In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text that addresses a study that confirms the impact of removing just one bumblebee species from an ecosystem. The text describes how removing just one bumblebee species from an ecosystem causes less effective pollination and lower seed production. Bumblebees, as most bees do, stick with one species of flower until it's finished blooming. Scientists have found that when one bee species is removed it causes the remaining bee species to "cheat" on their original flower species. This causes a decrease in pollination and in seed production. This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys and a writing rubric.
Subject(s): Science, English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 9, 10
Computer for Presenter, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Speakers/Headphones
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Keywords: coevolution, pollination, bee, bee population, ecosystem, endangered species, interspecies interactions, conservation, plant-pollinator relationships, floral fidelity, text complexity, informational text
Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
Students should be able to:
- Recognize the significance of removing one bee species from an ecosystem.
- Identify the importance of determining the cause of colony collapse disorder.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
- Construct a written response that clearly establishes the main point(s), contains relevant textual evidence to support the main point(s), utilizes transitions to maintain flow, effectively uses domain-specific vocabulary, and provides an appropriate conclusion.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
In regards to science:
- General knowledge of plant reproduction and pollination is essential for the complete comprehension of the article. The website MIT Blossoms has a lesson prepared to teach pollination: . This lesson has multiple short activities to teach students about the parts of a plant, how pollination occurs and even discusses colony collapse disorder. Teachers can use parts of the lesson, or all of the lesson.
- Students should have basic knowledge of species interactions and biodiversity. Students should understand the links between organisms in an ecosystem. This TedEd 4-minute video called "Why is Biodiversity so Important?, explains the three components of biodiversity: ecosystem diversity, species diversity and genetic diversity.
- Students should have some general knowledge of natural selection and coevolution. CPALMS provides an original tutorial (Resource ID 121005) that could be used individually or as a whole class review. The University of Berkeley has dedicated a website for teaching evolution in the classroom called Understanding Evolution. They have some real life examples of coevolution that would be beneficial to students.
In regards to literacy skills:
- Students should be aware of text features that can help them locate and learn information when reading a text. The text features in NSF's bee article include a title, subtitle, photograph, and caption.
- Based on the writing rubric provided with this lesson, students should be able to respond to a writing prompt in a clear, organized manner that includes use of an introduction to establish the main point(s), a body paragraph(s) that support the main point(s) and includes relevant and specific textual evidence, and a conclusion that supports the main point(s).
- Students should have some awareness that use of transition words or phrases can help a piece of writing flow smoothly from one point or idea to the next. Teachers might wish to provide students with a sheet of transitions to help them. This site provides transitions teachers might provide.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- What is the purpose of pollination?
Students should be able to explain that angiosperm pollination is the process of transferring pollen to the stigma of a flower. Just because pollination occurs, it does not mean that fertilization has occurred. If flowers are not pollinated and fertilization does not occur, seeds will not be produced.
- What pollinates the majority of plants?
Animals are the number one pollinator, mostly flying insects. Other agents of pollination would include birds, bats, rodents, snails and hopping insects. Other types of pollination are wind and water.
- Why are bees inefficient when they are "promiscuous"?
Bees are inefficient when they are promiscuous, or when they pollinate more than one flower species during the same blooming period, because in order to cross-pollinate a flower successfully the pollen of one species must be transferred to the stigma of another flower of the same species. If bees are moving from one flower species to another, pollen transfer will become more inefficient. As a result, fewer seeds will be produced.
- What is the significance of maintaining biodiversity and what are scientists doing to try to save the bees?
Please see the text-dependent questions writing prompt sample answer for details.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
- Begin the lesson by posing a general question to the class: What types of animals do you think pollinate flowers?
- Students are likely to suggest bees, birds and animals in general. Some students may mention bats are pollinators. This would be a good time to check to make sure they understand how pollination works. At this point you could ask them to make a quick sketch of what occurs in pollination. Make sure their illustration shows pollination within one species.
- Next, ask the class the question: What is colony collapse disorder?
- Students might speculate what C.C.D. is and come to the conclusion that it causes a bee colony to die or collapse. It is unlikely that they will know the actual cause of C.C.D. There are thought to be multiple factors involved with C.C.D including viruses, pesticides and the biggest problem, mites. PBS offers a great four-minute video that explains colony collapse disorder and its likely cause: ""
- Next, ask students: On a scale of 1-10, 1 being very little and 10 being a lot, rate the effect of a total bee extinction on humans.
- Students may give a moderate number, most would not think that the effect would be really high. Although they will identify that it will affect humans, they may not realize that many crops are fertilized by bees, and brought to the fields by beekeepers.
- End the discussion by informing students that bee populations are declining at an alarming rate. Inform students that they will be reading an article that addresses the consequences of removing just one bee species from an area.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
- Provide each student with a copy of the article "Bee Faithful? Plant-Pollinator Relationships Compromised when Bee Species Decline." For class discussions that will follow, it might be helpful to have students number each paragraph.
- Provide each student with a note-taking guide.
- Before students begin reading, direct them to pay attention to the text features of the article to help them learn and locate information:
- Title: Bee Faithful? Plant-Pollinator Relationships Compromised when Bee Species Decline.
- Subtitle: Removing even one bumblebee species from an ecosystem affects plant reproduction.
- Captions: Located under the opening photograph.
- Have students fill out the note-taking guide as they read the text, or after the first reading of the text. This can be done individually, in pairs, or in a small group. The teacher should monitor students as they work and provide support and guidance as needed.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for student understanding?):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' completed note-taking guide, checking their work, providing written feedback, or grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teachers can use this sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
- Plants are not a topic that the majority of students find interesting. Students can often explain pollination, but it doesn't really hit them that pollen is basically plant sperm. Once they realize that, they are better able to explain pollination in detail.
- Students should also realize that pollination and fertilization are not the same. Both are needed for seed production.
- Students may not realize that one benefit of pollination by animals is that it encourages cross-pollination. If all plants self-pollinated, then the genetic variation within the population would be reduced. Reduced genetic variation can increase the chance of extinction.
- Students should also realize that while insects help with 90% of pollination, many crops are wind-pollinated like rice, wheat, and corn.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Provide each student with a copy of the text-dependent questions to complete. Students should be reminded to continually refer back to the text and to use relevant and specific evidence from the text to support their answers.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for understanding?):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' answers to the text-dependent questions, checking their work, providing written feedback, and maybe grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teachers can use the sample answer key provided at the end of the text-dependent questions to help them assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Please see the text-dependent questions sample answer key.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
- Before students complete the writing prompt for the summative assessment be sure to review responses to the text-dependent questions as a class, including covering the misconceptions and key points described in the sample answer key.
- Before assigning the writing prompt for the summative assessment, show students the following six-minute video, "" and instruct them to take some notes on it. This video will give students an update on the current progress scientists have made in the progress of determining colony collapse disorder, as well as allow the students to see stunning video of the development of bees from egg to adult.
- After students' written responses have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to use the provided sample response with the class. Students who are struggling writers can benefit greatly from seeing a well-organized, detailed written response. Teachers can go over how the response addresses all aspects of the writing prompt, point out use of textual evidence from the video, point out use of textual evidence from the NSF article, and have students identify accurate and effective use of domain-specific vocabulary.
- As one final option, teachers might want students to use the rubric to provide a score for the sample written response and have them justify the score they gave, possibly providing revision suggestions for any categories they scored lower than a 4.
- At the close of the lesson: Consider using one of these 5-minute closure activities.
- I Care-Why? Students explain the relevancy of today's topic and how it relates to their lives.
- Doodle-Do: Have students sketch or draw two or three concepts from the lesson.
- Cheat Notes: Have students write down information they would like to have available as a cheat sheet for a quiz or test.
**Students cannot respond to the writing prompt if they don't watch the video discussed in the closure section. Make sure students watch and the class discusses "."
- Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. They should be directed to respond with a multi-paragraph response, with a clear introduction, body section, and conclusion. They can refer back to the text as they construct their response.
- Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over the rubric with them so they will know how their written response will be assessed.
- Go over the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address. Remind students they will need to provide evidence from both the article and the video to support their answer.
The prompt: Biodiversity is the variety of life in the world or a particular ecosystem. Using evidence from both the article and the video, "," explain the significance of maintaining biodiversity and what scientists are doing to try to save the bees.
- Teachers will use the rubric to assess students' written responses.
Specific suggestions for conducting the Formative Assessment can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson.
Feedback to Students
Specific suggestions for providing Feedback to Students can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond."
Accommodations & Recommendations
- This (approximately 6 minutes in length), "The Death of Bees Explained," offers a great introduction to bees and the problems they are currently facing. This could be shown before students read the text "Bee Faithful? Plant-Pollinator Relationships Compromised when Bee Species Decline."
- For struggling readers:
- It might benefit students to chunk the text. Have students independently read a section of the text, and then have several strong readers read that section aloud. This process can be repeated for multiple sections of the text until the article is completed.
- In between reading sections of text, students can stop and fill in appropriate parts of the note-taking guide, and add details to different boxes after each subsequent section of text is read.
- Students can share out what they have added to their note-taking guide so that teachers can provide corrective feedback and so that students can add ideas to their guide or make corrections to their guide based on the class discussion. Then, the class can continue to read the next section of text and add more details to the note-taking guide afterward.
- Teachers may want to incorporate a vocabulary aspect to the note-taking guide. On the sample answer key, academic vocabulary and domain-specific vocabulary that students may have trouble with have been included. Teachers may want students to work in pairs or small groups to define these words. This will help with comprehension of the article and will also make it easier for students to incorporate some of the vocabulary into their writing for the summative assessment.
- For struggling writers: It might help struggling writers to provide them with an outline to help them structure their response for the summative assessment. The outline might include places for them to record:
- Ideas on how to introduce the topic
- A few specifics from the text they might want to use to support or explain the topic
- A place to write down their main point(s)
- Topic sentence (the first sentence of each body paragraph that will reveal the point of the paragraph and will connect to the paper's overall main point)
- Specific evidence from the text for support in each body paragraph
- Ideas for transition words
- Ideas for use of selected vocabulary
- Ideas on how to wrap up their piece and connect back to the main point(s)
- Have students research crops/food that are pollinated by bees. Be sure to include any food that is necessary for the meats we produce.
- NOVA has an online activity called This will give the students a chance to try to match flowers with their specific pollinator.
- The website "What is a Bee?" will allow students to learn about bees and the hive in detail, as well as pollination.
- Have the students conduct a virtual flower dissection.
Suggested Technology: Computer for Presenter, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Speakers/Headphones
For teachers who would like more support in understanding and implementing Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects into their science curriculum, please see the teacher tutorial featured in the section of this lesson's CPALMS resource page labeled "Attached Resources." Additional Literacy in STEM resources dealing with bees and the threat of extinction have also been attached.
The text's grade band recommendation reflects the shifts inherent in the Florida Standards and is based on a text complexity analysis of a quantitative measure, qualitative rubric, and reader and task considerations.
Source and Access Information
Name of Author/Source: Jennifer Heflick, Jennifer Storer
District/Organization of Contributor(s): BrevardDistrict/Organization of Contributor(s): Brevard, Brevard
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.