Episodes - Lessons
Plants and Pollinators

Society, as we know it, would be a lot different if we didn’t have pollinators. Many of the fruits we consume simply wouldn’t exist without them. In fact, the majority of plants are pollinated by what are called “biotic”, or living, pollinators. These include bees, butterflies, beetles, moths, and even bats.

How do these animals help plants reproduce through pollination? To answer that question we need to become botanists, or plant scientists, and take a closer look at flowers.

Flowers contain a stigma, or the female reproductive part of the plant. The stigma is smack dab in the middle of a flower and is something of a bulls-eye for biotic pollinators. Pollinators find the flower and settle upon the stigma to consume nectar. These creatures brush up against the pollen grains found on the stamen, or male reproductive part of the plant. When this pollen sticks to pollinators, the flower has done its job.

The pollinators, lured in with tasty nectar, now carry the pollen grains with them as they visit other flowers. And when those pollen grains contact the stigma of a flower that belongs to the same species…voila. A new plant is born.

Some plants use nitrogen fixation to gather the nutrients from the soil and almost all plants use the process of photosynthesis to make food from the sun. Not sure what these are? Well, watch the video to find out.

Check out this Serious Science video to learn more about these creatures who help feed the world. You’ll also join Caroline and Josh as they investigate the science of nitrogen fixation and photosynthesis. To take your learning even further, download the lesson activities below. Your teacher can download the lessons for free and you can blossom into a plant scientist in no time flat.