Sunday, January 25, 2009
Like Bees, They Gathered the Pollen
Last Thursday, in the middle of the night, I heard a loud crash. I was so tired I didn't get up as it sounded like something had fallen rather than someone trying to break-in. In the morning, I went into my office to check my email and there it was. My amaryllis had fallen over with the weight of its flowers and crashed to the floor. There was dirt everywhere. The stem was broken. I went to the kitchen, got a trash bag, returned to the scene and cut the flowers free from the corpse of the plant.
When I got to school, I took the flowers from the bag, placed them on trays and put them on two separate tables. I placed magnifying glasses besides them. The small felt case that holds the tweezers was also placed on one of the tables.
When the children arrived, I invited them to dissect the flowers. Two of the children immediately accepted my invitation. After a few minutes of carefully opening the petals to examine what was held within, they went and got some q-tips from the polishing area. Carefully, they gathered pollen onto the tips of the q-tips. They were very focused on their work.
While they continued their investigations, I put out a rug and laid out the "Parts of a Flower" classification cards. They soon came looking for the names of the various parts of the flowers.
Later, one child illustrated all of the sheets that match the "Parts of a Flower" classification cards.
This work did not last all morning. The first two children worked with it for about 45 minutes or so. When they walked away, another child engaged the work. He stayed for about 20 minutes. It did take the child who illustrated the booklet most of the morning to finish her work.
Just before I rang the bell to end the morning work period, I gathered the petals and botanical remains and threw them away. For a couple of hours the beauty of my amaryllis drew the attention of a few five and six year olds. What I love about the pictures above is how serious the children look and how careful they are handling the flowers. Perhaps, they are so interested because they are most often told not to touch flowers. I am sure that they are not often given q-tips to gather pollen. Perhaps, in that case, though, it is bees which warn them to stay back, to look but not touch. Living creatures can be so territorial.