Un-BEE-Lievable Science: A bee themed lesson plan for grades 3 – 6

Bees are incredible creatures. And without bees, our ecosystems would be irreparably damaged.

bee bags

But bees have a bad reputation among children (they’re scary!), and I want to change that. I’m sharing all my resources for this program so that you can help change that too. If you are a teacher or a librarian, feel free to run this program/lesson using the following resources:

There are three main goals to this lesson:

  • Understand why bees are incredible
  • Understand why bees are vital to human survival
  • Understand how to help bees

There are 4 Active Learning portions of this lesson:

  • The Cheetos Pollination Game
  • Bee Charades featuring the Waggle Code (only for multi-day events)
  • Honey Tasting
  • Planting a Bee Friendly Flower

cheeto pollination 2

Cheetos Pollination Game

After discussing why plants need pollination, and why humans need plants, this is a memorable activity to help students visualize what they’ve learned. Plus there are cheetos to eat, so it’s appealing.

Around the room, spread out 5 – 10 cardstock flowers, each with a cup in the center filled with Cheetos. Kids should visualize their fingers as bees’ legs. They have to buzz from flower to flower, eating Cheetos, and rubbing their cheesy fingers on the petal of the next flower. Ideally, each flower would have a different kind of Cheetos to help visualize the spread of pollen.

After everyone has visited each flower, ask participants to examine their flower and explain how this experiment applies to the real world.

Beehive, Bees, Honeycomb, Honey Bee, Buckfast Bees

Bee Charades featuring the Waggle Code

I had originally planned to illustrate the Waggle Code, and include this in the lesson – but I realized there just wasn’t enough time to include Bee Communication in my hour long lesson! However, I’ve included it in this post in case you are running a multi-day program or lesson.

After learning about honeybees and their waggle dance, participants will have to use The Waggle Code to communicate to their teammates. I developed the Waggle Code to be as similar to the movements used in The Waggle Dance as possible. Instead of communicating a direction, each waggle movement represents a different letter. Each movement is a gross motor movement, rather than a fine motor movement, so that participants can experience how physically demanding the Waggle Dance is for bees.

Participants can volunteer to try to communicate a word to the group using the code. Or for some extra excitement, break the group into 2 teams and have them compete to communicate the most words in the span of 3 minutes. Afterwards, discuss why the task was challenging and how it relates to the Waggle Dance.

Honey, Spoon, Golden, Yellow, Liquid, Nutrition

Honey Taste Testing

After learning how honey is made and why honey produced by different hives has different flavours, participants will have a chance to taste 5 local honeys. After tasting each, they will fill out a Honey Tasting Notes card and discuss their experience. They should be encouraged to focus on the taste, and try to describe the flavours in creative ways.

Each kid had 5 Popsicle sticks, and dipped the end into the honey jar, tasted it, then discarded the stick.

This was definitely the most fun and impressive part of the event. We tried locally donated wildflower honey, buckwheat honey, blueberry honey, creamed honey, and fresh honeycomb.

honey comb

 

Bee Friendly Flowers

After learning about what makes flowers especially inviting to bees, students’ understanding will be assessed during the Flower Challenge in the PowerPoint. Afterwards, students will plant a seed and learn how to care for the flower.

I also invited a real bee-keeper to attend the program, and it added so much to the learning. She brought her tools, and I added a section for her to quickly go over the bee-keeping process. The kids had so many insightful questions for her!

This was a hugely successful program in terms of engaging kids about an important topic. Help save the bees by teaching kids to save the bees!

Again, here are the resources I used to run this program:

One thought on “Un-BEE-Lievable Science: A bee themed lesson plan for grades 3 – 6

  1. I love this so much. Thank you for sharing, I can’t wait to hear how the kids respond! Also, thank you for all of the resources! I really think a program like this would do well here (I’m in the Southern East Coast in the U.S. and we have a ton of honey farms here)!

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