Lesson Plan

Honeybees: Irritating or Indispensable?

#STEMChallenge Explore the importance of honeybees in ecosystems.
Donna M.
Classroom teacher
Vista Visions Academy
Vista, CA
Show More
My Grades 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects Science, Health & Wellness
Objectives

Students will be able to...

  • Classify organisms as producers or consumers.
  • Observe a food chain in equilibrium.
  • Determine how one organism affects others in a food chain.
  • Observe how disturbing the equilibrium of an ecosystem can result in long-term population fluctuations.
  • Predict how disturbing the equilibrium of an ecosystem may result in changes to our food supply,
Subjects
Science
Grades 6 - 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Have students do a QuickWrite listing everything they know about honeybees for 2-3 minutes. Then, engage students with an article or graph such as, "Honeybee Crisis Worsens As Summer Die-Offs Mount," from The New York Times, May 13, 2015.

Record student-generated questions they have about honeybees. Although this Lesson Flow focuses on the honeybees' place in the food web, additional questions could be the basis for later research projects. If the reading level of this news article seems too sopunts to analyze.

Student Instructions
  1. Write down everything you know about honeybees.
  2. Read the article or anaylyze the graphyour teacher assigns you.
  3. What questions do you have about honeybees? Share your questions with your group of students and your class.

2 Direct Instruction

ExploreLearning Gizmos
Free to Try, Paid

Use the Food Chain Gizmo with students. Download the Teacher Guide for information to help students use the Gizmo effectively. Make copies or provide online access to the Student Exploration Sheet and follow the directions.

The Student Exploration Sheet contains two activities:

  • Activity A – Students explore how changing one population in the food chain affects the others. 
  • Activity B – Students observe the long-term changes that result from major disturbances to the food chain.

​Teachers may have students complete the online assessment.

Student Instructions

Work through the Student Exploration Sheet, answering the questions from the Gizmo.

Complete the online assessment

3 Guided Practice

ExploreLearning Gizmos
Free to Try, Paid
Google Drive
Free, Paid

Students work in groups and jigsaw the following content. As each student  works through a different Gizmo, they share their learning with their group. 

They create a food web on chart paper, whiteboards or Google Draw and share with their group. Students look for similarities and differences and identify trophic levels. 

Questions for discussion:

  1. What are the similarities and differences among the food webs?
  2. Calculate and compare the trophic levels for each food web. 
  3. What would happen if something affected the organisms at a trophic level?

 

Student Instructions
  1. Work through the Gizmo your teacher assigns.
  2. Create a food web based on the one you explored in the Gizmos.
  3. Share your food web with your group and discuss using the following questions as a guide:
    1. What are the similarities and differences among the food webs?
    2. Calculate and compare the trophic levels for each food web.
    3. What would happen if something affected the organisms at a trophic level?

4 Guided Practice

Students watch a video from PBS Learning Media, "The Bounty of Bees." The video presents the importance of pollination to all growing things. After watching the video, students discuss the effect of bees on a food chain.

Student Instructions

Watch the video,  and discuss with your group the role of pollination for organisms in the food web.

5 Independent Practice

Use the article from the Washington Post, June 2105,  "Helping the Bee and its Habitat Before the Food Chain Gets Stung," found on Newsela. The reading level can be modified on Newsela to differentiate instruction. In order to differentiate, the teacher can assign appropriate lexile leveled reading for every student in his/her class(es). There is a quiz at the end of the reading that can be used as a formative assessment for reading comprehension. 

Student Instructions

1. Read the article, "Helping the Bee and its Habitat Before the Food Chain Gets Stung,"

2. Answer the questions at the end.

3. Draw a healthy food web that includes honeybees.

4. Either draw another food web without honeybees or explain what would happen to the food web if honeybees continue to decline.

6 Wrap-Up

Use the following videos from PBS Learning Media

"The Power of Pollination: Protecting the Honeybee" 

"Mystery of Bees"

"Disappearance of the Bees - What's the Impact?"

As a follow-up, students can make a claim, and evaluate it using evidence and reasoning about the effect the disappearance of honeybees could have on our food supply.