Essential Question:

What makes the inside of a honey bee hive fascinating?



Environmental Preparation: Play the audio of the inside of a bee hive and invite students to just listen to the audio playing in the room. (Teachers: Directions for the audio can be found in the full lesson.)

Ask the students, How does this sound make you feel? Then have the students write either a list of three feelings or a one-sentence descriptive answer to the question.


This is a photo of a worker bee’s abdomen. The worker bees (all female) have special glands that allow them to secrete wax that is used to build the honeycomb. Bees take these wax sheets and chew them up until they have been softened by bee saliva and are pliable enough to work with, then they form them into the cells that make the honeycomb. Wax is also used to seal off cells being used for storage. The wax from a worker bee’s abdomen may be taken by another bee to chew and manipulate, or the bee may grab its own wax sheet and pass it from hind leg to fore leg and then to mouth.

Write a caption for the image Worker Bee Wax Abdomen.

Divide students into groups of 8 and distribute the reading Hive Building and Care. Show slideshow examples and explain the process to students so they can complete the assignment.

Watch the time-lapse Hive Creation video.

Distribute the Hivekeeping Checklist and ask students to roam around the room and mark their checklists with the number of the image that corresponds to each task (i.e., #2 Feeding the Brood).

Build It:
Divide into teams of 4.

Using a variety of materials, have students build a hive that demonstrates the structure of a hive and visually represents the areas and activities within the hive. Have students use any and all of the materials available and be creative in their representations.


Write a multi-paragraph diary entry from the point of view of a worker bee at a specific stage of its life. Share with your fellow students for comments.


Write what you think your favorite role/job would be if you were a honey bee.

Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL)


4.5: The student will investigate and understand how plants and animals, including humans, in an ecosystem interact with one another and with the nonliving components in the ecosystem.
  • Organisms have structural adaptations or physical attributes that help them meet a life need.
  • Organisms also have behavioral adaptations, or certain types of activities they perform, which help them meet a life need.
  • During its life cycle, an organism’s role in the community — its niche — may change. For example, what an animal eats, what eats it, and other relationships will change.


4.6: The student will read and demonstrate comprehension of nonfiction texts.
d) Identify the main idea.
e) Summarize supporting details.
j) Identify new information gained from reading.


4.7: The student will write cohesively for a variety of purposes.
c) Use a variety of pre-writing strategies.
g) Write two or more related paragraphs on the same topic.
k) Include supporting details that elaborate the main idea.

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