Activity Introduction

Bee on pink eucalypt hero frameQuick 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. This lesson uses the jigsaw classroom method to facilitate student inquiry into the threats faced by bees. Students become experts in one threat faced by bees by reading information, then work with their group to make sense of what they have read. They present what they have learned to their peers. Students will apply their new understanding to create an Effects Wheel to explore the flow-on effects of threats to bee populations. 

This activity has been developed in partnership with  ACT_FOR_BEES_Inline_Ident_CMYK

 Essential questions:

  • What are the threats to bees?
  • What are the consequences of those threats?
  • How do humans support bees?
  • How do bees impact upon Planet, People and Profit?

21st century skills: 

ACT for Bees What are the Threats lesson 21st century skills 

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:
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 interaction skills, for example paraphrasing, questioning and interpreting non-verbal cues and choose vocabulary and vocal effects appropriate for different audiences and purposes (ACELY1796)
  • Navigate and read texts for specific purposes applying appropriate text processing strategies, for example predicting and confirming, monitoring meaning, skimming and scanning (ACELY1702)
  • Use comprehension strategies to analyse information, integrating and linking ideas from a variety of print and digital sources (ACELY1703)

Year 5 HASS – Economics and business

  • Types of resources (natural, human, capital) and the ways societies use them to satisfy the needs and wants of present and future generations (ACHASSK120)
  • Influences on consumer choices and methods that can be used to help make informed personal consumer and financial choices (ACHASSK121)

Year 5 Science

  • Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (ACSSU043)

Year 6 English

  • Participate in and contribute to discussions, clarifying and interrogating ideas, developing and supporting arguments, sharing and evaluating information, experiences and opinions (ACELY1709)
  • Use interaction skills, varying conventions of spoken interactions such as voice volume, tone, pitch and pace, according to group size, formality of interaction and needs and expertise of the audience (ACELY1816)
  • Select, navigate and read texts for a range of purposes, applying appropriate text processing strategies and interpreting structural features, for example table of contents, glossary, chapters, headings and subheadings (ACELY1712)
  • Use comprehension strategies to interpret and analyse information and ideas, comparing content from a variety of textual sources including media and digital texts (ACELY1713)

Year 6 HASS – Economics and business

  • The effect that consumer and financial decisions can have on the individual, the broader community and the environment (ACHASSK150) 

Year 6 Science

  • The growth and survival of living things are affected by physical conditions of their environment (ACSSU094)

General capabilities: Ethical Understanding, Personal and Social Capability

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.1, 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. Students use language features to show how ideas can be extended. They develop and explain a point of view about a text, selecting information, ideas and images from a range of resources.

Relevant parts of Year 5 HASS achievement standards: They describe factors that influence their choices as consumers and identify strategies that can be used to inform these choices. 

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

Relevant parts of Year 6 English achievement standards: Students compare and analyse information in different and complex texts, explaining literal and implied meaning. They select and use evidence from a text to explain their response to it. They listen to discussions, clarifying content and challenging others’ ideas. Students create detailed texts elaborating on key ideas for a range of purposes and audiences. They make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions, using a variety of strategies for effect. 

Relevant parts of Year 6 HASS achievement standards: They describe the rights and responsibilities of Australian citizens and the obligations they may have as global citizens. Students recognise why choices about the allocation of resources involve trade-offs.

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

Topic: Sustainability 

Unit of work: Love Food? Love Bees!

Time required: 120 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. With Bees vs Without Bees pictures, projector, Bees Under Threat Factsheet set (print enough copies so that groups of four will all have one set), Effects Wheel Template (print one per student), Hive of Reflection print-out. Butcher’s paper, textas, pencils and highlighters (optional). 

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Keywords: bee, sustainability, threats, ecosystem, 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

Bee on Echinacea hero frameTeacher Preparation

Overarching Learning Goal: Students will understand the varied threats faced by bees, and make connections to the flow-on effects in the ecosystem. Students will understand how social, environmental and economic impacts of declining bee populations.

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 insects to assist with pollination. Over time flowers evolved a range of advertisements

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: Are bees around the world in serious trouble?

1. Summarise the information you became an expert in:

(You can answer these in any order...)

Any other important information:
Where did this information come from?


In relation to the threats to bees that you learned about during this lesson, complete the following:

What COLOUR represents what you learned about? Create a SYMBOL that summarises what you learned Draw an IMAGE that shows what you learned
Explain why you chose that colour: Explain the symbol a little more - why did you choose it? How does your image illustrate what you learned?
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