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Life Science: Brassica & Butterfly System

To Bee or Not to Bee

Fast Plants are pollinated by many insects, including Pieris rapae and bees. What is the role of pollination in a plant life cycle? What happens if flowers aren’t pollinated? Try this with the plants being used in the Brassica & Butterfly Life Cycles activity to find out!

Materials Needed


  • Just before flowers begin to open (about Day 12), use small squares of plastic wrap and twist ties to loosely enclose 3–4 groups of flowers on different Brassica plants. Do not disturb these flowers any further.
  • Using your bee stick, transfer pollen gently from flowers on one plant to flowers on another. Do this with as many flowers as you can.
  • Continue to observe each plant until the end of its life cycle (about Day 40).
  • Describe what you see in both groups of flowers, and make a sampling of sketches as you do.

Activity Questions

  • What is the role of a flower in a plant life cycle?
  • What parts of the flower are most important to completing the life cycle? Make a sketch of these parts and their relationship to one another.
  • Describe specifically what you did to pollinate the flowers.
  • Describe what happens to the flowers after you pollinate.
  • What forms from the flowers?
  • Make a sketch to compare the differences between what happens to flowers that were pollinated and those that were not.
  • What can you conclude about the importance of insects, like bees, to the pollination of Fast Plants?
  • In the absence of insects, what else might help ensure pollination?

SHARE YOUR RESULTS for the To Bee or Not to Bee Activity

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