Bees in the Edible Schoolyard: No Hive (ESYB)

Published October 17, 2012 | Updated May 24, 2015
Subject: Social Studies
Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Place of Learning: Garden
Resource Type: Lessons
Grade Level: Grade 7
Uploaded by:
Ms. Kyle Cornforth
Program Affiliations:

In this lesson, students discuss bees and the important role of pollinators. They then catch and observe bees in the garden.


Students will be able to:

  • State at least two facts about bees and pose a relevant question. Terms may include honeybee, native bee, and pollination.
  • Describe the process of pollination and how it relates to plant reproduction and food production.
  • Execute catching and releasing a bee safely in the garden.
  • Explain the role that bees play in the garden and exhibit appropriate behavior around bees.




Students will:

  • Correctly identify the parts of bees that collect pollen and explain how bees transfer pollen from one flower to another.
  • Define the terms honeybee, native bee, and pollination.
  • Name two foods that rely on insect pollination.
  • Follow teacher instructions and demonstrate proper use of tools in catching and releasing bees.
  • Share one new piece of information and/or pose a relevant question about bees and pollination.
  • Demonstrate appropriate behavior around bees that reflects an understanding of when bees sting.


  • Laminated pictures of bees
  • Laminated pictures of fruits and vegetables
  • Nets
  • Chocolate and almonds for tasting


Before you Begin
  • Familiarize yourself with facts about bees, as well as how to safely catch and release them.
  • Check the weather forecast. (Bees are most active in warm, sunny weather.)
  • Make sure to leave at least 10 minutes for bee catching following the discussion.



At the Opening Circle

  1. Introduce the lesson and let students know that the agenda for the day includes a discussion of bees and pollination followed by a bee catching activity.
  2. Invite students to share something they already know or think they know about bees and pollination.
  3. Share laminated cards of fruits and vegetables and ask what they all have in common.
  4. Explain that 35% of our food crops require pollination.
  5. Pass around pictures of bees and pose questions (e.g., Where do bees carry pollen? What do bees want from a flower? What is pollen? Where can you find pollen on the plant?).
  6. Clarify the different kinds of bees and share the laminated cards depicting the different life cycles of native bees and honeybees.
  7. Explain the habits and behaviors of bees.
  8. Clarify when and why bees sting and review the warning signs before they sting.
  9. Demonstrate the correct use of nets and methods for catching and releasing bees.
  10. Divide into groups of three or four and pass out nets.

In the Field

  1. Have students catch, observe, and release bees.

At the Closing Circle:

  1. Have each student share one new fact and ask a question about bees and pollination.
  2. Encourage students not to repeat each other and to use specific terms.
  3. Ask students to reflect on what would happen to the garden if there were no bees.
  4. Pass out tastes of chocolate and almonds, and explain that both of these foods require insect pollination in order to exist.


Connections to Standards

California State Grade 7 Focus on Life Sciences: Genetics
2.0 A typical cell of any organism contains genetic instructions that specify its
traits. Those traits may be modified by environmental influences. As a basis for
understanding this concept.
2.a Students know the differences between the life cycles and reproduction
methods of sexual and asexual organisms.

Common Core Grade 7 English Language Arts: Speaking & Listening
Comprehension and Collaboration

SL.7.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in
groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and is-
sues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
SL.7.2 Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media and
formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how the ideas clarify a
topic, text, or issue under study.


We have bee hives, and we'd like to find more ways to incorporate bees into our programming, particularly for older students. This is a great example. I also really enjoyed the video.

2 years ago

Other Content From Kyle Cornforth

The attached PDF is an example of a program evaluation undertaken by the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley.

Area: Garden, Kitchen
Type: Program Management

Presentation slides from the 2015 Edible Schoolyard Academy's "Program Evaluation: Tools and Case Studies" panel are attached as a PDF.

Presenters included Kareem Raad from the Berkeley Department of Public Health, Claudia Barker from the Edible Schoolyard New Orleans...

Area: None
Type: Program Management

Knife skills are at the foundation of every students’ experience in the Edible Schoolyard kitchen classroom. Before students touch knives in the kitchen, they participate in a ...

Area: Kitchen
Type: Program Management