CHC Teachers’ Kit • Grades 1 to 3

Curriculum Activities for Grades 1-3

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What is the School Kits Project?

School Kits is part of the Canadian Honey Council’s (CHC) Forging a New Direction project, funded in part by the Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-food Program (ACAAF).
What is the goal of School Kits?
The goal of School Kits is to make available an on-line learning/teaching resource for elementary, middle and high school teachers across Canada and to enhance curricula with accurate, appealing, and learner-focused information about honey bees.
What is Included in This School Kit?
This school kit is for Canadian elementary school teachers of Grades One to Three and is based primarily on the Alberta Science Curriculum.  At each grade level, honey bee learning is linked to a specific Science topic:
“Needs of Animals and Plants” (Grade One),
“Small Crawling and Flying Animals” (Grade Two) and
“Animal Life Cycles” (Grade Three).
Honey bees are related to other Science topics whenever possible to provide teachers a solid framework for creating integrated student learning experiences.
A Resource List provides good sources of background information for teachers, as well as student materials relevant to honey bee study in Science, English Language Arts and Fine Arts.  These honey bee resources were selected with the elementary school classroom in mind, but may also be useful for teachers and students at the middle and high school levels.

The contents of this school kit are as follows:

  • Introduction to teaching about honey bees
  • Three Science Activities for Grades One, Two and Three, including suggestions for integrated learning at each level and links to on-line resources, lesson plans, activities and games
    Glossary of honey bee-related terms for quick reference
  • Annotated List of on-line and hard-copy resources for teachers and students

Introduction: Why Teach Honey Bees?

Honey bees pollinate about a third of Canadian food crops and also contribute substantially to Canada’s agricultural sector as producers of honey and other hive products (beeswax, bee pollen, propolis and royal jelly) for Canadian and international consumers.  Honey bees not only make honey, a natural and healthy sweetener; they are also essential for the production of
 many fruits, nuts and vegetables.  Without honey bee pollination, we would live in a world with very few blueberriesapplesraspberriescranberriestomatoespeppers, kiwis, pumpkins, squashes, strawberries, almonds and blackberries.

In Canada, more than half a million honey bee colonies, each with over 60,000 bees, are tended by almost 6,000 bee keepers: there are about 30 billion honey bees in Canada – that’s almost 1,000 honey bees per Canadian!  In 2008, our honey bees pollinated about a third of our food crops and produced more than 60 million pounds of honey valued at around one hundred million dollars.  As these numbers show, honey bees are very important to Canadian food producers and consumers.

Statistics aside, honey bees are just plain amazing insects.  First of all, they are extremely hard-working: individual honey bees never sleep, and collectively they have to fly 90,000 kilometres and visit more than a million flowers just to make a single pound of honey.  Secondly, they may be tiny creatures with even tinier brains, but they live in a very orderly, structured society.  They even communicate with each other: not with words, but by dancing.

In short, honey bees are both a topical and engaging subject which teachers can use to help students achieve the general learner expectations of the Canadian elementary school curriculum.

By learning about honey bees, students will:

  • bring their own experience of the natural world into the classroom; 
  • grasp the importance of relationships between animals, including humans, and plants (pollination);
  • become more aware of Canadian agricultural practices (honey production);
  • witness non-human systems of communication, social organization and co-operation (the bee hive).The activities included in this kit (see chart below) build on students’ curiosity about the natural environment and encourage inventiveness, perseverance, careful observation, the opportunity to work with others, an appreciation for cooperation, respect for living things, and commitment for their care.  These characteristics coincide with the general learning expectations of the elementary school curriculum.
Science Curriculum Topic
Activity Title
Needs of Animals and Plants
Honey Bees and Flowers: Pollination
Small Crawling and Flying Animals
Honey Bee Cooperation and Communication
Animal Life Cycles
Inside the Hive:
The Honey Bee Life Cycle

Each of these activities contains an overview, a list of learner expectations, a list of materials, a procedure (including links to useful references and lists of questions for students) and a number of suggested extensions that move beyond the specific Science topic addressed to other Science topics as well as to English Language Arts and Fine Arts.

Teachers are invited to use the suggested activities as desired: certain elements, images or links from Grade Two and Three activities may be useful at the Grade One level, and vice versa.  In addition, teachers and students are encouraged to go beyond the ideas included here to develop further honey bee activities both within and outside the classroom.

Note: Looking for specific and general honey bee resources (videos, trivia, information on bees and bee keepers, books, templates, classroom projects, lesson plans, additional honey bee activities and more)?  Browse the links included in each activity in addition to the Resource List.  All live links appear as underlined and they open in a new tab or window.  Within each activity, terms defined in the Glossary appear for the first time in red.  Resources relevant to a specific topic addressed in any activity appear in pink.

Grade ONE Activity
Honey Bees and Flowers:Pollination


In this two-part activity, students draw, paint or colour their own honey bees and colourful flowers.  The bees and flowers can be used throughout the school year as a concrete and tangible resource created by students as they explore bees in relation to several Grade One Science topics, including “Creating Colour,” “Seasonal Changes” and “Needs of Animals and Plants.”

Learner Expectations

Students will:

  • make observations and describe what was observed, using pictures and oral language

        (What do honey bees look like?);

  • identify and evaluate methods for creating and applying colour

        (What colours are certain flowers?  How can we make these same colours?);

  • identify several “Needs of Animals and Plants”

        (What are the needs of honey bees and flowers?
How do bees and flowers provide each other with things they need?).

Students will:

  • practice counting and drawing;
  • identify, compare, contrast and create colours;
  • predict and describe changes in colour that result from colour mixing;
  • identify some component parts of honey bees (click here for detailed information on bee anatomy; click here for a simple labeled diagram of the honey bee) and flowers (click here for detailed information on flower anatomy);
  • compare bee bodies and food with human bodies and food;
  • describe the purpose of each part of the honey bee;
  • compare the bees and flowers created by each student with other bees and flowers so as to identify similarities and differences among their respective parts.


At teacher discretion (see details below).  Could include: paint, coloured pencils, crayons, drawing paper, construction paper.


If weather and school location permit, ask students to try to spot a honey bee in their community several days before the honey bee classroom activities begin.

Note: honey bees are peaceful creatures and will rarely sting unless provoked.  If you, your students or your students’ parents have questions about honey bee safety, click here or here for more information.

Show students a short video clip of a honey bee.  This video link shows a pollen-laden honey bee on a purple crocus; this video link shows a honey bee feeding from a white flower.  Both videos include still shots and close-ups of both bee and flower.

What do you know about honey bees?
Have you ever seen a honey bee?
What did the honey bee (in nature or in the video) look like?
What colour (black, brown, yellow/orange, transparent wings) was she?
How many legs, eyes, etc. (6 legs, 5 eyes (3 simple, 2 compound), 3 body parts (1 head, one thorax, one abdomen), 2 sets of wings, 2 antennae, 1 stinger) did she have?
What was she doing?


1.  Creating a Honey Bee
Ask students to paint or colour their own honey bee.  For a simple bee template, click here

How do honey bees look different from you?
Do honey bees have any body parts similar to your body parts?
What are some of the things you need to be happy and healthy?
What do you think your honey bee needs to be healthy and happy?
What are your favourite things to eat?
What do you think honey bees like to eat?
Where does their food come from?

While humans eat a wide range of foods from many different sources, honey bees eat only two kinds of food, nectar and pollen, both of which are found in flowers.

2.  Creating Flowers
Ask students to make one or more flowers for their honey bees, who need food to survive.  Students might make flowers out of paper or cardboard; draw or paint flowers, using a variety of colours, colouring tools (coloured pencils, pens, crayons, pastels, oil sticks, acrylic or watercolour paints) and colouring techniques.  For a series of simple flower craft ideas for kids, as well as a link to a “mixing colours” page, click here; for a large variety of flower templates, click here; for a list of the flowers particularly enjoyed by honey bees (bottom of web page), as well as a useful summary of information about honey bees, click here.


How many different kinds of flowers do you know?
What colour is your favourite flower?
How do you make that colour by mixing other colours together?
What are some of the things flowers need to be healthy?

Students now know a few things about honey bees and flowers and have created concrete examples of each.  Honey bees (animals) and flowers (plants) have individual needs (as explored above), but they also provide an excellent example of how some animals and plants help each other to fulfill their specific needs.

As we already know, flowers give honey bees food in the form of nectar and pollen.  In exchange, when a honey bee collects food for itself, it also carries pollen from one flower to the next.  This process is called pollination, and it is something plants need to survive.

Without pollen from other flowers, a plant can’t produce seeds, which are what make new plants.  With the help of honey bee pollination, however, a plant can produce seeds, which grow into plants that produce more flowers, as well as vegetables, fruits and nuts (all things humans like to eat).

In sum, flowers give honey bees food, which is necessary for life.  In return, honey bees give plants the ability to reproduce, which is also necessary for life.

To see up-close how honey bees move pollen from one place to another, look for large orange/yellow blobs on their back legs in the video links above.  For pollination games and activities, see the Resource List below.

If honey bees need flowers for food, is there anything that flowers need from bees?
What is pollination?
Why is pollination important for both honey bees and flowers?
How do honey bees and flowers work together to get what they need from each other?
What do honey bees and flowers (plants) do for humans?
What can we all do to help bees and flowers get what they need to be happy and healthy?


As seasonal changes are discussed throughout the school year, students may be interested to learn what happens to honey bees in the fall, winter, spring and summer.  The colouring-and-activity book 
Welcome to Our Honey Farm (see Resource List below) follows the honey bee through each season.

As the cold seasons approach, Canadian honey bees (just like people!) need to be protected from harsh weather and low temperatures.  Bees have to remain safe, warm and dry in their hive so that they don’t freeze; since there are no winter flowers, honey bees need alternative sources of food directly provided by the person looking after them (the bee keeper).
When spring comes, the honey bees can leave the hive to forage for their own food.  During the warm months of the year, flowers bloom and their nectar and pollen are gathered by honey bees, who produce honey and pollinate plants well into the harvest season.

Grade TWO Activity
Honey Bee Cooperation and Communication

In this two-part activity, students learn about the three kinds of honey bees (drones, workers and the queen) and 
are introduced to a remarkable kind of non-human communication (the honey bee dance) which helps the three kinds of honey bees work together to survive and thrive.  This activity employs the honey bee as a means of exploring the Grade Two Science topic “Small Crawling and Flying Animals.”Learner ExpectationsSkills
Students will:

  • investigate the nature of one specific small flying animal

        (What are some characteristics of the honey bee?  What kinds of honey bees are there?);

  • describe the general structure and life habits of the honey bee

        (What do honey bees look like?  What do they do on a day-to-day basis?);

  • apply this knowledge (if possible) to outdoor observation of local honey bees

        (Are there honey bees in the local community?  Where do they live?  What do they eat?).

Students will:

  • recognize that honey bees, like humans, have homes where they meet their basic needs of air, food, water, shelter and space;
  • describe the honey bee dance as a special characteristic that helps the honey bee survive in its home;
  • identify the honey bee as a plant eater;
  • describe the relationship of the honey bee to other honey bees and to humans;
  • recognize the different three kinds of honey bees (workers, drones, and the queen);
  • demonstrate familiarity with the cooperative social structure of the honey bee hive;
  • explore new forms of communication;
  • apply communication skills in a new way, through movement rather than words;
  • identify ways in which the honey bee is considered helpful or harmful to humans and to the environment.


If weather and school location permit, ask students to observe a honey bee several days before the honey bee classroom activities begin.  Encourage students to spend time watching and following honey bees with the following questions in mind:

What do honey bees look like?
How do you know the bee you are observing is a honey bee?
What is your honey bee doing?
Do you know where your honey bee lives?
Why are honey bees important for humans?
Why are honey bees important for the environment (see Grade One Activity above)?

Note: honey bees are peaceful creatures and will rarely sting unless provoked.  If you, your students or your students’ parents have questions about honey bee safety, click here or here for more information.

1.  Honey Bee Cooperation
Show students this short animated video about the division of labour in the honey bee hive.  Click here or here for more detailed information about the three kinds of honey bees: workers, drones and the queen.  Click here for a lesson plan on the honey bee division of labour.

The Queen            A Worker            A Drone

While there are thousands of worker bees and hundreds of drone bees in each honey bee colony, there is only one queen bee.  She leaves the hive only once in her lifetime to mate with several drone bees, and when she returns her only task is to lay eggs: she can lay more than 1,000 eggs every day and is the largest kind of honey bee.  Here is a picture of the queen bee:

Worker bees 
are all female.  Their job is to nurse baby bees, to feed the queen bee and the drone bees, to store and to fetch nectar, water and pollen, to tend and to guard the hive.  Worker bees can sting, but only once: when they sting, they die.  Here is a picture of a worker bee:


Drone bees are all male.  Their only job is to mate with the queen bee to produce more bees, and they cannot sting.  They are bigger than worker bees, smaller than the queen bee and have very large eyes.  Here is a picture of a drone bee:


What is a bee hive (see Grade Three Activity below)?
What is the job of a worker bee?
What is the job of a drone bee?
What is the job of the queen bee?
Why are each of these jobs important for the well-being of the hive?
How do these three kinds of honey bees cooperate to keep the hive healthy?
What are some of the ways you cooperate with others (in the classroom, at home)?
What are some of your specific jobs at home?
What are the specific jobs of your family members?
How do these specific jobs complement each other for the well-being of your family?

2.  Communication: The Bee Dance
Cooperation is difficult without communication.  Since honey bees are experts at working together, it comes as no surprise that they are also very good at communicating.  While humans usually communicate 
with words, bees communicate in two main ways: with scent (smell) and with movement (dance).For a lesson plan and further information on honey bee communication through smell, click here.  For detailed information on the bee dance, click here (click on “Instruction,” top of page, and then on “Dance Language,” bottom of page).  For simpler, printable information (in .pdf form) on the bee dance, click here.  See also the Resource List below.Honey bees dance in order to tell other bees in their hive where to find flowers (food in the form of nectar and pollen).  They perform two kinds of dances: the round dance and the waggle dance.When a worker bee finds food near the hive, she returns to perform the round dance by moving in a circle.  This dance tells her hive mates that there are flowers nearby, and that if they fly around the hive in a circle, they will soon find food.  Here is a short video of the round dance.

The Waggle Dance

Much more complicated than the round dance is the waggle dance, which a worker bee performs when flowers are far away from the hive.  Worker bees perform this dance by moving in a circle-eight patten (see diagram above) and by “waggling” their bodies in a particular direction.  The direction in which a worker bee “waggles” tells her hive mates which direction to fly to find food.  Her dance also tells them how near the flowers are: the faster she dances, the closer the flowers are to the hive.

Here are two simple videos of the waggle dance (click here, with commentary, or here, without commentary).  For a more complex video about the waggle dance, click here.  An in-classroom waggle dance game can be found here.  For more information about bee dances, as well as an on-line bee dance game, click here; for other bee dance activities, see the Resource List below.

Ask students to perform a round dance and a waggle dance.  Can their classmates tell the difference?

What are some of the ways in which you communicate?
Can you imagine other ways, including non-human ways, to communicate?
Why do you think bees dance in order to communicate?
What is the difference between a round dance and a waggle dance?
Why are bee dances important for the health and survival of the bee hive?
How do bee dances help honey bees cooperate?
Can you invent your own bee dance?
What is your bee dance trying to communicate?


To give students hands-on knowledge of the differences and similarities between the queen bee, worker bees and drones, ask students to draw or make one or more honey bees of varying types for concrete comparison.

Different kinds of honey bees can be made with styrofoam balls of varying sizes and shapes, black pipecleaners and wax paper.  For a simple bee-building activity, see the book by Deborah Hodge entitled Bees (see Resource List below).

Grade THREE Activity
Inside the Hive: The Honey Bee Life Cycle

In this two-part activity, students learn about the honey bee life cycle and then become “honey bee keepers” by designing and building a bee hive.  This activity is designed to enhance student learning in two Grade Three Science topics: “Animal Life Cycles” and “Building with a Variety of Materials.”

Learner Expectations

Students will:

  • investigate the nature of one specific “Animal Life Cycle”

        (What are the four stages of the honey bee life cycle?);

  • record observations, using pictures and words

        (What is a honey bee egg, larva, pupa, adult?  What do they look like?);

  • investigate a practical problem, and develop possible solutions through “Building”

        (Where do honey bees live?  What do bees need in their home?).

Students will:

  • observe and describe the growth of the honey bee;
  • demonstrate awareness that honey bees require a specific habitat in order to meet their basic needs of food, water, shelter and space;
  • identify examples of environmental conditions that may threaten honey bee survival;
  • demonstrate knowledge of the needs of animals studied (see Grade One Activity above), and demonstrate skills for their care;
  • design, build and test structures that are intended to serve as models of a particular object (the bee hive);
  • select and demonstrate familiarity with a variety of appropriate materials for construction;
  • apply skills of listening, speaking and cooperative decision making;
  • identify the component parts of the bee hive.

At teacher discretion (see details below).  Could include: paint, coloured markers, construction paper, playdoh, clay, plasticine, cardboard, wood, wire, tape, glue.Procedure1.  The Honey Bee Life Cycle
Show students some or all of this 10-minute video about the life cycle of honey bees.  (The video, entitled Insect Life Cycle, is freely available online and is also available for purchase as a download($5) from the Hila Outdoor Centre.)  The video begins with a 1-2 minute introduction to pollination, beekeeping and the honey bee, explains the honey bee life cycle in detail, and ends with a 1-2 minute conclusion on other insect life cycles.  Click here or here for a chart of the honey bee life cycle; click here for a lesson plan on the honey bee life cycle.

Stage 1: Egg                                                    Stage 2: Larva 

Stage 3: Pupa                                                   Stage 4: Adult

Important Video Vocabulary
Students may benefit from an introduction to the following honey bee-related terms (sorted by category) before seeing the video (see Glossary).

Plants: anther, stigma, pollination
Honey bees: colony, worker, drone, queen, antennae, pheromone
Honey bee life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, adult
Bee hive: comb, frame, cell, cap, brood frame
Bee keeper: smoker
Insects: complete metamorphosis, incomplete metamorphosis, entomology, entomologist

Why are honey bees important for plants and for humans?
What is the difference between the queen, worker and drone bees?
Can you draw a queen bee?
What are the four stages of the honey bee life cycle, and what happens at each stage?
Can you and a partner make a list of all the things a bee keeper needs to do to keep his or her honey bees healthy and safe?
What do honey bees need in order to thrive?
Where do honey bees live?  (Where does their life cycle take place?)

2.  Creating a Honey Bee Hive
One way in which people and honey bees are similar is that they all need a safe and comfortable place to live.  A bee hive is where bees live.  There are different kinds of bee hives, some natural and some man-made.  Click here for a simple history of the modern bee hive; click here for a labeled diagram of a bee hive.

One of the most important responsibilities of a bee keeper is to provide a place for his or her honey bees to live.  In the video, students saw an example of a bee keeper working with a real bee hive.  The majority of Canadian bee keepers, like the bee keeper in the video, keep their honey bees in a “Langstroth” hive (above left), which consists of a wooden box (see Fig. 1 below) containing wood and wire frames (see Fig. 2 below) hung in parallel (see Fig. 3 below).  Each frame provides a structure and beeswax “foundation” on which the bees live, build wax honeycomb, raise young bees and store pollen and honey.

Figure 1

                        Figure 2                                                           Figure 3

Ask students to become bee keepers.  Since the first thing a bee keeper needs to do is to create a place in which to keep his or her bees safe, ask students to design and build a model hive.  Students should be encouraged to work creatively in groups in order to make a model bee hive that has the potential to fulfill the basic need of a bee colony, namely space for the life cycle of the honey bee to take place.

Students might choose to build a Langstroth Hive out of cardboard; they might sculpt a model bee hive out of clay; they might make a wood and wire bee hive; they might become inventors and design an entirely new kind of bee hive.  Students should be encouraged to think imaginatively and creatively, and should be given time to experiment with a wide variety of building materials and adhesives; they might also decorate their hives with paints, pens or colourful paper.

What are the responsibilities of a bee keeper?
What happens in a bee hive?
What kinds of hives might be able to fulfill the needs of honey bees?
What makes your group’s bee hive a good place to keep bees?
What are the differences and similarities between your group’s bee hive and a Langstroth hive?
Ask students to emulate bees by making honey comb out of a malleable, wax-like substance like playdoh or plasticine.  Students might also be given the opportunity to experiment with the shape that forms the basis of honey comb: the hexagon.  Clickhereor here for 2D hexagon templates; for a 3D template, click here (this complex template may easily be simplified by ignoring all but the centre, rectangular strip, which can be folded and taped to make an open-ended, hexagonal cell).

Honey comb

Who makes honey comb and what is its purpose in the hive?
What is a hexagon and how many sides does it have?
Why do you think honey comb is made up of hexagons?
What kinds of shapes and patterns can you make with hexagons?


ABDOMEN – the rear section of a honey bee body

ANTENNA – (plural ANTENNAE) – honey bee sense organs (touch, taste and smell)

ANTHER –     the male part of a flower where pollen is developed and contained

APIARY –          a place where bees are raised in colonies

APIS MELLIFERA – the genus and species name for the honey bee, Latin for “honey bearer”

BEE DANCE – the movements made by a honey bee to communicate the location of food

BEE HIVE – a honey bee home

BEE KEEPER – a person who cares for bees (also called APIARIST or APICULTURIST)

BEESWAX – wax made and shaped by honey bees to form honey comb

BROOD – the egg, larval, and pupal form of honey bees and the comb in which they develop

CAP – a wax covering that closes a cell containing a pupa or honey

CELL – a single hexagonal unit in the honey comb for a developing bee or for storing honey

COLONY – a community of tens of thousands of bees, usually containing one queen

COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER – a mysterious condition causing honey bees to disappear

COMB – the collection of hexagonal wax cells made by honey bees (also called HONEYCOMB)

DRONE – a male bee

ENTOMOLOGIST – a scientist who studies insects

ENTOMOLOGY – the science of insects

gathering pollen and nectar from flowers

FRAME – a wooden rectangle that supports a comb

HEAD – the front section of a honey bee body

HONEY – plant nectar that has been gathered, modified and stored in comb by honey bees

HONEY BEE – an insect with three pairs of legs, four wings, a stinger and a special nectar
stomach; the only insect that makes a food eaten by humans

LARVA (plural LARVAE) – the middle, worm-like stage of a developing bee

LANGSTROTH HIVE – the standard bee hive used in Canada for beekeeping

NECTAR – the sweet liquid made by flowers as food for honey bees

PISTIL – the female reproductive part of a flower

PHEROMONE – a chemical made and used for communication among honey bees

POLLEN – the male reproductive cells of flowers used by honey bees as food

POLLINATION – the transfer of pollen from one flower to another enabling reproduction

PUPA (plural PUPAE) – the final stage of a developing bee before it becomes an adult

QUEEN BEE – An egg-laying female bee capable of producing workers, drones, and queens

ROYAL JELLY – special food for queen larvae

SMOKER – a smoke-producing tool used by bee keepers to keep honey bees calm

STAMEN – the male part of a flower where pollen-producing anther are found

THORAX – the middle section of a honey bee body

WORKER BEE – a female bee who does not lay eggs

Resource List

One of the best honey bee resources available to teachers and students comes in the form of a person: your local bee keeper.  Many bee keepers are interested in teaching others about their profession or hobby, and can bring concrete honey bee-related items (frames, honeycomb, honey, bee suits) as well as good stories from their personal experience with honey bees to the classroom.  A visiting bee keeper is an appropriate guest for any grade, from Kindergarten to Grade Twelve.  To find a bee keeper in your area, contact your provincial bee keeping organization.  Contact information can be found on the Canadian Honey Council website (click here).

Many of the resource links below are specific to the honey bee and to honey bee instruction at the Grades One to Three level.  Also included are educational resources aimed at teachers of higher grades as well as information on related topics, including pollination.  Canada-specific resources are complemented by links to international sites when the information or materials provided can be easily adapted to a Canadian context.  In addition to the below, simple web, image and video searches will reveal a wealth of additional resources for both students and teachers.

Note: annotations in pink are specifically relevant to the topics addressed in the above activities.

Honey, Honey Bee and Beekeeping Organizations

Canadian Honey Council
The National Honey Board (U.S.)
Australian Honey Bee Industry Council

On-Line Educational Resources: Background Information, Lesson Plans and Activities

The Wonderful Story of Australian Honey
A short history of honey as well as general and Australia-specific information about honey bees, the hive and honey.

Hinterland Who’s Who Pollinator Fact Sheet: Bumble Bees
Information on several kinds of Canadian bees and their contribution as pollinators; threats to pollinators, conservation practices, “how you can help,” and bee safety.  This organization also produces an excellent educational video on pollination which is available at no charge.

National Honey Board (U.S.): Educational Resources
A substantial downloadable teacher’s guide (designed for Grades Four to Six) with activities, games and a bibliography, as well as on-line resources for kids: “Honey and Honey Bees: The Incredible Story,” honey trivia and honey recipes.  A companion video, entitled The Honey Flies: A Bee’s Life is also available at nominal cost.  The video addresses the following honey bee-related topics:
2:38      Types of bees
3:30      The bee keeper and the Langstroth hive
4:20      Making honey
5:32      The honey factory
6:20      The first hives
7:15      Baby bees
9:09      Finding nectar
10:21    Bee dances
12:00    Pollination
14:15    Communication by smell

North American Pollinator Protection Campaign: Nature’s Partners Curriculum
A thorough curriculum for teaching pollination at the Grade Four to Six level, including background information, lesson plans and activities.

Texas A&M Department of Entomology: About Honey Bees
Detailed and engaging information about honey bees (fun facts, bee safety, and beekeeping) as well as a list of useful honey bee links.

Great Plains Nature Center: Honeybee
A brief but thorough introduction to the honey bee, including excellent images and useful links.

The University of Arizona Africanized Honey Bee Education Project
A large number of lesson plans, activities and information sheets on honey bees for teachers and students of Kindergarten to Grade Twelve.  Only some lesson plans deal with the issue of africanized honey bees in the southwestern United States; many are more general and could easily be used by Canadian teachers.

Häagen Dasz: Help the Honey Bees
An interactive website dedicated to raising awareness about the current threat to honey bee populations.  Includes a downloadable “Bee Book” for teachers and students, containing honey bee facts, activities and games, as well as two excellent information sheets on bee dances and on pollination.

Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom
The “Bee Pollination” activity for Grade Two contains a good list of the plants bees pollinate.

Smithsonian Education: Plants and Animals, Partners in Pollination
A series of exercises for Grade Four on pollination, including background information, activities and worksheets.

Expert Village: Science & Nature Videos
A series of beekeeping videos available free of charge on-line.

Modern Agro Natural Pure Honey
A short introduction to the honey bee, including a good chart of the honey bee life cycle and a complete, labeled diagram of the bee hive.

How Stuff Works: How Bees Work
A comprehensive collection of background information on honey bees including anatomy, life cycle, honey production, beekeeping and Colony Collapse Disorder.

Arkive Images of Life on Earth: Apis Mellifera
A collection of high-quality honey bee images.

Dave’s Apiaries: The Buzz About Bees
A short introduction to the honey bee colony.

Planet Bee
The webpage of a “honey farm” that conducts educational tours for school students in British Columbia’s lower mainland.

Hezzy’s Honeycomb Hangout
A children’s website with excellent images and diagrams, including honey bee trivia, games and recipes.

Beekeeping: The Beekeeper’s Home Pages
Links to other websites on honey bees and beekeeping; some basic honey bee information; a bee book and video resource list; a page of honey bee jokes.

BeeMaid Honey
Nutritional information, fun facts and frequently asked questions about honey.

NOVA’s “Tales from the Hive” and Companion Website
This PBS video, first aired in 2000, “chronicles a year in the life of a bee colony with stunning images that take viewers inside the innermost secrets of the hive.”  The companion website includes honey bee facts, interactive pages on the bee hive and a bee dance game.

Children’s Books (Grades One to Four)

Allen, Judy & Tudor Humphries.  Are You a Bee?  (Backyard Books).

Cole, Joanna and Bruce Degen.  The Magic School Bus: Inside a Bee Hive.
Contains an excellent description of bee dances (pp. 20-23) and the bee life cycle (pp. 28-33).

Crewe, Sabrina.  The Bee (Life Cycles).

Dennis, Lloyd.  The Story of Honey.

Gibbons, Gail.  The Honey Makers.

Hartigan, John A.  Kendal the Baker Bee.

Hodge, Deborah.  Bees.
Includes a large full-colour drawing of a bee; instructions on how to build a bee out of styrofoam balls; a honeycomb activity; a glossary.

Hosler, Jay.  Clan Apis.
A graphic novel-style “biography” of a honey bee named Nyuki.  Click here for an on-line science guide to each chapter of the book.

Micucci, Charles.  The Life and Times of the Honeybee.

Milton, Joyce.  Honeybees (All Aboard Science Reader).

Polacco, Patricia.  The Bee Tree.

Rockwell, Anne.  Honey in a Hive (Let’s Read and Find Out Science 2).

Welcome to Our Honey Farm
Designed around the honey bee year, this colouring book intersperses basic honey bee information with activities and games.  Includes a worksheet on bee anatomy, a simple explanation of pollination and information on bee safety.


Canadian honey bee statistics are from the 2008 StatsCan publication on honey production and value.


Sincere thanks to:

  • ACAAF, for funding the School Kits project;
  • Bernie Galbraith, for his detailed comments on early versions of this school kit;
  • Diane Dunaway, Debbie Griff and Doug Somerville, all of whom took time to respond thoughtfully to the Canadian Honey Council’s request for resources.