Science - Sex life of the flowers

1st February 2013 at 00:00

What it's all about

In the beginning was the word and the word was "sex". It had mysteriously appeared on my interactive whiteboard, writes Steve Eddison.

"Look, Mr Eddison, it says 'sex'," said Nathan, to a chorus of giggling.

Dragging away the remaining petals on the giant flower revealed "the sex life of flowering plants".

Where the term "sex life" excites, "flowering plants" sows seeds of doubt. "I must warn you that today's learning will involve studying sex organs," I said.

Actually, it involved a PowerPoint on the parts of a flower. Carpels and stamens proved challenging. "If flowers have got penises as well as vaginas, does that mean they're gay or bisexual?" asked Nathan.

"Flowers don't have penises or vaginas, but they do have male and female reproductive parts," I replied. "The stamens produce pollen and the carpel contains the ovary. To make new seeds, pollen must be transferred from stamen to carpel. But how?"

Using my DIY Flowering Plant Resource, I moved them to a seedier place, where lust for nectar rules - a polystyrene bowl, with cotton buds dipped in talcum powder attached to the inside of the rim. Stuck around the outside of the rim are brightly coloured petals made from card. The whole thing is attached to the end of a green cardboard tube with paper leaves stuck to it.

My nectar substitute (a fruit pastille) was placed inside the bowl and a swarm of volunteer bees prepared to plunge into the sex life of flowering plants.

What else?

Try boaqueen's worksheet on plants, growth and stories. bit.lytesPlantStories. Or the life cycle of a plant with R Dally's PowerPoint presentation. bit.lytesLifeCycleOfAPlant.

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