Bee & Honey Unit Study | Living Books, Curriculum, Resources and Projects

For a full list of resources, scroll to the middle of this blog post. This video showcases the materials we used the second time we did a unit study on bees in 2019.
This is how we put together this first unit on Bees in 2017.
We have since completed this unit again in 2019.

It’s nearly spring and that means we are putting our history units aside and welcoming spring with our nature units. We are kicking it off with this small unit study on Bees and Honey. I’ve set aside a week for this unit which includes two project kits we got from Nature Watch as well as a hands-on project from a the Honey Bees project book.

Check out the rest of the videos in our Unit Study on Bees and Honey.

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How To Make A Needle Felted Bee

We continue our unit on bees with this hands on project. We are using the book Explore Honey Bees Book by Cindy Blobaum. Originally, I had intended for my six and 10 year old to felt a single bee with me. A large one. An easy one. But when the time came to felt this bee, my kids were not interested. They were playing. I don’t mind. I start our projects anyway or wait for them. Play is important and I aim not to interrupt wholesome creative open ended play. So when I began my felted bee, which was going to be the example, I looked at our supplies and incorrectly determined that there wasn’t enough black wool to felt a single large bee. Instead I decided to felt a small one. That was mistake number one! This little bee looks darling in the end, but it was not the satisfactory activity I had hoped up. I began felting mine and about a third of the way into the project, my children joined me and began working on theirs. They made some changes to theirs to simplify the process and theirs turned out delightful! You can see pics of their work on the blog post that accompanies this video.

You can find felting supplies at A Child’s Dream: wool and needles.

Directions
Supplies: Merino wool top in yellow, black and light pink or taupe, felting needles, a foam pad to work on and black pipe cleaners
Duration: 20-30 minutes
Level: ages 8 and up (though my six year made a super cute one!)

Check out the rest of the videos in our Unit Study on Bees and Honey.

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Life Cycle of a Honey Bee

This project is both educational and artistic. It was fun, easy and satisfying to make. We use the book by Cindy Blobaum called Explore Honey Bees! with 25 Great Projects as inspiration for this project. This book comes with information on honey bees as well as easy-to-do activities for kids of all ages. You can find the book at Nature-Watch.

For this project you will need:
1 large piece of durable paper. We use Fabriano 90 lb. watercolor paper measuring 9″x12″
1 grain of rice for the ‘egg’
1 small piece of beeswax for the ‘larva’ (play dough would be a suitable alternative)
1 small piece of wool batting/wool top for the pupa cocoon (a cotton ball would be a perfect alternative)
1 sticker or drawing of an adult bee (we used our felted honey bee from a previous project)
pencil, glue and pastels.

Duration: 20-30 min with 20 min of prep and cleanup (not including felting the bee)
Level: 4th grade and up

Other materials: book on bees and their life cycle for information to add to the finished project.

Check out the rest of the videos in our Unit Study on Bees and Honey.

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How to Make a Bee Stinger

This DIY bee stinger project is easy to do, affordable and educational. We did this project as part of our Honey and Bee unit study.

This project was so easy, you might even have all the supplies you need already. All you need are cardboard or chipboard and tissue paper. Other supplies are scissors and pencil. We got the idea for the activity from Cindy Blobaum’s book Explore Honey Bees! With 25 Great Projects.

Supplies: Chipboard, scissors, pencil and tissue paper.
Directions: Cut two stingers, one shaped like a tall triangle and the other barbed. Pierce a piece of tissue paper. See how the barbed stinger gets stuck. This represents the stinger of a drone honey bee.
Duration: 10 minutes
Clean and prep: 5 minutes
Level: all grades
Cost: negligible

Check out the rest of the videos in our Unit Study on Bees and Honey.

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How to Draw a Bee | Drawing Tutorial

We are using the book Explore Honey Bees! With 25 Great Projects by Cindy Blobaum as part of our unit study on honey bees. We have worked through this book reading passages and working on projects and today we are going to draw a simple honey bee using one of the activities in the book.

This drawing was quick and easy with the instructions in the book. We used our Lyra watercolors from A Child’s Dream and a pencil. We did our drawing/watercolor on Fabriano 90 lb. watercolor paper available at Dick Blick.

Check out the rest of the videos in our Unit Study on Bees and Honey.

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Stages of a Bee Metamorphosis | Life Cycle of a Bee

We continue our study of bees and honey with the easy and educational game that is quick to make and costs hardly anything at all. Affordable projects and games like this one are great for homeschoolers as well as for science teachers in a classroom setting because they are easy to instruct, practically free, fun to play and very educational, not to mention memorable and interactive. That’s what I call a win, win, win activity!

This folded paper game can be used for any subject from math to history. We’ve made them before for history and poetry. They are great to keep around your school room for fun review work when your unit study is complete.

Directions:
Cut a piece of paper into a square (8″x8″ or 9″x9″ works best).
Fold paper following directions in the video
Write stages of a bee on the inside flaps.
Lift the flap and draw the stage of the bee and add a couple sentences about that stage.
On the outside flaps, write numbers that coordinate with a bee (I wrote 3 (body parts), 6 (legs), 12 (days of a larva) and 4 (wings))
Play the game!

Cost: 15 cents
Time: 20-30 minutes depending on how long it takes a student to write the information about each stage of a bee
Grade: 8-9 years and up
Level: Easy

Check out the rest of the videos in our Spring Unit Study on Bees and Honey.

We used the book Explore Honey Bees! With 25 Great Projects by Cindy Blobaum.

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Science Curriculum Review | Unit Study Review

We have completed our unit on bees and honey, and now it’s time to review the materials we used. We really enjoyed most of what we used, but we were quite surprised that some of our most beloved books didn’t fair so well.

Materials for this unit were purchased using charter school funds and were purchased from Acorn Naturalists and Nature-Watch. Art materials were purchased from Waldorf Supplies and A Child’s Dream.

See the projects we did for this unit.

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How To Put Together a Unit Study | Bees

Want to see what too many resources for a unit looks like, check out this video to see a selection of redundant materials for a short unit study on Bees. After completing our last Bees and Honey unit, I continued to source material that I found inspiring for the next time we planned a Bees unit. Well, now’s that time and I’ve collected more materials than I can possibly use. Sadly, nearly all of them were superb books and resources which made narrowing down what we loved challenging! They were all so good!! But you certainly don’t need this many. If I were to whittle down the list to something a bit more tidy, I would include about half of what I show here.

Here’s a complete list of the resources we’ve used for this unit:

The Honeybee by Kirsten Hall and Isabelle Arsenault
Honey Bees with 25 Great Projects by Cindy Blobaum
The Bumblebee Queen by April Pulley Sayre
Insect Life by Usborne
The Bumblebee of Apple Tree Lane by Laura Gates Galvin
Insect Life by Arabella B. Buckley
The Bee by Animals at Home by Marion Koenig
The Bee Book by Charlotte Milner
The Life Cycle of a Honeybee by Bobbie Kalman
Turn This Book Into A Beehive by Lynn Brunelle
You Wouldn’t Want To Live Without Bees! by Alex Woolf
The Life and Times of the Honeybee by Charles Micucci
Backyard Books Are you a Bee? by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries
Professor Noggins Trivia Card Game Insects
Nature Watch Honey Tasting Kit
Nature Watch Beeswax Rolling Kit
Bee Model Replica
Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman
Topanga Quality
Beeswax

The Honeybee by Kirsten Hall and Isabelle Arsenault

Honey Bees with 25 Great Projects by Cindy Blobaum

The Bumblebee Queen by April Pulley Sayre

Insect Life by Usborne

The Bumblebee of Apple Tree Lane by Laura Gates Galvin

Insect Life by Arabella B. Buckley

The Bee by Animals at Home by Marion Koenig

The Bee Book by Charlotte Milner

The Life Cycle of a Honeybee by Bobbie Kalman

Turn This Book Into A Beehive by Lynn Brunelle

The Fascinating World of Bees by Barron’s

You Wouldn’t Want To Live Without Bees! by Alex Woolf

The Life and Times of the Honeybee by Charles Micucci

Backyard Books Are you a Bee? by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries

Professor Noggins Trivia Card Game Insects

Nature Watch Honey Tasting Kit

Nature Watch Beeswax Rolling Kit

Bee Model Replica

Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman

Beeswax

See the projects we did for this unit.

Materials for this unit were purchased using charter school funds and were purchased from Acorn Naturalists and Nature-Watch. Art materials were purchased from Waldorf Supplies and A Child’s Dream.

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Bee Chalk Drawing

https://youtu.be/LiH4F7YGpBE

Not every new unit or main lesson blocks gets a new chalk drawing and in some cases, one chalk drawing serves for several units as this one does. This chalk drawing has the image of an owl, the life cycle of a frog and a bee and beehive. While it’s not my favorite chalk drawing, I think it serves the purpose of inspiring us throughout this unit and adds beauty to our homeschool space. Collected around the chalk drawing are the books and resources we’ll be using for this series of units.

While this part of the chalk drawing only took 20 minutes, the owl took 65 minutes and the life cycle of a frog took 20 minutes bringing the grand total for this chalk drawing at 1 hour and 45 minutes. That may not seem too bad for a 4′ by 6′ drawing, but compared to other images, it was. Also, I can’t say I love the bee part!! I do wish I would have made a hexagon pattern with a bee in the beehive. But there’s always next time!

For this drawing, I used by Sargent Art Square Chalk Pastels as well as a number of resources as drawing inspiration.

Materials for this unit were purchased using charter school funds and were purchased from Acorn Naturalists and Nature-Watch. Art materials were purchased from Waldorf Supplies and A Child’s Dream.

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Flower Dissection | Botany | Bee Unit Study | Charlotte Mason Nature Study

I had mixed feelings about the flower dissection we did for our Bee Unit Study. While I think this is a fabulous project for an older student (middle school and older), I had reservations about doing this project with my 8-year-old daughter. I wasn’t keen on us taking beautiful flowers and destroying them to examine the insides and to identify the parts. But we did it despite my feelings, and it turned out okay! It’s my opinion that when the children are young, we should marvel at what we see and behold its beauty rather than take it apart. There is a deep education in being able to be present with your surroundings and having wonder and curiosity in what you see without having to understand it on an analytical basis. I would rather save that analytical and logical and scientific approach for when the students are older.

This activity was from the book Turn This Book Into A Beehive by Lynne Brunelle.

How Does a Bee Get Pollen?

I have two very simple yet informative and educational demonstrations to show you on how bees get pollen from plants. These demonstrations are from the book Turn This Book Into A Beehive by Lynn Brunelle. This has been a great addition to our unit study and we are loving this book. The part is that you can turn the book into a beehive!

In the first demonstration, we used cheese puffs to show how ‘pollen’ (cheese puff dust) gets from one flower to the next. While we didn’t have the recommended chips, we did use Cheetos and they worked with limited success. Overall, it was a tasty way to learn about bees and pollen.

In the second demonstration, we use plastic wrap stretch across a bowl. We marked the center with a marker and placed some garlic powder in the center. Then resting our lips on the edge of the bowl, we hummed until the garlic powder was disrupted and spread outside the drawn circle. This was to represent how a bee’s buzzing disrupts the pollen as it approaches a flower.

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Materials for this unit were purchased using charter school funds and were purchased from Acorn Naturalists and Nature-Watch. Art materials were purchased from Waldorf Supplies and A Child’s Dream.

How To Make Pesticide-Free Bug Spray | Bee Friendly | All Natural

Eco-friendly bug spray that smells like a slow cooked meal? Yes, please! While working through our Bee Unit Study for homeschool, we decided to make our way through the activity book “Turn This Book Into A Beehive” by Lynne Brunelle. In it you’ll find several easy hands on activities to compliment a unit study on bees. And while we’ve done several of the projects in the book, this one is proving to be very useful beyond the lesson.

I did make some modifications to the recipe, so that I wouldn’t be making so much. I also wanted to ensure that it would fit in the spray bottle I had chosen for the bug spray. I also re-seeped the pulp a second time to make more, but I imagine the concentration on the second batch was far more mild than the first.

For this recipe, I used half and onion, 3-5 cloves of garlic, cayenne pepper (about 1/1-1 teaspoon) and some red chili peppers. I blended everything in my NutriBullet with some boiling hot water. This is a little tricky. A safer alternative is to blend everything with lukewarm water, then seep the wet pulp with boiling water. I used about 2 cups of boiling water. I let it seep for 24 hours. I used cheesecloth to strain the pulp out and then poured it into a spray bottle with a teaspoon of dish soap. I seeped the pulp again with about 1-2 cups of boiling water the following day. Since this is an all natural bug spray, I store it in the refrigerator to ensure freshness and so that it doesn’t go bad. So far it keeps for 2 months.

I spray our vegetables, but honestly, I can’t tell if it’s working or not. I’m not such an experienced gardener to know if this spray is working. It’s entirely possible that other factors are killing my plants, like lack of water 😉

This bug spray is so good for the environment. It’s all natural and it ensures that pesticides don’t kill the insects we need like bees. Since bees are necessary for pollination of so many plants, it’s important we to care of their survival.

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Materials for this unit were purchased using charter school funds and were purchased from Acorn Naturalists and Nature-Watch. Art materials were purchased from Waldorf Supplies and A Child’s Dream.

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