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BUILD WITH BEES: FARMING

8-10 yrs old

Animals

Climate & Environment

Science

Students explore dynamic, multi-faceted solutions to the difficult and complicated issue of bee death, using sustainable agriculture as a guide.

18
avatar Submitted By: Sarah Red-Laird

August 6, 2020

Download Assets

Skills

  • Character
  • Citizenship

External References

Dr. Marla Spivak’s TED Talk, Why Bees Are Disappearing

This 15-minute video offers an overview of the many complex and interrelated factors affecting bee health.

What is Regenerative Agriculture

This 4-minute video highlights three food production practices that improve soil health and support biodiversity in agricultural settings.

Flight of the Bumblebee

This video shows a live performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s famous, fast-paced “Flight of the Bumblebee”.

The Regenerative Bee Pasture Project

An innovative project to research and establish bee habitat on farms and ranches.

Kids and Bees Minecraft World

Download and open in Minecraft: Education Edition.

Supporting Files

Kids & Bees: Farming Teacher's Guide


Learning Objectives

  • NGSS Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
  • NGSS Science and Engineering Practices: Defining Problems; Developing Solutions
  • NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas: LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans; ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
  • Students recognize that sustainable food production and bee decline are interrelated and complicated topics

Guiding Ideas

This project was developed with the American Beekeeping Federation’s Kids and Bees program. Explore three new worlds, created by Lifeboat, and use new lessons to introduce students to bees' dynamic and fascinating roles in their own hives and in broader ecosystems. “Farming” is lesson 2/3 of the Farm world.

Introductory questions

  • What do honey bees do, besides make honey?
  • Why did bees begin to decline after World War II?
  • How can agriculture practices support rather than diminish bee populations?

 

Student Activities

Introduction (whole class) 25-40 minutes

Draw a T-chart on the board, titling the left column “Disappearing Bees” and the right column “Regenerative Agriculture”. Explain to the group that although bees dying is a big and complicated problem, scientists and farmers have some great ideas about how to help the bees survive. Tell them that you’ll watch two videos to explore how farming can help save bees.

As a class, watch Dr. Marla Spivak’s TED Talk, Why Bees Are Disappearing (15 minutes). After the video, ask the students to list some of the reasons why bees are dying, and write those answers in the left column of the T-chart. Reiterate that this is a big and complicated problem, but that, as you saw in the video, there are small and big actions everyone can take to help the bees.

Next, watch What is Regenerative Agriculture? (4 minutes). This video moves quickly, so you might want to watch it twice. After the video, ask students to list some of the ways that farmers can practice regenerative agriculture. Write their answers on the right column of the T-chart.

Now ask students to compare the two lists to identify solutions from the “regenerative agriculture” column that might help solve problems in the “disappearing bees” column. Draw lines to connect problems with solutions. For example, “monocultures” or “food deserts” on the left could connect to “plant lots of different kinds of flowers” on the right. Using the introductory questions above, guide a discussion around the role of bees in food production historically, now, and in the future, highlighting the idea that bee health and agricultural sustainability are very closely related.

Minecraft Beehive (explore as individuals or in groups) 20-30 minutes

Load the attached Kids and Bees Minecraft world. Direct students to explore the farm area and meet Poppy for a demonstration of a bee friendly farm. While they are there, ask them to read the blackboards near the demo farm. When they feel like they understand what makes a farm “bee friendly” and “regenerative”, they can walk over to the empty farm field.

There, students can talk to Caesar and Thurgood about farming, read all of the black boards for more information, and then get busy making their own bee-friendly farms! This activity can be completed individually or collaboratively.

In-Class Activity (whole class) 15-30 minutes

Bee Habitat Musical Chairs

Ahead of time, print out or write signs, each with one of the following items; repeat items as many times as necessary to ensure you have one sign for each student:

  • Dandelions
  • Clover, alfalfa, and buckwheat cover crop
  • Front yard covered in clover
  • Roadside with milkweed
  • Hedgerow with flowering bushes
  • Oak tree
  • Apple orchard
  • Beehive
  • Pond

Ask each student to bring their chair to an open area, and direct them to place their chairs in a circle with the seats facing out.

Please download the teacher's guide for the complete lesson. 

Total time 60-100 minutes

 

Performance Expectations

This lesson will enable students to:

  • Describe the relationship between bee health and food production practices
  • List human and natural actions that help and harm bee heath

 

Skills

  • Character
  • Citizenship

External References

Dr. Marla Spivak’s TED Talk, Why Bees Are Disappearing

This 15-minute video offers an overview of the many complex and interrelated factors affecting bee health.

What is Regenerative Agriculture

This 4-minute video highlights three food production practices that improve soil health and support biodiversity in agricultural settings.

Flight of the Bumblebee

This video shows a live performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s famous, fast-paced “Flight of the Bumblebee”.

The Regenerative Bee Pasture Project

An innovative project to research and establish bee habitat on farms and ranches.

Kids and Bees Minecraft World

Download and open in Minecraft: Education Edition.

Supporting Files

Kids & Bees: Farming Teacher's Guide