Self-Pollination Activities

Instructor: Nora Jarvis

Nora has a Master's degree in teaching, and has taught a variety of elementary grades.

In your science lessons, you might want to teach your students about the self-pollination that some kinds of plants exhibit. These activities will help your students understand the process.


Self-pollination is an important aspect of plant reproduction. Instead of relying on bees or wind, some plants pollinate by themselves. When a plant self-pollinates, pollen from the plant comes to the stigma or ovule of the plant. As your students begin to learn about self-pollination, it is important to help them understand that this activity is not common, and most plants pollinate through other means.

Self-Pollination Activities

The following activities will help your students understand the self-pollination process and analyze the benefits of self-pollination.

Class Flower Diagram Book

Pair students and have them create a flower diagram that shows how plants self-pollinate. They should do research to figure out the exact shape of the flower parts and to make sure their labels are correct and easy to understand. Combine all the diagrams into a class book and add it to your class library. As you work through the unit, have your students reference the diagram book and use it in their next assignments.

Making Flower Cards

Have your students research several different types of self-pollinating flowers and create informational cards about the flowers. These cards can be used in several different ways. You might use them as trading cards or as flashcards that allow students to quiz each other on facts about the flowers. You can also have the students develop different ways to categorize the different flowers. As you work through your unit, you might have students add to the collection as you learn about more and more plants that self-pollinate.

Dissecting Plants

Provide your students with a variety of self-pollinating plants. You might consider including tomato plants, peppers, sweet peas, orchids, lilies, barley, and oats. In pairs, have your students dissect the plants and determine which parts are necessary for the self-pollination to occur. Have your students briefly share to the rest of the class, making sure to show the pollen, stigma, and ovule that they have found.

Student-Made Dictionary

As a class, have your students develop a list of vocabulary words related to self-pollination. They might include vocabulary terms like pollination, fertilization, stigma, ovule, adaptation, angiosperm. Then, divide the class into pairs and assign a few of the vocabulary words to each group. The students develop a definition for each terms into a student-made dictionary. You might extend this activity by having students write a story using as many vocabulary words as possible.

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