds ensuring future generations of plants.
- What type of organisms can act as pollinators?
Pollinators can be bees, ants, flies, moths, beetles, wasps, butterflies and other types of insects. Pollinators can also be birds, especially hummingbirds, bats, snails, and even marsupials.
- How do plants and pollinators benefit from the relationship they share?
Pollinators get food, such as nectar, from plants. The pollen from a flower also provides a protein source for many bees and is important for the development of young bees. Some pollinators rely on the plant itself to provide food such as caterpillars that feed on the leaves of plants. The flower benefits from the relationship by getting pollinated allowing fertilization to occur.
- Why do we need to be concerned about the decline in pollinators, specifically bees?
Many pollinators are encountering environmental changes they are not adapted to such as pesticides, habitat degradation, and climate change. As a result, there has been a worldwide decline in the number of pollinators and some areas have lost so many pollinators that they are having to pollinate crops by hand. If humans do not take steps to protect pollinators, there is the possibility some of the species may become extinct.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
- Begin by asking students, "How do bees pollinate flowers?" After a short discussion, show students this short Smithsonian Channel .
- After the video ask students, "What were some things you noticed about the interaction between the bee and the flower?"
- Possible answers: The bee's tongue was licking the flower, the flower started pushing out pollen, or the bee kept its wings going while it was standing on the flower.
- Ask students, "What are some benefits of bees pollinating flowers?"
- Possible answers: We get a diversity of flowers in the world; the bees help flower species flourish; or by pollinating, bees help fruit and vegetable crops flourish.
- Ask students, "What might happen if bees and other pollinators disappeared?"
- Possible answers: Without pollinators, the diversity of plants would be minimal; the economic impact of the fruit and vegetable industry would be impacted by increased costs and prices; and flowers would not be pollinated and plant reproduction would not occur.
- Finally, ask students, "How does pollination benefit the entire ecosystem?"
- Possible answers: Pollination increases diversity among fruits and vegetables, giving a wide variety of food options for other organisms and by diversifying plant species; other organisms may have better options for shelter and habitat.
- End the discussion by informing students that bee populations are declining and to date, one wild bumble bee species, the rusty patched bumble bee, has been listed as an endangered species. Tell students they will be reading an article from the National Science Foundation in which a biologist, Berry Brosi, was asked questions about the importance of pollinators and why we need them.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
- Give each student a copy of the article, "It's Blackberry Season! Summer Fruits Depend on Pollinators. But Where Have all the Bees Gone?"
- Provide each student with a note-taking guide.
- Before students begin reading, direct them to pay attention to the text features of the article to help them learn and locate information:
- Title: It's Blackberry Season! Summer Fruits Depend on Pollinators. But Where Have all the Bees Gone?
- Subtitle: Scientist offers insights into national, global pollinator declines
- Use of bold font to easily identify each of the ten questions the biologist was asked in the interview
- If using the version of the article, this includes photographs and captions, which are also text features
- Have students conduct an initial read of the text and then work through the vocabulary list. Students should be provided with access to print or online dictionaries to help them with defining the words when needed. Some words students might be able to use word parts or context clues to define the words. Students can use the completed vocabulary list to help them re-read the text and increase their understanding of the material.
- Students can use the text to help them complete the other parts of the note-taking guide. The teacher should monitor students as they work and provide support and guidance as needed, especially with the section on scientific processes.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for student understanding?):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting their completed note-taking guides, checking their work, providing written feedback, or grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teachers should use the sample answer key provided at the end of the note-taking guide to help them assess students' answers.
- For discussion of students' answers to the defined vocabulary words, teachers are encouraged to not only ask students to explain the meaning they determined for a word, but the strategy they used to arrive at that meaning. This will allow the teacher to provide alternative suggestions as to how the student could have arrived at the correct meaning of the word.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
- Misconceptions: If a population in a food web is disturbed, there will be little or no effect on populations that are not within the linear sequence in the food web. Varying the size of a population of organisms will affect only those populations of organisms that are directly connected to it in a feeding relationship, not organisms that are one or more steps removed/away from it.
- How to respond: If one population changes in a food web, the other populations will also be affected because of all of the feeding relationships found within the food web. A food web has many different interconnections and each organism has a specific role in the food web.
- Misconception: Different kinds of organisms (species) do not compete for resources.
- How to respond: Between organisms, there are two types of competition: interspecific which is competition between different species and intraspecific which is competition between the same species.
- Misconception: Pollination and fertilization are the same process.
- How to respond: Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the anther to the stigma of the same or different flower. While fertilization occurs once the pollen grain reaches the stigma, it produces a pollen tube, which grows down through the style to the ovary.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Provide each student with a copy of the text-dependent questions to complete. Students should be reminded to continually refer back to the text and to use relevant and specific evidence from the text to support their answers.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for understanding?):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting their answers to the text-dependent questions, checking their work, providing written feedback, and maybe grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teachers should use the sample answer key provided at the end of the text-dependent questions to help them assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Please see the text-dependent questions sample answer key.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
- Before students complete the writing prompt for the summative assessment, be sure to review their responses to the text-dependent questions as a class, including covering the misconceptions and key points described in the sample answer key.
- After students' written responses for the summative assessment have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to use the provided sample response with the class. Students who are struggling writers can benefit greatly from seeing a well-organized, detailed written response.
- To close out the lesson, the teacher may wish to lead a final class discussion about what students have learned by having students discuss their answers to the guiding questions for the lesson. Students could also answer the questions and turn them in as a form of an exit ticket.
- Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. They should be directed to respond with a multi-paragraph response, with a clear introduction, body section, and conclusion. They can refer back to the text as they construct their response.
- Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over the rubric with them so they will know how their written response will be assessed.
- Go over the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address.
- The prompt: Discuss the interaction between pollinators and the environment as described in the article. In your response, make sure to address the following:
- Explain how humans depend on pollinators
- Describe what may happen if pollinators cannot adapt to the changes in their ecosystem
- Identify ways people can help sustain populations of pollinators in the future
- Teachers will use the rubric to assess students' written responses.
Specific suggestions for conducting Formative Assessment can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson.
Feedback to Students
Specific suggestions for providing Feedback to Students can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond."
Accommodations & Recommendations
The text's grade band recommendation reflects the shifts inherent in the Standards and is based on a text complexity analysis of a quantitative measure, qualitative rubric, and reader and task considerations.
Source and Access Information
Name of Author/Source: Marino Nardelli
District/Organization of Contributor(s): Brevard
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.