Our Food Supply Depends on Bees!

As we approach the year 2050 it is estimated that the world’s population will reach 9.7 billion people. Although this seems a long way away, it is within students’ lifetime. Because of this expected population increase we need to be smart about how we use resources today, to make sure they are available in abundance in future years. 

Bees pollinate a whopping TWO THIRDS of our food production.

Most Fruit, Nuts, Vegetables, Seeds, and Livestock Feed production is dependant on the existence of Bees. They are more vulnerable to disease and pests through the overuse of pesticides, herbicides, and modern agricultural practices. Human activity is reducing the habitat and food sources.

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What Can We Do?

ACT for Bees has put together some great resources and actions that you and your kids can take part in to raise awareness and habitat for these local legends. Visit the ACT for Bees Australian Native Bees page for guides on building your own bee hotel as well as planting & creating habitat to attract bees. Please share these resources. More bees equals more food security for all!

We are developing a great new lesson to raise awareness around Australia’s diverse range of Native Bees as well as some Learn@Home resources. Look out for these early in Term 1 2021!

We also have a dedicated digital library for students wishing to research further.

Early Learning 

This set of lessons is designed to help connect children to the wonders of the natural world through sensory and play-based learning.

Growing Seeds

Comparing Seeds

Up Close With Bees

Where Can You Find Seeds?

In this activity children explore how plants grow from seeds. Children begin by looking for plants in their yard and identifying the parts of a plant. They then participate in a guided role-play activity where they act out the way a seed grows into a plant. Children plant seeds into tubs which they then remove at different stages of growth to observe how the roots and shoots form. In this activity children explore some of the different types of seed that we eat. Children begin by looking at a range of dried seeds, comparing their size, colour, texture, and shape. Younger children then make maracas using some dried seeds and milk/juice bottle lids. Older children can make maracas or use the seeds in other craft projects, including making mosaics.

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In this activity children investigate the features of bees and how bees use these features. Younger children begin by sharing what they already know about bees and then look at and discuss flashcards of bees. Children can then make bee finger puppets using a template. Older children begin by looking at flashcards of bees and then play a game where they take on the roles of bees collecting pollen to bring back to the hive.

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In this activity, children explore the ways seeds grow in fruits and vegetables. Children observe and compare a range of fruits and vegetables based on weight, colour, size, texture and smell, and will look for the seeds in these fruits and vegetables. Older children will also explore a broader range of seeds. At the end of the activity, children can create salads or soup out of the fruit to share.
 


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Colouring In Activity!

Have some fun and get creative with this lovely illustration of the Blue Banded Bee. This is a great mindfulness activity your students can enjoy after learning so much about the importance of bees. You can download a copy here.

Bees In The Yard

Seed Walk

In this activity children investigate bees in the yard and learn how to be safe around bees. Younger children go out into the yard and observe bees before participating in a guided role-play around bees, collecting pollen and nectar and returning to the hive. Older children go outside to observe bees before conducting an experiment to find out what colour flowers bees like best. Children investigate seeds in their local area. Younger children are asked to observe and touch a range of seeds (and other natural materials) found in their local area, and to use these materials in art and crafts. Older children will go for a walk in their local area, looking for seeds.They will also make a map of their walk, marking the main features of their walk on their map

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Primary – Years 5 and 6

This unit supports students to inquire into the role of bees in the ecosystem and how they can flourish in their role as pollinators. Students develop an understanding of bees, their role as pollinators, the threats they face and the steps they can take to be bee-friendly. By practising critical and creative thinking, students will be equipped to consider the impact of bees based on social, environmental and economic criteria and will be encouraged to take action around this important issue.

Beeing Curious

Beeing Observant

Beeing Mindful

Bees, Pollination and Food

English, Science
This tuning-in lesson introduces the topic of bees through a ‘Stand on the Line’ activity, wherein students consider a number of statements and justify their opinion. To capture students’ interest and find out what they already know they watch a compelling short film of bees and other pollinators, then complete a ‘See, Think, Wonder’ visible thinking tool designed to instill and reinforce a sense of curiosity in students.
Science
Students are connected to the wonder of bees by observing them interacting with plants in their schoolyard and in their gardens. Using their senses, they conduct a series of observations over a predetermined period of time and then complete an analysis of their data, looking for patterns relating to the presence or absence of bees, bee behaviour and suitability of bee friendly plants. Finally, students produce a poster detailing their findings.
Health, Science
This lesson introduces students to the topic of bees through nature-based mindfulness practices. This mindfulness activity is designed to connect students to their local environment while teaching awareness of posture, breathing, relaxation and concentration. Nature metaphors and references to bees are imbued in these practices as a technique to connect students the themes throughout the Love Food? Love Bees! unit.
Science, English, Bus. Ec., Maths
Students will be introduced to the connection between bees, flowering plants and food through a range of activities. They will view a short 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 about bees, their role as pollinators and our dependence on bees for food production.
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Bee’s Knees and Flower Power

What Are The Threats?

Beeing Helpful

Beauty of Bees

English, Science
In this lesson, students will dissect a flower to examine the internal anatomy that assists with attracting pollinators. 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.
Science, English, Bus. Ec., Maths
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 and present what they have learned. Students will apply their new understanding to create an Effects Wheel to explore the flow-on effects of threats to bee populations. 
Science, English, Bus. Ec., Maths
In this lesson, students find ways to address the threats faced by bees and share the solutions they find with the class. They will adopt a research strategy to use when engaging in an online search to find out about how to be bee friendly. In doing so, students will find out about ways that we can mitigate the risks that bees face, and help bees to help us.
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Arts, Maths
Students explore the concept of a social enterprise. After reviewing prior knowledge students identify what a social enterprise is. They then look at how the action the GPS team took could be converted into a social enterprise. Students then explore and analyse social enterprises in their community and present their research with the class. 
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Secondary – Years 9 and 10

This unit supports students to inquire into the relationships between agriculture, food security and bees. Students develop an understanding of bees and how their role as pollinators is pivotal to human food production. They identify how human actions can affect bees and their ability to pollinate our food, and how this is a risk to future food security. Students will use their learning to explore actions they can take to protect bees and other pollinators. By practising critical and creative thinking, students will be equipped to consider the impact of bees based on social, environmental and economic criteria and will be encouraged to take action around this important issue.

Introduction to Food Security

Powerful Pollinators

Sustainable Agriculture

A Sustainable Food Future

Geography
In this lesson, students will be introduced to food security in Australia and globally. A class discussion is used to identify key aspects of food security before students work in groups to critically analyse a range of clips about food production and food security. Groups then move between stations around the classroom contributing answers to a range of questions related to what they have seen. During student-led class discussions at each station the class completes mind maps to summarise their learning.
Geography
In a flipped classroom-style activity students watch clips at home to deepen their knowledge about the importance of bees to our food security and the causes of declining bee populations. In class students consider strategies to ensure the survival of bees and other pollinators. Students will learn about World Bee Day and create a strategy to raise awareness of this annual event at your school or local community.
Geography
In this lesson, students will examine the concept of sustainability as it applies to agriculture, and explore links between sustainable agriculture and food security. Students will study the characteristics of sustainable agriculture to answer the question ‘What does sustainable agriculture look like?’ They will examine holistic approaches to sustainable agriculture such as regenerative agriculture, organic farming, permaculture and agriculture supporting pollinators. 

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Geography
In this lesson students will review and critically examine typical features of sustainable agriculture to complete a Diamond Ranking activity. They will examine different categories of food producers and identify examples for each. Working in groups, students will select one category of interest to investigate one food producer (farm) in that category and assess its contribution to a sustainable food future. 
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Supporting Sustainable Food

Taking Action for Food Security

 
Geography
In this lesson students will review and critically examine typical features of sustainable agriculture to complete a Diamond Ranking activity. They will examine different categories of food producers and identify examples for each. Working in groups, students will select one category of interest to investigate one food producer (farm) in that category and assess its contribution to a sustainable food future. 

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Geography
In this lesson, students will create a proposal to improve your school’s support of sustainable agriculture. To begin this lesson, students will identify a range of food-related actions that they can take to reduce their own environmental footprints. The class will then analyse a case study of a group of students taking action to protect pollinators at their school. 

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About ACT for Bees

These lessons have been created in partnership with ACT for Bees. ACT for Bees is a not-for-profit organisation taking action to preserve these essential pollinators to ensure a food secure future.  

 

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