NEW! A Hive of Activity
What's all the buzz about? Take students on a hands-on research adventure into the fascinating world of bees as they learn all about bee anatomy by constructing model honey bees and then create a class "hive" as they learn about the inner workings of a beehive.
- Identify the different body parts of a bee and briefly describe their functions.
- Demonstrate their understanding of bee anatomy by creating a model bee and labeling its body parts.
- Study the social and physical structure of a beehive including the roles of different bees (queen, worker, drone) and the construction and functions of a honeycomb.
- Participate in building a model honeycomb that will serve as a class "hive" where students can add slips of paper telling about what they learned each day in class.
Common Core Standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.7 With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the text in which they appear (e.g., what person, place, thing, or idea in the text an illustration depicts).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.2 With prompting and support, identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.4 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.10 Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.4 Read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.K.6 Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.K.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on kindergarten reading and content.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.K.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.K.2 Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if something is not understood.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K.8 With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.4 Ask and answer questions to help determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.10 With prompting and support, read informational texts appropriately complex for grade
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.4a Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.1.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.1.8 With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.1.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.1.2 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.6 Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using frequently occurring conjunctions to signal simple relationships (e.g., because).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.4a Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.10 By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 2–3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.2.4a Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.8 Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.2.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
Grade-appropriate nonfiction texts about bees, Elmer's® Disappearing Purple School Glue Sticks, Elmer's® Washable School Glue, construction paper, scissors, markers, cardboard tubes, poster board, paint, paintbrushes, and index cards.
SET UP AND PREPARE
Bees are a type of insect that has three body parts: head, thorax and abdomen. There are three types of bees in a beehive (queen, worker, and drone) and each type performs distinct tasks to maintain the colony as a whole.
- Bees have two large compound eyes that allow them to see all around. Each compound eye is made up of more than 6,000 small lenses, which are each like a separate eye.
- The antennae on top of a bee’s head help it smell, feel, and taste.
- The middle section of a bee’s body is called the thorax. Three pairs of legs and two pairs of wings are attached to the thorax.
- The rear of a bee’s body is called the abdomen. Female worker bees produce the wax used to build the hive using this part of their body. Female bees have stingers at the end of their abdomens, while male bees do not.
- The queen is the largest bee in the colony and is the only one that can lay eggs.
- Worker bees, which are all female, build the hive with wax secreted in their abdomens. Workers also care for the young bees, defend the hive, and forage for pollen and nectar.
- Drones are male bees that have the sole task of mating with the queen.
Printable: All About Bees KWL Chart
Antennae, thorax, abdomen, compound eye, proboscis, colony, queen, worker, drone, honeycomb, nectar, hive, pollen
Introduction (5 minutes)
Welcome students into the fascinating world of bees, where they will explore this topic as researchers and model builders. Activate what students already know about bees and record students’ insights in the first column of the whiteboard-ready All About Bees KWL Chart printable. Next, guide students in crafting questions about the anatomy and hive life of bees to record in the second column of the chart.
Research Groups (35 minutes)
In small groups, have students read nonfiction books about bees and research the answers to the questions the class identified in the KWL chart. Provide students with paper and pencils to take notes and record interesting bee facts. In addition, ask students to create a sketch of a bee and label as many parts as they can. This sketch will serve as a guide when students create their bee models.
Bee Anatomy Challenge (10 minutes)
Draw a picture of a bee on the board and ask students to help you identify the following worker bee anatomy terms without looking at their sketch: head, compound eyes, antennae, proboscis, thorax, wings, legs, abdomen, pollen basket (located on the back legs), and stinger. Was the class up to the bee anatomy challenge? Ask questions that encourage students to recall what they learned from their research and discuss the function of each part of the bee as you label it. Once all parts have been labeled, have students look over their sketches and correct any errors.
Model Creation (15 minutes)
Invite students to demonstrate their learning by creating a model of a worker honeybee and labeling each body part. Provide students with construction paper, Elmer's Disappearing Purple School Glue Sticks, scissors, and markers. Have students cut shapes out of different colors for the bee’s head, thorax, abdomen, wings, pollen basket and legs and glue them to a full sheet of construction paper. Next, have students label each part with the correct scientific term.
(Elmer’s 1st Day Connection: Take a picture of each student and his or her newly created bee model, then email or provide these to parents to include on the Elmer’s 1st Day website.)
Hive and Honey Lesson (15 minutes)
Drawing upon what students learned about the life of the hive while researching, complete the KWL chart printable. Review the following essential bee information as you ask students to contribute additional details and share what they learned through their research.
- Honeybees are social bees that live in a hive.
- What other insects can you think of that live together in a group?
- Worker bees, which produce wax on the underside of their abdomens, construct the hive. The hive consists of many six-sided cells that form combs used for holding the eggs laid by the queen as well as stores of pollen and nectar (in the form of honey) that the bees will eat during the winter months.
- Why do bees need to store pollen and nectar?
- Why do you think worker bees have this name?
- Bees make honey by collecting nectar from flowers using their proboscis (tongue) and processing it inside of their bodies.
- What do bees pick up on the tiny hairs that cover their bodies as they drink nectar from flowers?
- Drone bees are male and don’t make wax or have stingers. Their only job is to mate with the queen.
- There is only one queen bee in a hive and she lays all of the eggs. Worker bees called nurses take care of the eggs and larvae.
- Bees “talk” to each other inside the hive using smell. The queen bee produces a certain chemical smell that lets the other bees know she is alive and well. Worker bees produce a smell that lets other bees know they belong to that colony. Bees can also use smell to send a message about danger to the hive.
- Has there ever been a time when something you smelled gave you information about what was going on in the kitchen?
- Bees tell other bees where to find food by dancing in specific patterns.
- Why might dancing be a good way for bees to “talk” in a buzzing, humming hive?
Honeycomb Construction (15 minutes)
Engage the class in a project to create a class honeycomb model. Give each student a cardboard tube, paint, and a paintbrush. Ask students to paint only the inside of the tube. For a more realistic look, have students use shades of yellow, orange, or light brown to paint their tubes. As students finish painting, use Elmer’s Washable School Glue to glue one tube to the next and then all of the tubes to a sheet of yellow poster board. Allow the paint and glue to dry overnight.
Wrap-up (5 minutes)
Invite each student to write an amazing bee fact on an index card that has been cut lengthwise. These cards can then be slipped into the cells of the class hive once the paint and glue have dried. Explain to students that just like bees collect nectar from flowers and turn it into honey to store in the hive’s honeycomb, students are like busy bees that collect learning experiences that they save until they need them. Encourage students to reflect regularly on their learning and add more index cards to the cells of the class hive!
Whiteboard Extension Activities
- Classroom as a Hive: Explain that a beehive consists of a large community of bees that all have different roles to perform in order to maintain the hive. Review the different types of bees in a hive such as the queen, drones, guards, workers, and foragers, as well as the specific tasks of each bee. Ask students to identify the roles of people in a classroom, family and/or community. How does each person help make the community a healthy place to live, work, and grow? Create a chart outlining the roles, responsibilities and services that each person provides to the larger group. Ask students to identify similarities and differences between the roles in a beehive and the roles in a human community.
- Insect Compare and Contrast: Create a Venn diagram and ask students to compare the features of bees (body structure, life cycle, food source, habitat, etc.) with that of another insect. In what ways are they the same? How are they different? What might be some features that all insects share? Introduce the concept of biological classification, also called taxonomy, and create new diagrams comparing insects to other kinds of animals. Discuss the division of the animal kingdom into groups of vertebrates and invertebrates and then into even smaller groups. Guide students in identifying what makes an insect an insect as you compare its features to that of other living things.
- Bee Advocacy Poster: Invite students to help educate others about the importance of bees as pollinators for crops that people eat. Begin the activity with a discussion of what they think most people might know about bees and how people feel about bees. Do they think people are often afraid of bees? Why is this? Do they think people might change their minds about bees if they knew more about them? Explain the importance of pollination for crops. Next, guide students to create a catchy slogan for their bee campaign and then create a series of posters to display around their school. Each poster should include a combination of images and text with lots of great facts about bees!
- A Day in the Life of a Bee: What would it be like to be a bee and live in a hive? Have students select a type of bee (drone, worker, queen, forager, guard, wax builder) and write a short story about what they imagine a day would be like for this type of bee. Ask students to include a description of the main work that type of bee does in the hive and other relevant facts from their research.
- Read about the care and keeping of bees in The Beeman by Laurie Krebs and then invite students to create their own poems about bees that incorporate a new vocabulary word or interesting fact they learned about bees.
Visit http://the1stday.com/ and download the Elmer’s 1st Day app to capture and share the first day of school and beyond. You can create slide shows, personalize photos, share “first day” albums, and more.
In this home-connection activity, students will perform a field study of bees in their own backyard. Ask students to look for bees in their backyard and record how many they saw and where they saw the most bees. As a class, compare results and create a table illustrating the frequency of seeing bees in various locations such as “near flowers,” “in the grass,” “flying in the air,” etc. Invite students to interpret their data, drawing upon what they already know about bee behavior.