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Hive Helpers

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Honeybee (Apis sp.) gather pollen from goldenrod (Solidago sp.) flowers in summer.

Every spring and summer, youth and adults alike enjoy sweet-smelling flowers and listening to the buzzing sound that comes from the rapidly beating wings of busy bees. Through a series of seven lessons and multiple experiential activities, youth will learn how critical bees are to our agricultural industry and native ecosystems. They will explore different types of bees, their structures, and functions, how they forage for food, pollinate plants, and the ways bees share information. Youth will study native bees and the honey bee and discover the significant role they play in production of delicious and healthy food that humans have been eating for centuries. The curriculum concludes with an overview of how people can help bees. Youth will learn how to provide nesting habitats, use best management practices in beekeeping, and building native bee homes

Hive Helpers contains seven engaging lessons for youth ages 9-11. It is aligned with NC science standards for fourth grade. 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 explore habitats of honey bees and native bees and consider ways bees adjust to changes in their environment.

  • Lunchbox Links
  • Pollinator Posters

LESSON TWO – Bee Anatomy

Youth will observe and discover the different parts of a bee and what function they serve.

  • Creature Feature
  • Garden Observations
  • Upcycled Build a Bee

LESSON THREE – Bee Life Cycles

Youth will investigate the life cycle stages of bees and explore their similarities and differences.

  • Metamorphosis Mix-Up
  • Honey Bee Book
  • Mining Bee Life Cycle Model


Youth will study the basic shelter needs of bees and the different types of nests they create.

  • Busy Beekeepers + Hive Demonstration
  • Sweet Treats
  • Honey Bee Frame Drawing
  • Mason Bee Mansion

LESSON FIVE – Bee Behavior and Roles

Youth can explain how pheromone communication works and the purpose of three honey bee dances: waggle, round, and shiver. They can also name examples of the types of bees in a honey bee colony: drone, queen, worker.

  • Smell and Tell
  • Waggle It, Just a Little Bit
  • Pollinator Power
  • Honey Bee Plays

LESSON SIX – Bee Habitats

Youth will summarize what honey bees and native bees need to grow and thrive. They will explain ideal conditions and food sources and the regional differences.

  • Pollinator Paradise
  • Bee Garden

LESSON SEVEN – Bee Conservation

Youth will summarize ways that 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.

  • Stewardship Board Game
  • Bee Button Blitz
  • Bee Extemporaneous Speaking
  • 4-H Presentations, Record Books, Essay, Insect Collection

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


Liz Driscoll