Free Nature Studies: Bees and Flowers (Pollination)

Pollination enables seeds to be formed.

This lesson covers pollination.  For more on bees, you can refer back to the honey bee lesson.

Read the current chapter online: “Bees and Flowers”


Now suppose we have a flower in the garden, with its anthers covered with pollen grains. Let us see what happens. Before seeds can be formed pollination must occur. Pollination is the transfer of pollen from an anther (where it is produced) to the stigma of a pistil. We speak of self-pollination when pollen is carried from the anther to the stigma of the same flower. In cross-pollination the pollen must be carried from one flower to another….

Cross-pollination seems to be better for most plants. Certainly, some plants have extraordinary arrangements for bringing about cross-pollination. Some have built up partnerships with certain insects where plant and insect are completely dependent upon each other — co-operation in nature.

Many flowers that are pollinated by insects have special glands, the nectaries, which secrete a sweet liquid, the nectar. Insects are very fond of it and the honey that bees produce is made from it.

As the insect crowds into the corolla to reach the nectaries, it brushes against the anthers and the stigmas. As it brushes against the anther of one flower, pollen is rubbed off on the bee’s body. Some of this will later be brushed off upon the stigma of another flower visited by the bee. Thus cross-pollination occurs as the insect passes from one flower to another.

“The Structure of Seed Plants: Flowers, the Seed Producers,” The Book of Knowledge
  • Plants
    Ready to go outdoors? The Handbook of Nature Study covers plants beginning on page 453, and continuing through page 731. The beginning pages cover how to begin the study of plants and their flowers, and then follow guidelines for investigating specific wildflowers, weeds, garden flowers, cultivated crop plants, trees, and flowerless plants.

Further Investigation

Putting Pollen Where It Is Needed
Very helpful information at covering pollinators, pollination, fertilization, and what to look for when determining who or what is pollinating a blossom.

Animated illustration of cross-pollination at the University of the Western Cape.

Pollinator Syndromes
Chart showing the flower characteristics that appeal to a particular pollinator.

Angiosperm Pollination Syndromes
Close-up views of flowers and their “fertilization plan” at Vanderbuilt University.

Pollination in the Vegetable Garden
Helpful and interesting information on the pollination of vegetables — including corn at Mississippi State University.

Flower Anatomy
Illustrated diagram for review from

Evening Primrose Opening
This is real time, not time lapse.


Pollinator Activity Book
8-page download at with information and activities from the USDA.

Pollinator Buzzy Activity Book
Cute printables in this 16-page download from the University of Illinois.

Pollinator Paradise Activity Book
10-page download with lots of information on bees.

Pick the Pollinator
Interactive from PBS NOVA.

Consider the Lilies of the Field
Coloring sheet at to go with the last paragraph of the lesson.

The First Book of Bees {Free eBook}

The First Book of Bees by Albert B. Tibbets
Great introductory book about bees in the public domain.

The Behavior of the Honey Bee in Pollen Collection by D.B. Casteel
This public domain work is easy to understand, fascinating and nicely illustrated. Scientific slant for the older student.

Free Nature Studies: How Plants Grow

The World of Plants by Dinah Zike
Dinah Zike was known for her foldables before lapbooks became popular. In this book she incorporates that learning tool with learning about plants. Includes 24 complete lessons including templates, activities, the scientific method and suggestions for further activities and research. You’ll find an example lesson at the publisher’s website. Lessons on roots, stems and leaves are included.

Unit Studies & Lesson Plans

Partners in Pollination
Lesson plan from the Smithsonian with three lessons covering how pollination works, how pollination affects the food supply, and how plants attract the correct pollinator. There are two wonderful printables — flower and bee anatomy diagrams — that are perfect for a notebook!

Pollinator Activity Guide
Three lessons from This download includes dozens of printables perfect for a pollinator notebook!

Free Nature Studies: The Honey Bee

Free Nature Studies: The Honey Bee
You’ll find more helps in this previous lesson, if you haven’t already enjoyed it.

Printables & Notebooking Pages

The Honey Files: A Bee’s Life
This free 98-page from the National Honey Board contains a wealth of information and notebooking resources. Pages 34-43 cover pollination including flower labeling sheet and several activities.

Pollinator Hunt
Nature journal page from Ranger Rick.

Busy Blossoms
Simpler nature journal page than the one above from Ranger Rick.

Nature Journal Notebooking Sets {Free Download}
Free blank nature journal sets for drawing, illustrating, copying, or narrating.

Bees & Flowers (Pollination) Notebooking Pages
Simple pages to go with the lesson for copywork, narrations, and wrapping up.

Enjoy the complete series:
Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World
Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World

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