Activities

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ACTIVITIES AND EXPERIMENTS

Copyright 1997 by Janice D. Green

ACTIVITIES

ARE THERE BEES IN YOUR CLOVER?

An easy way to find out if there are honeybees in your area is to look at the clover that is blooming in your yard. As soon as it warms up enough for your clover to bloom you can do the following simple test.

On a sunny day when the temperature is between 60 degrees and 95 degrees Farenheit, find the largest patch of blooming white clover you can find. It may be helpful to casually observe the clover for a day or so to determine the time of the day that it is most inviting to the bees. Even if you don't see bees, notice the time of day when other insects are flying around it the most. That will indicate the time of the best nectar flow. Mark off one square foot of ground with a string. (This should be a square that is one foot in length on each side.) Do not step inside the square you are marking it off as bees will be less likely to visit flowers that have been stepped on. It is important that blooming clover fill the entire square foot so the comparisons with other people's findings will be as equal as possible.

Next use another string to mark a boundary on one side of the square that is five feet away. Everyone should sit VERY QUIETLY behind this boundary so as to not scare the bees away. Using a stop watch or a watch with a second hand, count the number of bees that visit the square in three minutes.

 

EXPERIMENTS

WATERMELONS

Watermelons offer an excellent opportunity to examine and compare the effects of pollination on taste and size of fruit. Buy two or three watermelons of the same variety. Choose one that is very large and well rounded, one that is much smaller than the rest and preferably smaller on one end (be sure it is the same variety), and if a third is chosen, select a medium sized melon.

If you are doing this activity with a classroom or other large group, divide the students so each group has one watermelon and have them carefully count all the black seeds and all the white seeds. For each melon, divide the number of black seeds by the total of all the seeds (white plus black), and multiply that number by one hundred to learn the percent of seeds pollinated. Then eat the mellons and compare the taste. Make a chart and/or graph to compare and illustrate your findings.

APPLES

Buy a bag of small apples in the grocery store. Check to see what variety of apple it is (i.e. Jonathan, Rome, Granny, etc) and look for the SAME VARIETY of apple in large apples that you may select and purchase individually. Choose the most perfect apple you can buy and one that appears lopsided. At home compare and rank the apples in appearance and make notes on each. If you have appropriate scales, weigh each apple and include that information in your notes. Next, cut each apple open and count the seeds in each. Add this information to your notes. Then taste the apples and note which apples taste best and which taste worst. Draw your own conclusions about the effect pollination (the number of pollinated seeds) has on the taste of an apple.



Note: There may be problems with the apple experiment if you don't select the very same variety of apples. Also, grocery stores do not usually buy the lesser quality apples. Bagged apples may be specially bred to be smaller and still taste good. The ideal way to do this experiment is to gather apples in an orchard or in neighboring orchards where one orchard has more bees than the other. Again, the apples should be the same variety.

...to share your results with Jan Please give me a convincing subject line as this email account is already plagued with spam.
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