Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Describe the factors affecting the United States honey bee population.
- Explain the relationship the Varroa mite has with honey bees.
- Discuss the implications of the research findings on Kenyan honey bees.
- Cite specific and relevant textual evidence to support analysis of a text.
- Determine the meaning of selected academic and domain-specific words in a text.
- Construct a written response that clearly establishes the main point(s), contains relevant textual evidence to support the main point, utilizes transitions to maintain flow, effectively uses domain-specific vocabulary, and provides an appropriate conclusion or concluding statement.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
With regard to science content knowledge:
- Students should have general knowledge of the niche of the honey bee in an ecosystem. This link from the Missouri Botanical Garden provides some basic information about pollination if students need a review.
- Students should recognize the dependence other organisms have on pollination for food crops.
- Students should be aware of ecological relationships and should be able to specifically recognize the characteristics of parasitism. The following Khan Academy resource ("Ecological Interactions") does an excellent job explaining the different ecological relationships found in ecosystems.
- Students should understand the effect invasive species can have on organisms and ecosystems.
With regard to literacy skills:
- Students should have prior experience utilizing various vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text, including dictionary skills and use of context clues.
- Based on the 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 or concluding statement 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?
1. Why is the research described in the article "Protecting the Honey-Bearers" important for the honey bees found in the United States?
The honey bee is one of the most important pollinators for food crops in the United States. There are currently a variety of factors that are affecting the health of entire colonies, including poor nutrition, parasites, pathogens, and the use of pesticides. The specific research described in the article focused on the relationship between the African bees and the Varroa mite. The research showed that the African honey bees were able to survive and tolerate the presence of the mite, unlike other honey bee populations. This information is invaluable to scientists because it can lead to breeding programs and management programs for U.S. honey bee colonies that will hopefully improve the health of honey bees and enable them to thrive again.
2. What new information did scientists gather during their research with the Kenyan honey bees?
Not only did scientists discover the African bees could tolerate the parasitic mite, they also discovered there may be a correlation between elevation and nutrition. The higher the elevation of the bee, the higher the mite infestation. This finding might relate to the fact that there are less food sources at higher elevations for the bee. As a result, environmental factors could have a role in the natural resistance to mites. If this is the case, boosting the bees' nutrition might also give them an advantage against parasites and other diseases.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
1. Begin the lesson by showing the students a list ("97 Foods at Risk!") of food. Ask students to develop a list of what the different types of food have in common with each other. Have students share their answers. Responses might include the food can be grown on farms, they are fruits and vegetables, etc.
2. Explain to students that all of these food sources are available because of the honey bee. Discuss the importance of pollination and the presence of honey bees in the world.
3. Next, tell students the United States' honey bee population has been steadily declining over the last decade. Ask students what could cause the decrease in population. Students will likely say predators, insecticides, and some will have heard of Colony Collapse Disorder. Explain to them there are a variety of factors affecting the honey bees and one is the Varroa mite. Show a picture of the Varroa mite, and explain to them this is an invasive species in the United States (and other places around the world). It is considered the deadliest parasite to honey bees.
4. Show the following TED Talk video (Marla Spivak: "Why Bees are Disappearing") to students to provide background on the factors affecting the honey bee. It is approximately 15 minutes but provides so much context for the students it should really allow them to be ready to read the text in the next phase of the lesson.
5. Finally, tell students they will be reading an article about scientists who studied honey bees in Africa to see how they respond to the Varroa mite. The text discusses the initial findings of their research and presents questions that need to be further researched and explored regarding how this information can help the U.S. honey bee population.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
1. Pass out to students a copy of the text "Protecting the Honey-Bearers."
2. For discussion purposes, the teacher may want to have students number each paragraph of the article. If using an electronic copy of the article, students can use a PDF mark-up tool (several tools are available as free downloads).
3. Provide each student with a note-taking guide. Have students complete this guide during or after their first reading of the article. Students can work individually, in pairs, or with a small group. Make sure to provide print or online dictionaries for students to use for the vocabulary section. Teachers should provide support and guidance as students work.
- Note: Based on the needs and skills of the students, teachers can decrease the number of academic or domain-specific vocabulary students will define on the note-taking guide.
- For academic vocabulary, students will likely be able to use a variety of vocabulary strategies to define the meaning of the words. For domain-specific (in other words, subject-specific) vocabulary, students will typically need to draw on prior knowledge, use context clues, and/or use a dictionary to define the words.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for students understanding?):
1. 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.
2. Teachers can use this sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
3. For discussion on students' answers to the defined vocabulary words, teachers are encouraged to not only ask students to explain the meaning they determined for a word, but the strategy they used to arrive at that meaning. This will allow the teacher to provide alternative suggestions as to how the student could have arrived at the correct meaning of the word.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
Parasites do not generally plan on killing their host and often will live in or on the host for an extended period of time. The Varroa mites are ectoparasites found on the outside of the bee feeding on hemolymph, which can lead to a weakened immune system causing the honey bees to be vulnerable to other diseases.
It is not just the honey bee that pollinates crops. There are a variety of bees such as bumblebees, stingless bees, and solitary bees involved in pollination, as well as other animals like bats, birds, and flies.
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 can come in the form of the following:
1. 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.
2. Teachers can use the sample answer key at the end of the attached text-dependent questions document to assess students' work.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Please see the answer key for the text dependent questions.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
1. Before the students complete the writing assignment for the summative assessment, review the responses to the text-dependent questions completed earlier by the students. Make sure the misconceptions are corrected and the key points (as found in the sample answer key) are discussed.
2. 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. The teacher could show the sample response on an overhead or with an LCD projector and discuss some of the following:
- Work with students to examine how the writer chose to begin their written response. Often, students struggle with knowing their options in how to open a piece of writing, and thus, they often start by repeating the prompt back in the first sentence. Go over how this writer chose to lead into the paper's topic by briefly describing the change in the health of honey bees in the United States, and then gave brief information on the Varroa mite, and then briefly described how African bees are surviving despite the presence of Varroa. This sets up the written response to lead into the last sentence, which is the paper's main point, and it connects back to the writing task established in the prompt.
- Have students identify effective use of textual evidence from the article in paragraphs two and three that help support the paper's main point.
- Have students identify the effective use of domain-specific vocabulary (e.g., parasites, pathogens, pesticides, Varroa mite, hemolymph, physiological, genomes) and academic vocabulary (e.g., integral, mechanisms, susceptible).
3. To close out the lesson, the teacher may wish to lead a final class discussion about what students have learned by asking the following questions:
- How are humans contributing to the decline of the honey bee population?
- Why is it important to study organisms at the genetic level?
- Why is it so important that there are grants and funding for pollinator research?
1. 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 or concluding statement. They can refer back to the text as they construct their response.
2. 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.
3. Go over the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address.
The prompt: Using textual evidence, explain why understanding the relationship the African bees have with parasitic mites is important in regards to helping the U.S. honey bee population.
4. 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."