Essential Question:

How do honey bees manage their community?



Have students complete the short Anticipation Guide as a class or individually.

View the video, The Swarm, and discuss.

Prepare the classroom by creating 3 reading stations with the following readings:

Station 1: Preparing to Swarm
Station 2: Swarming
Station 3: After the Swarm

Have the entire class approach the first reading station silently and read the materials there. Every student must complete the reading before moving on to Stations 2 and 3. In between stations, encourage the students to discuss aloud the materials they have just read. Once at the next station, silence is observed until the entire group is finished reading.

Discuss the experience of reading as a swarm and how it was challenging to do the exercise silently. Discuss group behavior and how it affected the way the group/swarm acted in order to complete each task. Have students write a paragraph about how swarm behavior compares and contrasts to the behavior of students and staff in the cafeteria. Image © shutterstock Rimantas Abromas

Have the students watch the video Interview with a Beekeeper: Swarm! which explains swarms and describes the collection of a swarm in the wild.

Play Group Motion (instructions located in the full lesson) to give your students a sense of moving as a group without talking.


Use the assessment Trouble with the Swarm Scenarios to generate classroom dialogue about how different scenarios in the hive could cause problems.


Have the students write a poem called Swarm on their exit cards. Encourage them to use descriptive words and the five senses in the poem.

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 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.
b) Formulate questions that might be answered in the selection.
j) Identify the main idea.

4.7: The student will write cohesively for a variety of purposes.
a) Identify intended audience.
d) Organize writing to convey a central idea.
k) Include supporting details that elaborate the main idea.

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