You are here


Flower UV pattern for bees matching game

Students match flower picture cards that have both visible and UV light images, and learn that a bee sees different patterns to us in flowers. These help bees find the pollen in a flower.
Science content (2016 curriculum): 
Biology: Features, Adaptations of Living Things (K, 1, 3, 7)
Biology: Food Webs, Ecosystems, Biomes (3, 4)
Biology: Sensing, Organ Systems (4, 5, 6)
Physics: Light and Sound (1)
Lessons activity is in: 
  • Flower picture cards: 6 (or so) different flowers taken in both visible and UV light (see reference below)

Gather and print images of the same flower taken in visible light and UV light.
Try this link for a long list of ideas: To help narrow down, find ones who's Unltraviolet Features are "strong bulls eye pattern" or "strong" in the description
Arnica angustifolia
Oenothera biennis
Potentilla reptans
Rudbeckia hirta
Sonchus arvensis
Tripleurospermum maritimum

Students are asked to pair the picture cards. Each pair has the same flower taken in UV and visible light.
Some of the flowers look the same, and some have completely different patterns when viewed in each light.
Bees are able to see in UV, so can see patterns that we and other animals cannot. The bee is guided to the pollen with these guides.

Grades taught: 
Gr K
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Teaching site: 
General Gordon Elementary Science Club
After School Program at Elementary schools in New York City
Van Dusen Botanical Garden