The Environment and Honey Bees

Work with a local beekeeper to research the genetics of bees and understand what threatens the bee population, how the climate affects plants as their food, and relationships of bees with other species.


  • Essential Question:  How do bees and humans interact?
  • Areas of study: Biology
  • Type and amount of credit earned: 1 Biology credit (core)
  • Community partner: Local beekeeper


  • Scientific method: understand the scientific method and demonstrate the ability to think like and apply the techniques of a scientist
  • Concepts of Life: apply concepts about the structures and processes of life from molecule to organism
  • Heredity: investigate the passing on of traits, and the ethical implications of scientific research.
  • Ecosystems: to investigate the interactions, energy and changes of an ecosystem over time.
  • Synthesize and Communicate Information:  synthesize learning of Biology and effectively communicate this learning to others

See the detailed ELO description for the full text of these competencies.

Student activities

  • Design/Complete experiment that tests a bee’s sense to determine if there is a dominant sense used to choose plants
  • Sit in on Biology classes as determined by cooperating teacher
  • Independent research: genetic engineering needed to support/create a “super bee” and the effect this will have on the environment.
  • Independent research: top threats to bees and how they are “self medicating” to combat Colony Collapse Disorder and altering their genetics through the use of fungi and other natural factors.
  • Independent Research: symbiotic relationships of honey bees as well as inter-species competition and how they are being affected by environmental factors.
  • Independent research: how have plants evolved specific to pollination and what environmental factors have had an impact? E.g., climate change, etc.
  • Independent Research: what plants and ecosystems attract bees and other pollinators?
  • Design experiment that identifies/tests environmental factors that are affecting preferred plants of pollinators
  • Design and plant pollination garden on school grounds


Student is assessed throughout the ELO process to ensure understanding of the material. Student works with a local beekeeper and researches the genetics of bees, threats to the bee population, the effect of climate on the plants as food for the bee population, and relationships with other species. Student creates diagrams, writes news articles, and researches papers as assessments for each topic.  Student then completes a sixty minute presentation of learning to connect artifacts to the course competencies. The purpose of the presentation is to demonstrate a full understanding of the competencies and explain how the work  is evidence of mastery for those competencies. This student gave a twenty minute presentation that was open to the community.

This ELO was submitted by Anne Banks, Pittsfield Middle High School

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