8-10 yrs old
Climate & Environment
Students apply their knowledge of bees’ lifelong needs to build Minecraft “beetopias” to support and grow their very own bee colonies.
August 6, 2020
Life cycle of a Bumblebee
This resource from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust describes the seasonal life cycle of bumble bees with text and images.
Bicolored Metallic Green Sweat Bee
This is one of 14 known species of Agapostemon in the United States and Canada.
Kids and Bees Minecraft World
Download and open in Minecraft: Education Edition.
Building Beetopia Worksheet
Kids & Bees: Habitat Teacher's Guide
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. “Life Cycle of a Colony” is lesson 2/3 for the Beetopia World.
Introduction (whole class) 10-15 minutes
Explain to students that in this lesson, they will build “beetopias” to serve as healthy, happy homes for their own Minecraft bee colonies. But before they can build the perfect habitat for bees, they have to learn what bees need! As a class, read the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s page on the Bumblebee Lifecycle, which illustrates how a bee relies on many different habitat components throughout the year. Use the questions above to highlight bees’ habitat requirements, and invite students to brainstorm some threats to bees’ survival.
Minecraft Beetopia (explore as individuals) 35-45 minutes
Direct students to load the Kids and Bees Minecraft world and travel to the Beetopia area. Ask them to talk to the NPC Bee Girl who will introduce Beekeeper Sarah. Sarah will teach the students about what a bee colony needs to survive (habitat) and about the challenges bees face.
Then ask the students to meet Carl at the “Sweat Bee Garden” and explore here and in the “Bumble Bee Garden” (also visited in Beetopia Lesson “Bumble Buzz”). Invite students to put a camera, quill, and pen from the chest into their inventory to record what they learn along the way.
After students have had time to explore the “Sweat Bee Garden” and the “Bumble Bee Garden”, ask them to turn their attention away from the game and toward the classroom. Discuss with the students what they discovered while walking in the gardens, highlighting bees’ life cycle stages, their habitat requirements, and threats to their survival.
Next, direct students to return to the game, where they will walk to the empty field next to the “Sweat Bee Garden” or the “Bumble Bee Garden.” There, they will use the inventory they have collected from the bee garden chests to build their own bee-friendly gardens, based on what they have learned about bees’ needs.
Students can dig holes with the shovels to make nests in the ground, plant flowers, and create ponds; this can be done individually or in collaboration mode with a small group of other players. After they have built their gardens, they can add bees, and watch as the bees pollinate nearby flowers and return to the nest, covered in pollen!
In-Class Discussion 10-15 minutes
Split the students up into small groups, and hand out one Building Beetopia worksheet to each small group. If students were collaborating on a garden, direct them to be in different small groups than they were in the game. Ask students to discuss in their new small groups what choices they made when building their “beetopia”, using the topics on the worksheet as a guide; direct students to choose a scribe in each small group to fill in the worksheet as the group talks.
Gather the whole class back together. Invite a representative from each group to share with the class one of the ways in which bee colonies are like human families.
Optional Creative Writing Exercise in the Teachers Guide
Total time - 55-75 minutes + optional 15-30 minute activity
This lesson will enable students to:
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