Honey Bees and Environmental Sustainability - BEE My Friend

Unit 1

Designers for Learning - Adult Learning Zone

Part 1: Lesson Description

Lesson Title

Honey Bees and Environmental Sustainability


This lesson will help learners gain sufficient knowledge about how to take care of Honey bees and looking at Beekeeping as a lucrative business. Learners will be able to assess the  importance of bees and their significance in sustaining the natural environment. Learners will also identify signs of reducing Honey bee populations, beehive infections and about Colony Collapse Disorder.

  1. Honey bees as pollinators
  2. Beekeeping as an industry
  3. Help save honey bees

Learner Audience / Primary Users

The primary users of this lesson are adult learners who have lost the opportunity to continue their education into high school or middle school because of various reasons. This lesson strives to provide them the knowledge regarding honey bees, beekeeping and how to protect honey bees. Many adult learners may have seen different types of bees, but may not know how to identify honey bees, the social structure of bee hives, the division of labor among the honey bees, their importance as pollinators besides them being manufacturers of honey and why their populations are declining. Adult learners are more pre-occupied with their work and due to lack of time, they may not have had an opportunity to read about honey bees in their children’s text books or by seeing documentaries on television. This lesson of 30 minutes will make a long story short for them, and provide a concise description of the importance of honey bees to environmental sustainability, how fast they are depleting, the need to protect them, and how they can make beekeeping their occupation.

Educational Use

  • Curriculum / Instruction

College & Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) Alignment

  • Level: Adult Education
  • Grade Level: D (Grades 6,7,8)
  • Subject: English Language Arts / Literacy
  • Domain or Strand: Strand information
  • Strand: English Language Arts / Literacy lesson
  • Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
  • Reading of Informational Text, Scientific and Technical text, and Writing of Scientific and Technical subjects
  • Standard Description: RST.6-8.1



Material Type

  • Instructional Material - Both digital and print.
  • Digital artifacts like YouTube videos, PowerPoint slides. 
  • Print material for Readings, Home work and Quiz.

Learning Goals

The purpose of this lesson is for learners to be able to:

  • Identify honey bees in the natural environment and recognize the members of a colony.
  • Determine if beekeeping is a good business venture for themselves.
  • Recognize signs of honey bee colony infection and other signs of declining bee hive populations.


  • Designers for Learning
  • Adult Education
  • Honey bees
  • Colony collapse disorder
  • Mite infection
  • bee keeping
  • pollination
  • Blended learning
  • Online
  • Paper-based
  • Deplete
  • honey
  • beeswax

Time Required for Lesson

30 minutes

Prior Knowledge

This lesson will be suitable for Level D which includes students of Grade 6-8. In the adult education context here, it will be good if learners have an idea of honey bees being the makers of sweet honey. They should know about insects, flowers, pollination etc.. Learners should know how to read and write in English of Grade 3-4 level.

Required Resources

Considering that some learners may have Internet access in the learning context and that sometimes it may not be available, the design of this lesson will be suitable for both a paper-based and online-based education. Instructors can also use a blended learning approach.

Paper-based - Some work sheets and images need to be printed in advance by the instructor. Learners may require paper, pens and pencils.

Online/computer-based - Computer, projector and screen and Internet access (Ideal learning context).

Lesson Author & License

  • Lesson Author: Shamila Janakiraman

Part 2: Lesson

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson, learners will be able to:

  • Identify honey bees in the natural environment and recognize members of a colony with 100% accuracy.
  • Determine if beekeeping is a good business venture for themselves with 85% accuracy.
  • Recognize signs of honey bee colony infection and other signs of declining bee hive populations.

Lesson Topics

Key topics covered in this lesson include:

  • Honey bees as pollinators
  • Beekeeping as an industry
  • Help save honey bees

Context Summary

This lesson will come under the Science curriculum for grades 6-8. This is an important lesson to learn early in life as it is the future generations that are going to face a dearth in natural foods and increased incidences of artificial foods, hunger, disease and so on. Our learners are adult learners who missed an opportunity to learn about this topic. But as this field of sustainability education is gaining importance now, they have not missed out a lot. It is imperative that the adult learners realize the importance of natural resources.

Relevance to Practice

Besides helping learners protect honey bees, this lesson may give them a business idea, like getting involved in beekeeping and the production of honey and beeswax. Although not exhaustive, this lesson may serve to give an introduction. By accessing the links to more richer sources of information, learners can further augment their knowledge.

Key Terms and Concepts

Key Concepts

Natural sources of food - Honey bees and other insects are natural pollinators. The increased use of pesticides have dis-oriented honey bees who lose their way to their beehives and die in the wilderness. Their fast depletion is straining the natural environment resulting in decrease in production of fruits and vegetables.  

Beekeeping - The success of beekeeping also depends on being aware of hive infections by mites and awareness about decrease in honey bees population.

Honey bees as producers of honey and beeswax - The byproducts in beehives can be marketed as they have several uses.

Key Terms

  • Honey
  • Depletion
  • Environment
  • Sustainability
  • Protect
  • Beehive
  • Colony
  • Beekeeping
  • Honey bee farms

Instructional Strategies and Activities


Time: Maximum 3 minutes

The instructor can ask the learners to look at a set of images, showing different types of bees and other insects, either printed out on paper or as a slide show on a big screen or on a computer monitor. Learners have to identify the honey bees. It is okay if they do not know the names of the other insects.

If printed images are used, each student gets a printed sheet with the images and a blank space to write down what they see. For environments where a computer is not available, a PDF of the set of images is available. Answers are provided in the Answers document.

Time required :10-15 seconds to view one image. 

**If the instructor prints out each image on separate papers, they can number them and distribute the images to the students. The images then get passed on between the students and they will write the names on the sheet of paper in the space provided. Answers for the images are provided in the document.



Warm-up activities

Download: Social life in beehive_OER.pdf

Download: Insects and other bees_OER.pdf


Time: 3 minutes 

The instructor asks and discusses the images shown and their relevance to the lesson. The 3 topics are given a brief introduction based on the objectives. 

Teacher: (They can present the content as a lecture) 

We will be discussing the following topics in class today.

  • Honey bees as pollinators
  • Beekeeping as an industry
  • Help save honey bees

Honey bees and many other insects are responsible for the pollination of many fruit, nuts, vegetables and other species of plants. There are some plants which are pollinated only by honey bees. But honey bees are disappearing fast around the world and hence affecting sustainable food production. We have to stop this from happening. We have to learn about honey bees and how to protect them. This is simple. We can make beekeeping a hobby, an occupation to earn or just consume locally grown foods and stop using pesticides in our gardens and farms. This will help protect our environment and make food production sustainable.

This lesson will help learners identify sustainable beekeeping methods, and enable them to reap some profit by selling honey and beeswax.

Presentation / Modeling / Demonstration

Time:  Total 9 minutes

Absorb activity - Do you love Almonds & Apples, Peaches & Plums ?

Then, you should thank the Honeybees. They help pollinate the flowers, which become the fruits that reach our dining tables in various forms.

Honeybees are valuable for human beings as they help produce the food we eat.

But Honeybees are fast disappearing and we have to do something to save them.

If we have to help them, we need to know them better.

Topic 1 - Honey bees as pollinators

In a beehive there are 3 types of bees - 

  • The Queen who lays all the eggs
  • The Drone
  • The Workers 

All about worker honey bees

Download: WORKER BEES_OER.docx

 The same can be printed by the teacher if the learning environment lacks a computer and Internet access. The instructor has to read from the print out and explain, in case students can't understand.

           Watch this video -  Pollination Video

Test Yourself

Game 1 - What do you know about pollination

Game 2 - Flowers pollinated by honey bees produce juicy fruits and nuts - Find out which ones by playing this game.

Topic 2 - Beekeeping as an industry

Learn all you need to know about beekeeping

Download: beekeeping.docx

Beekeeping website - Please visit this website to learn about everything related to beekeeping

Download: beekeeping_OER.pdf

Topic 3 - Help save honey bees

If CCD is not stopped, crops cannot be pollinated and food supply will reduce.

Reasons for CCD:

  • Invasion by Varroa mites
  • Some new diseases
  • Pesticide poisoning
  • Stress caused by poor nutrition and overcrowding in hives

Video - What is CCD

Video - About beekeeping

Guided Practice

Time: 3 minutes

Do activities 

- By indulging in these activities, learners will be able to integrate their learning better. 

Download job aid to treat bee sting at home.

Download: job-aid bee sting.pdf

website: Uses of honey

After completing this section, the instructor should start a discussion. 

  • Students will give personal examples of their encounters with bees.
  • Tell how they treated a bee sting.
  • Discuss how they can identify Queen, worker and drone honey bees.


If Internet connectivity is available, the teacher can make learners play the following games by clicking on the links.

Game 1- Identify honey bees

Game 2 - Identify queen, worker and drone honey bees

Game 3 - More about honey bees and other insects

Game 4 - Beehive byproducts

Time: 5 minutes


Time: 3 minutes

Connect activities will help learners explore how to apply what they have learned, to real life. They will apply what they learned about honey bees and beekeeping.

Video on beekeeping

How to be bee friendly - Learn more by playing this game

Connect Activity - Home Work :

A paper is given to each student. Instructor should explain to the learners that they should write down 5 sentences about honey bees and 5 sentences about beekeeping . They should be encouraged to think about the practices mentioned in the lesson. They can be asked to stick images if they come across an advertisement or image in some newspaper or magazine related to honey bees. If students have Internet access they can submit the homework via Email.

Learners should be encouraged to find more about beekeeping from local organizations. Links are provided to websites of organizations in the U.S. They can visit honey bee farms and learn about the business. This lesson will give an idea about a possible venture which is not very expensive to establish. Beekeeping provides a sustainable income to learners and at the same time helps in environmental sustainability and sustainability in food production.

Part 3: Supplementary Resources & References

Supplementary Resources

Links to videos created by author and other YouTube videos. As learners here may not be inclined to read, it is wise to provide videos with narration to explain concepts.


All about honey bees


Invite bees to your garden




Attribution Statements

Thanks to Pixabay.com for the images which were used in the slide shows.

Thanks to the Internet resources and Purdue Travelling Exhibit Center.

CC Attribution

This course content is offered by Designers for Learning under a CC Attribution license.

Content in this course can be considered under this license unless otherwise noted.         Page

(Design Guide effective March 29, 2016)

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