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  • Pollinators are insects that visit flowers to drink nectar or feed on pollen. During this process, they get covered in pollen grains and then transport the pollen from one plant to another. Through their actions, they help the plant to reproduce.

    Rights: Neville Gardner

    Honey bee on flower

    This honey bee has pushed its head into a flower to search for nectar. Pollen from the stamens will rub off on its body and get carried to another flower.

    Around a third of the plants used by humans require animal pollination to reproduce. Bees are well known as pollinators, but many other insects are also involved, particularly flies, wasps and butterflies.

    This article provides pedagogical advice and a selection of resources regarding flowers, bees and pollination basics.

    In this activity, students directly observe pollinators on flowering plants and record their observational data on an activity sheet.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • collect and record data about the kinds of pollinators they observe visiting a flower
    • collect and record data about the numbers of pollinators they observe visiting a flower
    • use an identification sheet to name some common insects
    • discuss what they’ve observed and make inferences based on their observations.

    Download the activity file (Word) and the identification guide What Is This Bug? (PDF) – see links below.

    Activity ideas

    Useful links

    Visit our We love bugs! Pinterest board with links to resources and community activities.

    Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research has a lot of useful information, such as What is this bug? – a handy guide to common invertebrates of New Zealand.

    Visit the New Zealand Entomological Society website.

    Curious Minds is a government initiative that encourages and supports all New Zealanders to ask questions, solve local problems and uncover innovative science and technology solutions for a brighter future.


    This resource was developed by Morgane Merien, Dr Chrissie Painting, Tom Saunders and Dr Leilani Walker for the Curious Minds Buzz in the Garden project.


    This activity has been produced as part of a Participatory Science Platform (PSP) programme. The Buzz In the Garden PSP project has been funded through the South Auckland pilot of the PSP – a programme that is part of the Curious Minds initiative and funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The PSP is currently being implemented as a pilot in three areas: South Auckland, Taranaki and Otago.

    The South Auckland pilot of the PSP is managed by COMET Auckland (Community Education Trust Auckland). COMET is a council-controlled organisation of Auckland Council and an independent charitable trust. Its role is to advance education in Auckland by supporting education and skills across the region. COMET Auckland hosts the Auckland STEM Alliance, which is leading the pilot in South Auckland. The Auckland STEM Alliance brings together businesses, educators and government.

    The government’s national strategic plan for Science in Society, A Nation of Curious Minds – He Whenua Hihiri i te Mahara, is a government initiative jointly led by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Ministry of Education and the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor.

      Published 22 October 2020 Referencing Hub articles
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