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NC State Extension

Busy World of Bees

Bumble Bee in Blue False Indigo Blossom

The Busy World of Bees is crafted to engage youth in celebrating bees and their pollinator allies and build an understanding of the benefits that bees and other pollinators provide to humans, as well as the fact that all bees need our help to do their work. In a series of seven lessons, youth will discover that the bee is one of nature’s wonders. They will learn that bees, both native bees and the European honey bee, help produce delicious and healthy food that humans have been eating for millenia. Youth will also explore the diversity and differences within habitats and garner further understanding of what honey bees, native bees, and other pollinators need to grow and thrive.

Busy Bees contains seven engaging lessons. Below are brief summaries of the lessons and a sampling of activities, assessments, and worksheets contained within the curriculum. Contact your county 4-H agent at your local N.C. Cooperative Extension office for a full free copy of the curriculum.

LESSON ONE – Introduction to Bees and Pollinators

Youth will consider the needs of bees (honey bees and native bees), including air, water, light, shelter (hives and nests), and food sources (nectar, pollen, and water) as they explore specific examples of how the environment provides a habitat for bees. Activities include:

  • Stand up, Sit down for Bees, Please!
  • Pollination Demonstration
  • The Tangle of Life
  • Bee Habitat Tag
  • Vocabulary Hive

Watch this video to understand how pollination occurs.

LESSON TWO – Busy Bee Bodies

Youth will understand the different body parts of a bee and the functions that enable them to do their work and raise the next generation of bees.

  • Pin the Wings on the Bee
  • Up Close: Bee Anatomy
  • Garden Observations
  • Pollinator Bingo
  • What’s the Difference?

LESSON THREE – Bee Life Cycles

Youth will study the life cycle of solitary and social bees and construct a model and book about each process.

  • Singing the Life Cycle Song
  • Bee Life Cycle Yoga
  • Bee Life Cycle Bookmark

LESSON FOUR – Bee Homes

Youth will consider the many types of bee homes and study the basic structures and environments in which bees build a home.

  • Hive Helpers
  • Honeycomb Constructors
  • Ground Nesters
  • Tunnel and Wood Nesters

LESSON FIVE – Bee Behavior

Youth will study bee behavior, in particular that of the honey bee, and learn about the various roles honey bees play in a colony.

  • Fantastic Foragers
  • Being a Bee
  • Dance, Dance Revolution
  • Nectar Gathering Game
  • Something Sweet: Honey Tasting

Waggle along the honey bees in this animation that describes the special communication honey bees around food sources.

LESSON SIX – Bee Habitats

Youth will summarize the environmental conditions and food sources needed for bees to live, and youth will be able to explain the physical features that enable a bee to successfully forage for nectar and pollen.

  • Bee Havens
  • Planting a Pollinator Plot
  • Garden Growth Play

LESSON SEVEN – Bee Stewardship

Youth will summarize ways humans can protect the environment or improve conditions for the growth of bees and pollinators. They will communicate solutions to reduce the impact of humans on land, water, air, and other living creatures in their local ecosystem.

  • Bee Happy
  • Unhappy Bees
  • Bee Stewardship Bracelet
  • 4-H Projects: Record Books, Presentations, and Insect Collection

The full curriculum may be obtained for free by contacting your 4-H agent at your local N.C. Cooperative Extension office.


Contact

Liz Driscoll
liz_driscoll@ncsu.edu