Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bees ~ A Unit Study

Bees are an excellent spring study choice for children that also offers much in the character building department. You will be amazed at these little creatures whom God made to do great things!

Suggested Chapter Book to Read Aloud:

595051: A Hive of Busy Bees: Stories That Help Build Character for Children 5-10 A Hive of Busy Bees: Stories That Help Build Character for Children 5-10

By Effie Williams

There is also a sequel to this book titled: Danny and Debbie Learn From Another Hive of Bees

About the books~
"Don and Joyce are invited to spend the summer with their grandparents at the farm. Each day presents exciting opportunities for them to experience outdoor farm life-so different from the city-especially the first day when they encounter a hive of angry bees. From this episode grandma chooses stories from her scrapbook and skillfully develops some character lessons for each evening bedtime BEE-STORY. Contents: Bee Obedient; Bee Honest; Bee Truthful; Bee Kind; Bee Polite; Bee Gentle; Bee Helpful; Bee Careful; Bee Grateful; Bee Loving; Bee Accepted; Bee Confident; Bee Content. Recommended for ages 5 to 10."
Picture Book Suggestions: Hummy and the wax castle by Elizabeth Ernst (This is a creation science based book which gives a lot of information about honeybees in a story form.) Bombus the Bumblebee by Elsie J. Larson, Bombus Finds a Friend by Elsie J. Larson (These Bombus books are character building pictures books with creation science information at the end along with activities.) Honey in a Hive (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2, Science Based Picture Book) by Anne Rockwell, and any other insect book with information about bees. The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco (A sweet picture book.)  

I would suggest reading together from the above chapter books for 1/2 hour a day. Read one of the pictures books per day and have your children do some of the listed activities below each day according to their abilities. Include all work separately in a notebook/binder or composition book for each child. Don't forget to let them decorate their own covers with pictures of bees, stickers or bee clip art! Encourage them to be creative.  By the end of a few weeks you will have a nice collection of "bee scrapbooks" to cherish as an educational keepsake.

Bee Inspired Learning Activities ~

Suggested Spelling/Vocabulary List: Make sure to have a "Spelling Bee" at the end of the unit!
  1. pollinate
  2. nectar
  3. flower
  4. honey
  5. hive
  6. sting
  7. colony
  8. queen
  9. drone
  10. swarm
  11. worker
  12. head
  13. thorax
  14. abdomen
  15. apiary

Bible/Penmanship: Copy a Bible verse a day about bees and/or honey in your best writing making sure to include all proper punctuation.

Bible Discussion: Read Proverbs 25:16 about eating "just enough" honey.  Talk to your children about "over-eating", the sin of gluttony, and self-control.

"Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee,
lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it."
~ Proverbs 25:16

Bible Discussion: Read the Proverb below to your children and discuss the meaning together.

"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones."
~ Proverbs 16:24

Language Arts/Penmanship: Have your children copy the following poem in their best writing or cursive making sure to use all the proper punctuation. You can also have children memorize this poem if you like.

Against Idleness and Mischief by Isaac Watts

How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower.

How skillfully she builds her cell,
How neat she spreads her wax;
And labours hard to store it well
With the sweet food that she makes.

In works of labour, or of skill,
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.

In books, or work, or healthful play,
Let my first years be past;
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.

Language Arts/Grammar: Have your students point out all the nouns in the first paragraph. Have them point out the verbs in the second paragraph. Have your children explain to you what the third paragraph means. Lastly, see if they can point out the adjectives in the last paragraph.

Language Arts/Grammar: Discuss "homophones" with your children using the example of "bee" and "be".  See if your students can come up with more examples. Older children can write them down.
"A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning. The words may be spelled the same, such as rose (flower) and rose (past tense of "rise"), or differently, such as carat, caret, and carrot, or to,two, and too. Homophones that are spelled the same are also both homographs and homonyms. Homophones that are spelled differently are also called heterographs. The term "homophone" may also apply to units longer or shorter than words, such as phrases, letters or groups of letters that are pronounced the same as another phrase, letter or group of letters." ~ Wikipedia
Language Arts/Grammar: Teach your children about similes using the following terms. A simile is a figure of speech that directly compares two different things, usually by using the words "like" or "as".

“Sweet as honey...”

“As busy as a bee...”

Science/Nature: Diagram a bee and label the parts.

Science/Nature: Explain the different purposes of the queen bee, worker and drones.

Science/Nature: Make a list of the different types of bees (e.g., honeybee, bumblebee, carpenter bee, etc.) and then have the older children alphabetize it.

Science/Nature: What is the differences between a honeybee and a bumblebee? Do a venn diagram making sure to place the similarities in the middle and the differences on the proper sides.

Science/Nature: Learn about pollination. Older children can write a short paragraph to explain it while younger ones can narrate to mother how it works (or they can illustrate it). Discuss the importance of pollination to our food sources. What would happen if bees were no longer here to pollinate crops?

Science/Nature: Have your children draw and label the four stages that the bee undergoes (egg to larva, pupa then adult).

Science/Health/Research: Research the health benefits of honey and have your older children do a short report on the subject. Another subject to research would be the medicinal cures used with honey.

"My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste…"
~ Proverbs 24:13

Science/Nature: Bees produce many products which are beneficial to man. Make a chart of what is gleaned from the bee and its specific uses. For example, bee pollen, royal jelly, honey, beeswax, and propolis.

Science/Research: Research what to do in case you get stung by a bee. There are some natural remedies that help with the pain. Write out a list. If any one in your family is allergic to stings then this would be a great time to discuss what to do should this emergency occur.

Literature/Character Building: Read aloud "The Law of Authority and Obedience" by Margaret Gatty from "Parables From Nature" (link will take you to the story for free).  The bees in this Victorian piece of literature will teach your children about authority, obedience and nature around them.  Great discussion in the family will surely follow.

Pollination Map for Honey Bees in the United States (Photo Source)
Geography: Using the map above, have your children find their state and explain what the major sources of pollination for bees are in your specific location. You can also name a few other states and have them tell you their source of pollination as well. They may need a physical map of the United States to help them identify the states better.

History/Research: People have found honey in tombs that was still very edible! Do a report on this amazing food in relation to Egyptian history.

Current Events/Science/Nature: Older children can research why bees are becoming scarce and write a report about it.

Home-Economics/Math: Bake some chocolate chip cookies using "honey".  Make sure the children do the math and counting! For extra math, have them double the recipe. For further honey-crafting, prepare some of these herbal honey recipes shared here!

Foreign Language: Memorize how to say "bee" and "honey" in the foreign language you are studying.

Boy with Bee by Jessie Wilcox Smith

Art History/Picture Study: Study the painting above and ask the following questions to your children:
  • What colors do they notice in the painting?
  • What has caught the attention of the little boy?
  • Does he seemed scared of the bee?
  • The artist of this painting, Jessie Wilcox Smith, is known for illustrating many children's books in the past. Have they even seen her paintings in their books? Here is a link to some of her illustrations. See if children can guess the books that they portray.
  • Do they like this painting? Why or why not?

Art: Draw a picture of a bee and color realistically or paint some bees.

Art: Color in some pictures of bees (sample above) and/or our honey with Scripture coloring page.

Arts/Crafts: Do some bee crafts.

Field Trip: Go and visit a bee farm/apiary.

"My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou has found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off". 
~ Proverbs 24:13-14

Visit HERE for more FREE Unit Studies!

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  1. Thank you so much for posting this! We are just switching from following the public school calendar to homeschooling year round (six weeks on/one week off). My girls will love this and it will be perfect for the summer!

    1. That is how we do it too ;) Glad that this can help!!! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh, what a delightful work of knowledge and beauty in the Lord. I just couldn't resist featuring it, dear JES :) I also put a link back to you on FB stating that it was featured this week. I hope many will teach this to their young scholars. Many blessings!

  3. What beautiful lessons you've put together in this study. I'll be printing this out and using it with my children this summer. So looking forward to the buzzing of the bees and blossoming flowers again the Spring and Summer!

  4. My seven-year-old loves the original Winnie-the-Pooh stories. I think we could use a lot of these ideas with those stories. Thank you for sharing.

    1. We love Winnie the Pooh too! You might also like to make Pooh's Medicinal Honey together for fun! :)

  5. Thank you JES! I think I'll do this with the kids this summer. Pinned!


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