Bee vision flower UV pattern matching game

Students match flower picture cards that have pairs of visible and ultra-violet light images. Learn how a bee is guided to the centre of a flower.
Science content
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)
  • Flower picture pairs: 6 (or so) different flowers taken in both visible and UV light (see references below for ideas)

Gather images of the same flower taken in visible light and UV light, and print with permission, or use from a webpage.

Link suggestions:
1. (permission needed for printing).
The following images have a "strong bulls eye pattern" or are described as "strong" in the description:
Arnica angustifolia (Arctic sunflower)
Oenothera biennis
Potentilla reptans
Rudbeckia hirta
Sow thistle (looks like a branching dandelion), Sonchus arvensis
Tripleurospermum maritimum

Students are asked to pair the images. Each pair has the same flower taken in UV and visible light.
Some flowers have completely different patterns when viewed in each light.
Bees are able to see in UV (humans can't), so can see patterns that we and other animals cannot, overlaid on the visible colours. With these patterns (called "nectar guides"), the bee is guided to the centre of the flower, hence to the nectar.

Other colours seen by animals:
Snakes can see well in infra red, which is heat, to help them catch (warm) prey.
Reptiles, amphibians, birds and insects can all see more colours than humans.


Other animals' colour vision:
Cats have green and blue opsins (not red) - protanopia.
Use cyan filter to start, then add colours to play with.

Grades taught
Gr K
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Gr 4