Lesson Ideas to Teach Children About Honeybees

Written by tamara christine van hooser Google
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Lesson Ideas to Teach Children About Honeybees
Honey packs a nutritious punch -- enzymes, vitamins, minerals, water and antioxidants. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Most children love the taste of honey, but few realise that honey bees are an essential part of the pollination process. Without honeybees to pollinate the blossoms, berries, apples, nuts and many other fruits and vegetables would be in short supply. The extinction of honeybees would also mean no more honey for sweeteners, sandwiches and dippers. Teachers employ many creative lesson ideas to teach children about honey bees and make them aware of the benefits they gain from these buzzing insects.

Songs and Stories

Read aloud stories and songs make attention-grabbing lesson starters that impart factual knowledge while disguising learning as entertainment. Select a story or poem such as "The Magic School Bus Inside a Beehive" by Joanna Cole or Emily Dickinson's bee poetry and gather the children for story time. Music gets the body moving to stimulate memory neurons. Try making up motions to go with the bee songs from Preschool Education or Can Teach.

Scent Recognition

Honeybee hives each have their own scent to guide worker bees back to the correct hive after a pollination gathering trip. The scent acts as a protective measure that immediately identifies intruders and signals guard bees to attack. Give each child one cotton ball scented with peppermint, cinnamon, almond or cloves. Students must circulate and sniff one another's cotton balls to find the members of their own hive. Assign bee roles within each hive -- queen, drones and workers. Have the worker bees "fly" around as if they are gathering pollen. Ask some of them to try to return to the wrong hive. The guard bees sniff the cotton balls of each returning bee and either allow entrance or chase off the intruder.


Bee Dancing

Honeybees send out scouts to locate flowers for pollination and return with directions for the rest of the workers. Divide the class into small groups and assign one scout to each group. While everyone else hides their eyes, the scouts hide a bunch of flowers (real, paper or cloth). Each scout returns to her hive and performs a bee dance to indicate the direction and distance to the flowers. Spin right or left or shuffle in a straight line to indicate direction while speed of the dance indicates distance. The faster the dance, the nearer the flower patch while a slower dance indicates a further distance. Worker bees must interpret the scout's dance and follow him to the patch. First worker group to find their patch and return to the hive, wins the honey race.

Body Parts

A paper craft illustrates the body parts of a honey bee: head, thorax, abdomen, hind wing, forewing, antenna, simple eyes, compound eye, six legs and the pollen basket. Students cut out the different parts and assemble them, gluing each part in its proper place according to the honey bee's anatomy. To make an entire hive of bees, create bees with the three different body types -- queen, drone and worker. The drone's abdomen is longer and wider than a worker while a queen's abdomen is twice as long but no wider.

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