Activity Introduction

Bee on Echinacea 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. In this lesson, students will be introduced to the connection between bees, flowering plants and food through a range of activities. They will view a short explanatory video about the symbiotic relationship between bees and plants. Students use mathematics skills to explore interesting facts about bees. The class will then create a visual learning display by reading snippets of information about bees, their role as pollinators and our dependence on bees for food production. Students complete a mini maths problem to reveal information and then come up with questions that connect to the information they have read. A set of visual prompts is provided to guide students to write a short piece that summarises their understanding of role of bees in food production.

This activity has been developed in partnership with    ACT_FOR_BEES_Inline_Ident_CMYK 

Essential questions:

  • How do bees benefit flowers and human food production in their role as pollinators?
  • How do bees help flowering plants to reproduce?
  • What role do bees play?
  • How do bees support humans?

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)

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)
  • Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive print and multimodal texts, choosing text structures, language features, images and sound appropriate to purpose and audience (ACELY1704)

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 Mathematics

  • Solve problems involving multiplication of large numbers by one- or two-digit numbers using efficient mental, written strategies and appropriate digital technologies (ACMNA100)
  • Solve problems involving division by a one digit number, including those that result in a remainder (ACMNA101)
  • Use efficient mental and written strategies and apply appropriate digital technologies to solve problems (ACMNA291)

Year 6 Science

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

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 (ACELY1713)
  • Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, choosing and experimenting with text structures, language features, images and digital resources appropriate to purpose and audience (ACELY1714)

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 Mathematics

  • Select and apply efficient mental and written strategies and appropriate digital technologies to solve problems involving all four operations with whole numbers (ACMNA123)

General capabilities: Ethical Understanding, 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. Students create texts for different purposes and audiences. They contribute actively to class and group discussions, taking into account other perspectives.

Relevant parts of Year 5 HASS achievement standards: Recognise that choices need to be made when allocating resources. 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: Analyse how the form of living things enables them to function in their environments.

Relevant parts of Year 5 Maths achievement standards: Students solve simple problems involving the four operations using a range of strategies.

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. 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: Explain why it is important to be informed when making consumer and financial decisions.

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

Relevant parts of Year 6 Maths achievement standards: Solve problems involving all four operations with whole numbers.

Topic: Sustainability. 

Unit of work: Love Food? Love Bees!

Time required: 90 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. Chalk-Talk Visible Thinking Tool print-out (one per group). Learning about bees – maths questions. Glue or sticky tape,  Blu-Tack, sticky-notes. Hive of Reflection print-out. Projector and speakers.

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 develop knowledge about the mutually beneficial relationship between bees, flowering plants and food. They will explore how humans benefit from this relationship.

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 to attract pollinators, including bright colo

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: We once grew food without chemicals. We never grew food without bees.

1. Observe each of the pictures below. In the space next to each picture, describe what you see:

Honey bee collecting pollen from flowers. Macro shot.
Honey Bee on Clover Blossom
Bee with Pollen
Big Ripe Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) in a Summer Garden
Joy of gardening
Vegetable Garden
Fresh organic vegetables in wicker basket in the garden

2. How do you think the pictures are linked? Write 2-3 paragraphs that explain your thoughts.

Hint: Think about bees, their (symbiotic) relationship with flowers, and how humans benefit from it.

You could use the list of words below to help you decide what to include in your paragraphs. Try to include as many as possible in your paragraphs.

  • bees
  • pollination
  • food
  • nectar
  • pollen
  • flowers
  • fruit
  • vegetables




  • How do the ideas you learnt today connect to what you already knew about bees, pollination and the food we eat?


  • What new facts and ideas did you come up with today that extended your thinking or moved it in a new direction?

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