Activity Introduction

ACT for Bees Hero frame 1Quick summary: Bees pollinate at least a third of everything we eat and play a vital role in sustaining our ecosystems, therefore they need to be valued and protected. In this lesson, students will dissect a flower to examine the internal anatomy that assists with attracting pollinators to aid in reproduction. They will then explore the body structure of bees that assist with the pollination process. Finally, students explore the symbiotic relationship that exists between bees and flowering plants and the adaptations which allow this relationship to be mutually beneficial.

This activity has been developed in partnership with   ACT_FOR_BEES_Inline_Ident_CMYK

Essential questions:

  • What adaptations do flowers have to assist with pollination?
  • What adaptations do bees have to assist with pollination?
  • What is the relationships between bees, flowering plants and food?

21st century skills:

Bees pollination and food 21stcskills

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 5 Science

  • Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (ACSSU043)
  • With guidance, pose clarifying questions and make predictions about scientific investigations (ACSIS231)
  • Communicate ideas, explanations and processes using scientific representations in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS093)

Year 5 English

  • Clarify understanding of content as it unfolds in formal and informal situations, connecting ideas to students’ own experiences and present and justify a point of view (ACELY1699)
  • Use comprehension strategies to analyse information, integrating and linking ideas from a variety of print and digital sources (ACELY1703)

Year 6 Science

  • The growth and survival of living things are affected by physical conditions of their environment (ACSSU094)
  • With guidance, pose clarifying questions and make predictions about scientific investigations (ACSIS232)
  • Communicate ideas, explanations and processes using scientific representations in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS110)

 Year 6 English

  • Use comprehension strategies to interpret and analyse information and ideas, comparing content from a variety of textual sources including media and digital texts (AACELY1713)

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.1, OI.2, OI.3

Relevant parts of Year 5 English achievement standards: When reading, students encounter and decode unfamiliar words using phonic, grammatical, semantic and contextual knowledge. They listen and ask questions to clarify content. They contribute actively to class and group discussions, taking into account other perspectives.

Relevant parts of Year 5 Science achievement standards: Analyse how the form of living things enables them to function in their environments.

Relevant parts of Year 6 English achievement standards: Students select and use evidence from a text to explain their response to it. They listen to discussions, clarifying content and challenging others’ ideas. They make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions, using a variety of strategies for effect.

Relevant parts of Year 6 Science achievement standards: Describe and predict the effect of environmental changes on individual living things.

Topic: Sustainability

Unit of work: Love Food? Love Bees!

Time required: 90 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – facilitate class discussion.

Resources required: Student Worksheet and Adaptations – Bee and Plant Factsheet - one printed copy per student. Projector, butcher’s paper, scissors, tweezers, collection of flowers for dissection (1-2 flowers per group), workbooks or piece of A4 sized paper for each student, grey lead pencils and magnifying glasses (if available), sticky-notes. Hive of Reflection print-out.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Keywords: bee, sustainability, collaboration, art, integrated, pollination, mutually beneficial relationship, symbiosis, food, consumption, biodiversity.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

ACT for Bees Hero frame 1Teacher Preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students will understand how to dissect a flower to discover its anatomy and how each part contributes to plant reproduction. Students will then make connections between the structure of a flower and morphology of the bees and how these adaptations are pivotal to the production of the food that we eat.

Teacher content information: Bees first appeared on Earth at least 80 million years ago. The ancestors of modern bee species lived alongside the dinosaurs - a time when giant pines, cedars, tree ferns and cycads were the main plants and the air swarmed with primitive insects including oversized dragonflies and giant butterflies. During this time, the first flowering plants (angiosperms) appeared and a more effective way of pollination was needed, other than simply relying on the wind. The challenge was how to increase the chances of pollination and reproduction to ensure the success of future generations. The solution was to attract insect

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: Traits that help living things survive are called adaptations - what adaptations do you have?

1. In nature, flowers can come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, scents and colours. Flowering plants have evolved and adapted so that they attract pollinators who will assist in completing the life cycle of the flower. Pollinators (such as bees) do this by transferring pollen from flower to flower. After reading through the Adaptations - Bee and Plant Factsheet , what questions do you have about how pollination might work? Use the following question lead-ins from the box below to help you create three questions.

What is... Why is... How is... Who is...
What might... Why might... How might... Who might...
What would... Why would... How would... Who would...
Question 1
Question 2
Question 3


2. Use your senses (not including taste) to make a list of observations of your flower specimen.

I see...
I feel.
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