Bees as Pollinators
Target Grade Level / Age Range:
Students will understand the importance of bees and the basics of pollination.
- Photo of honey bee
- The Pollination Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caUbYOGiIoY
- Juice boxes- one per student
- Paper flowers, one per student, printed on multiple different colors of paper
- Handheld hole punch
- Cheetos – four to five per student
- Ziploc bag
- Bee puppets (optional)
- Chart paper
Suggested Companion Resources (books, websites, etc.):
- Beauty and the Bees by Aaron Burkaroff
- Pollinator: insects or vertebrates that carry pollen from one flower to another, fertilizing the flowers and allowing them to fruit.
- Colonies: groups of bees that live and work together
- Nectar: sweet liquid from flowers
- Pollen: tiny powdery grains that flowers make
Background – Agricultural Connections:
Bees and other pollinators are essential to the production of many agriculture crops, including cucumbers, kiwifruit, alfalfa for cattle to eat, even many nuts and chocolate! Pollinators include many different types of bees, butterflies, bats, flies and even lady bugs!
Interest Approach or Motivator:
Show students a photograph of a honeybee and ask them to share their thoughts about bees. Record them on a white board or chart paper. Ask students, is it possible that bees are actually helpful to us?
- Before the lesson, print the flower on a variety of different colors of paper. Cut the flowers into squares or circles and punch a small hole in the center of the flower.
- Read Beauty and the Bees. Ask students to consider the idea that bees can be helpful to humans.
- Watch the Pollination Song with Students. Discuss the following questions:
- What are “pollinators?” What do they do? What kinds of insects or animals are pollinators?
- Why is pollination important?
- What are some crops that require pollination by animals?
- What needs of the bees are fulfilled by flowers?
- Distribute a juice box, a flower, and a Ziploc bag with 3-4 Cheetos to every other student.
- Explain to students that the brightly colored flowers attract pollinators like bees.
- Have students place the juice box in the plastic bag with the Cheetos. Have students place the flower over their straw to rest on top of the juice box.
- Explain that students without flowers are now bees. If using the bee puppets, distribute them to the students that will be bees. Explain that students who have juice boxes are flowers.
- One at a time, pair a bee student and a flower student and have the bee reenact pollination. The bee student should approach the flower, and drink “nectar” out of the juice box straw while picking up “pollen” from the Cheetos. Students should not eat the Cheetos.
- Once all pairs of students have demonstrated pollination, explain that one bee may travel to multiple flowers, but students will not do that to avoid spreading germs between juice box straws.
- Pass around a garbage can for students to dispose of the flowers, juice boxes and Cheetos.
- Ask students to recite all the information they know about bees and pollination. Make a list on chart paper to refer to as a reminder in the future.
Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents):
Kelsey Faivre, IALF
National Agriculture Literacy Outcomes:
- Theme 2: Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber and Energy Outcomes:
- Identify animals involved in agricultural production and their uses
Iowa Core Standards:
- Iowa Core Science Standards
- K-ESS3-1. Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants or animals (including humans) and the places they live.
- K-ESS3-3. Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.