Self-Fertilization Activities

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Self-fertilization is the process by which most plants and some bacteria reproduce. This lesson offers activities that will help students form a better understanding of the process of self-fertilization.

Teaching About Self-Fertilization

Are you teaching your students about the life cycles of plants, about invertebrate animals, or about reproduction in general? If so, one of the areas you are going to want to touch on is that of self-fertilization. Understood broadly, self-fertilization is the process by which plants and some animals fertilize themselves with their own pollen or sperm, instead of that of another member of their species.

To help your students understand more about how self-fertilization works and why it is important, you might want to incorporate some activities into your instruction. This will allow students to learn from a variety of strengths and to take ownership over their own learning.

The activities in this lesson will help students form a deeper and more careful understanding of self-fertilization.

Visual Activities

This section offers activities that teach about self-fertilization through images and graphic organizers, appealing to visual learners.

Compare and Contrast

Ask students to complete a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting the self-fertilization processes of two different species, such as a specific plant and a specific form of bacteria. They should think of at least three items for each segment of the Venn diagram.

Then, have students complete a second Venn diagram comparing and contrasting self-fertilization with sexual reproduction. Finally, let students display their Venn diagrams and note what their classmates thought of.

Sketch and Label

This is a great activity that gives students a chance to turn your classroom into a gallery of self-fertilization diagrams.

Break students up into partnerships and have each pair work to draw a diagram explaining the different steps in one example of self-fertilization in a species. Their diagrams should include at lease five different sketches, showing what is happening on a cellular as well as a whole-species level, and each sketch should include a label.

When complete, hang all of their completed diagrams around the classroom and let them walk from image to image, observing and discussing similarities and differences.

Tactile Activities

The activities in this section will let students use their hands and bodies as they learn more about self-fertilization.

Species Speech

This is an activity that the more dramatic among your students will just love. Let students work independently, in pairs, or in small groups.

Each student should zero in on one species that reproduces via self-fertilization, such as a type of plant, yeast, or jellyfish. Then, they should prepare a dramatic speech from the perspective of a member of that species, explaining their reproductive process. Make sure to encourage students to incorporate gestures or movements into their speech. Give them time to perform for and learn from each other!

Model Plants

Most of the species that reproduce via self-fertilization are plants. Ask your students to use clay or recycled materials for this activity. and have them work in small groups.

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