Bee-ing an Engineer with Wisconsin Fast Plants

Contributor
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Unit
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This resource is an excerpt of lessons from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Investigating Plants with Wisconsin Fast Plants Program. Students will explore Fast Plants' flowers and learn how flowers and their internal structures are related to their functions (in pollination and reproduction). Students will also explore how bees have structures that are associated with pollination functions, using "bee sticks" to pollinate their flowers and observing bee and flower structures with guides.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Early Elementary
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

2-LS2-2 Develop a simple model that mimics the function of an animal in dispersing seeds or pollinating plants.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
In this lesson, students are asked to design a stick that can pollinate plants in the same manner that a bee does. The lesson does not provide opportunities for students to develop a model to disperse seeds; however this would be a good engineering design that the teacher can create to accompany this lesson.

1-LS1-1 Use materials to design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and/or animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs.

Clarification Statement: Examples of human problems that can be solved by mimicking plant or animal solutions could include designing clothing or equipment to protect bicyclists by mimicking turtle shells, acorn shells, and animal scales; stabilizing structures by mimicking animal tails and roots on plants; keeping out intruders by mimicking thorns on branches and animal quills; and, detecting intruders by mimicking eyes and ears.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
In this lesson, students are asked to design a stick that can pollinate plants in the same manner that a bee does. The lesson does not provide opportunities for students to develop a model to disperse seeds; however this would be a good engineering design that the teacher can create to accompany this lesson.

K-2-ETS1-2 Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This resource is very detailed and provides tips on how to meet the engineering standard. For example, the problem or "ask" of the Engineering Design Process is stated with criteria, talking parts for argumentation, and steps to keep in mind as students work on their model.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
This resource has students design their tool based on evidence they have collected. Students must draw their tool before constructing it. Creating a drawing serves as a model of the tool.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
During this lesson, students are asked to make sketches and drawings of their designs and then use these drawings to explain their design to the whole class. For example, on page 20 of the guide the lesson, it provides criteria for completing the sketches. The lesson does not ask students to make physical models of their designs. Instead, they move from their sketches to directly constructing their bee sticks.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This resource contains a sample structure and function chart for both bees and flowers that students can refer to. To develop argumentation teachers may want to have a discussion with their students and create their own chart as a class.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
This resource contains a guide on the structures and functions of flowers which teachers can use to build students' background knowledge and help them further understand that bees help pollinate flowers.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This resource is strongly aligned to the dimensions of the NGSS. Students will be able to observe flowers Fast Plants and bee structures, learning to connect how the shape of a structure is related to its function. Then, students make and/or use bee sticks to conduct pollination. Finally, students look closely at how pollen is carried on bee bodies and where pollen moves within the flower as concrete examples of the relationship between structure and function.

  • Instructional Supports: This resource contains guiding questions such as "How can you design a model that mimics the way a bee pollinates Fast Plants’ flowers?" and provides suggestions on how guide their discussion and create an anchor chart to help guide them when making their models.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Please note that ideas for monitoring student progress are embedded within this unit. It is not a rubric that is at the end of the unit but summarizing activities or checkpoints for understanding. Discussion ideas, sentence frames, and sketching ideas are included. For more rigor instead of having whole class discussions teachers can incorporate science notebook journals and have students write about the activities before sharing.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This resource does not have a technological component.