Buzzing Around

  Avery Saulnier

Katie Yermal

Nicole Zwicker

Thomas “TJ” McKenna (Professor)

Students’ Knowledge and Skills


At this point of working with the second graders in this class, they have already learned about the classification of insects and all characteristics that make an insect an insect. They have also discussed the ideas of structure and function, and how the structure of their mouths affects the function of what food they eat and how they eat it which impacts their survival. Just the other week they also learned about why insects behave a certain way and the reasons why their behavior impacts how they survive. Students should understand the basic idea of structure and function and should be able to identify some ways that insects behave and for what reasons.

We anticipate that students will know some basic ideas about pollination and bees because they have some prior knowledge of pollination and gathering nectar from talking about butterflies.

We anticipate that students may not identify the relationship between bees and flowers but instead focus on why bees pollinate and the basic process of pollination. We also anticipate that students might not fully understand that bees depend on flowers just as much as flowers depend on bees.


Target Audience

Second Grade


Content to Be Taught (CTBT)


imageEstimated Time

One class period 45-60 minutes – coming at the end of a unit with insects


Background and Introduction to Study Insect


Flowers make pollen (A fine powder. Usually yellow and makes you sneeze!)

Flowers use pollen to make seeds through a process called pollination

Pollination happens in the middle of the flower.

Flowers sometimes don’t have the correct parts that are needed in order to reproduce so they need help from pollinators. BEES!

Honey Bees:

They collect nectar from the flowers when they help pollinate them. They then bring back the nectar as honey for a food source for their hive and their queen bee.

To inform other bees of where the best flowers are, they do a “waggle dance”. They gather an “audience” by climbing on the backs of other bees and vibrate. When they have the attention of their colony, they use a code of movements to tell them about their discovery. The duration of the dance= distance to the flower, the angle which they dance across the hive= direction the flower is in. Other bees will set off immediately to find it.

Fun Facts:

They will fly to up to 500 million flowers throughout the year.

They will fly as far as 5 miles to find flowers.

Nectar is made into honey when bees chew it and regurgitate it into the mouths of 8 other worker bees and then store it in wax cells.

One single hive will store from 20-50 pounds of honey


Although it is likely that students have a basic understanding of what pollen and pollination is, they may not fully understand the process of it or why it is important. A main take-away from this lesson should be that there is a relationship between the bees and the flowers and that both benefit from the process of pollination. Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Frameworks Curriculum (2016) states that students should “develop and use models to compare how plants and animals depend on their surroundings and other living things to meet their needs in the places they live” (2-LS2-3-MA). This idea is represented in this lesson by teaching the students that pollination is a behavior (relate back to previous lessons) that both bees and flowers depend on and benefit from.



Students will be able to relate the structure and function of other insects to the structure and function of bees during pollination.

Students will be able to identify the reasons why bees pollinate.

Students will be able to identify the benefits that both bees and flowers get from the process of pollination.


Performance Objectives (PO)

Given the class activity, students will be able to actively participate and think about the relationship between bees and flowers and what both get out of the process of pollination by discussing with their BU buddy about their thoughts and observations.

Given the exit ticket (handout), students will be able to articulate that both flowers and bees get something out of pollination by using evidence from the lesson.



Cheeto Puffs

Fake flowers

Paper baggies

Black solo cups



Inquiry Question: What is the relationship between bees and flowers? Opening/Engagement (5-10 min)

Show pictures of bees on flowers. “What do you all think is happening? What do you

notice? Engage in a short conversation to acknowledge student’s thoughts.

Before going into discussion, we will ask the students our inquiry question, “does anyone know the relationship between bees and flowers?” *we assume that students will be able to identify that bees collect nectar/pollen from flowers but will not fully understand that flowers get something in return.

We will talk about the basic steps of pollination and introduce the “waggle dance” (definitions found in the content to be taught section). During this we will show a

slow-motion video of a bee pollinating a flower and then discuss what happened after.

Exploration (20 min)

Students will be broken up into 3 “colonies”. Each hive will be taped out on the floor.

Some BU tutors will be spread out around the room, they will represent the flowers. They will hold the black cup with a flower taped to it. Most of the cups will have Cheetos in it, not all of them. Some of the flowers will not have any Cheetos in them to represent

that bees need to get something out of the flowers (food) in order to do them the favor of pollinating them. Without having something to offer the bees (food), flowers will not be pollinated in return.

The students will sit with their assigned colony on their specific side of the hive, and students will be released one at a time to go “pollinate” a flower of their choosing. A BU buddy will be standing by each flower with a black solo cup either filled with Cheetos or not. If they have Cheetos in their cup the student will tag the flower and take a Cheeto with their spoon and put it in their bag. If the flower does not have any Cheetos, they will search for another flower to “pollinate”. When returning to the “hive” they will perform a “waggle dance” to signal to their other bees where the good flowers are and to avoid the flowers without any “nectar” (Cheetos).

A BU buddy will choose a student who is raising their hand and sitting to go out to pollinate next and the cycle will repeat until all students have had a chance to go.

Once all pollinators have had the opportunity to pollinate a flower and bring nectar back to the hive, they will be asked to fill out the worksheet. Once completed they will each get a bag of Cheetos to eat while we discuss what happened.

Explanation (10-15 min)

Begin with a restatement of the essential question: What is the relationship between bees and flowers?

Ask them what they discovered about the relationship between the two.

Re-introduce the “waggle dance” and why honeybees do it. Allow the students from each colony to stand up and do a waggle dance.



The evaluation will be a combination of conversations throughout the discussion as well as during the activity. We will be circulating around the tables to listen in on the conversations that students are having with each other and with their BU buddies about what their role as pollinators is, and what they are doing to help the flowers as well as how this is benefitting them as bees.

The exit ticket found in the appendices will also be a form of evaluation based on how the students answer the question. If they only talk about what pollination is or if they include the benefits that both the bees AND the flowers are gaining from each other.



If students are in need of an extension, we will ask more probing questions about frameworks and how it relates to the relationship between the bees and the flowers. Ask the students “what are some other insects or other animals in general who depend on or benefit from their surroundings?”

We can also relate our activity back to previous lessons “what is the structure and function of bees in this situation?” “Why do bees behave this way?”



Homeschool Pop. (2017, Sep 18). Pollination for kids- flower learning video. Retrieved from

Smithsonian Channel. (2016, May 20). What’s the waggle dance? And why do honeybees do it?

Retrieved from

2016 Science and technology/engineering curriculum framework. (2016, April). Retrieved from

Waggle Dance:


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Entomology Lesson Plans for Elementary Educators Copyright © by University of Nebraska—Lincoln is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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