Second Grade NGSS
Plants, Growth, Pollination


Exploring the elements of a garden to attract pollinators

  • Designing a garden that brings back pollinators.
  • Creating a model of your design.

·         Host plants


·         tools to help build mode
Shape it molding
Attracting pollinators (pdf) 
·         Pollinator Garden ppt

·         Pollinator Color Guide worksheet 


Animals can roam about and seek mates with whom to reproduce, but imagine the challenge for a plant, rooted firmly to the ground, to achieve the same end. Pollinators, which include thousands of insect species (bees, tiny wasps, butterflies, beetles, and flies) and other animals (such as hummingbirds and bats), unwittingly move pollen from the male anther of one flower to the female stigma of another as they search for sweet, nourishing nectar and fat- and protein-rich pollen.

Pollinator Flower Preferences



Flower Preferences


Did you know? There are about 4,000 species of native bees in the U.S. ranging in length from less than one eighth of an inch to more than one inch. Most of these bees are "solitary" nesting and, having no hive to defend (as do nonnative honeybees), they are unlikely to sting!

Yellow, blue, purple flowers. There are hundreds of types of bees that come in a variety of sizes and have a range of flower preferences. They can't see red, but are attracted to some red flowers, such as bee balm, that reflect ultraviolet light. Small bees, which have short tongues, prefer packed clusters of tiny flowers (e.g., marigold, daisy, butterfly weed, aromatic herbs).


Red, orange, yellow, pink, blue flowers. They need to land before feeding, so like flat-topped clusters (e.g., zinnia, calendula, butterfly weed, yarrow, daisy) in a sunny location. They also need food sources for larvae and places to lay eggs. These include milkweed, aster, lupine, thistle, fennel, violets, hollyhock, black-eyed Susan.


Light-colored flowers that open at dusk such as evening primrose.

Pollinating beetles

They prefer wide-open flowers, such as aster, sunflower, rose, and butterfly weed.


Green, white, or cream flowers. They have short tongues, so prefer simple-bowl shapes.


Red, orange, purple/red tubular flowers with lots of nectar (e.g., honeysuckle, sage, fuchsia, jewelweed, fireweed, cardinal flower, bee balm, nasturtium, century plant). No landing areas are needed since they hover while feeding.


(Pollinating bats are found primarily in the Southwest)

Large, light-colored, night-blooming flowers with strong fruity odor (e.g., many types of cactus).



1.  Last time we talked about parts of a flower and pollination from the plant's point of view.  Today we talk more about the pollinators and what they do for plants.

2.   Watch the pollinator video (5 minute video).  Tell students to look for types of pollinators and clues about what kind of plants the pollinators like.

Review types of pollinators they saw in video

3.  Go over Powerpoint on pollinators and pollinator gardens.   Why are pollinators so important to us??  Why should we care about pollinators?

Talk about how to design a good pollinator garden.   Go over things you should consider:

  1. Pollinators require nectar and pollen rich flowers
  2. Flowers should range in shape and sizes
  3. Flowers should bloom throughout the season
  4. Provide overwintering places for eggs and larvae
  5. Provide water
  6. Avoid chemicals that might harm pollinators
  • Talk about design including that you need seasonal sequence of flowers.  UC Davis report claims that you need a minimum of 20 plant types that bloom throughout the year.  Selecting plants over the year insures that each pollinator will have food.  Here in California the weather is mild enough for pollinators to survive even in our winter

7.      Plant batches of the same type of flower.


4.  Use “Shape It” in containers for students to design a Garden.  They can use the materials provided to make pathways, leveled areas for different types of plants that will attract pollinators.   Have the students use the Pollinator Golor guide worksheet to help them design their pollinator garden and decide which pollinators will come to their garden. 

At the end the teams can present their pollinator garden to the class (or to the table if there isn’t much time) and tell which pollinators they expect to visit.


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