Lesson 3.5

Africanized Honey Bees and The Press

Grades: 7-8

Essential Skills: Language Arts, Science

Duration: 1 class period


Students investigate how honey bees and other insects are portrayed in the press.


Teacher Preparation:

Other Materials:

  1. Collect newspaper articles containing coverage about Africanized honey bees. See bibliography for examples from Arizona newspapers.

Information Sheets:

Lesson Plan

Introduction activity (30 minutes)

Distribute to the students the two articles in Information Sheet 16 about Africanized honey bees. Ask the students to read the articles and compare and contrast the tone of each article. Have the students create a list of the verbs used in each article, and then assess the emotional impact of each list. Which article was more enjoyable? Which article was more informative? Compare the information to that found in Information Sheets 17 and 19.

Discuss the media and how it can sensationalize Africanized honey bees. Discuss the propensity to use the term "killer bee" rather than Africanized honey bee in all forms of media. Have the students research the term "killer bee."

Activity 2 Writing a newspaper story (60 minutes)

Break students into four or more groups. Create a scenario in which a family and their pets are stung by Africanized honey bees or use one of the articles in the bibliography. Have one group of students act as the family. Without sharing with the rest of the groups, assign each "family member" a set of facts concerning which family member they represent, how many times he or she was stung, what he or she experienced, what he or she was doing prior to the stinging, what the consequences of the event were, etc.

Write the bare facts of the event on the board. Then ask each remaining group to act as reporters. Have them interview the family members, and prepare a newspaper report of the event. Tell the groups that they should not confer with other groups, only with the family members. Give them a relatively short deadline when they have to finish.

After the reports are completed, make copies and distribute to the students. Have the students read the reports and evaluate how similar or different the accounts of the same facts were. Discuss the results.



Words with special meanings:

(for understanding only, not to be tested)

  1. Swarm
  2. Beeline
  3. Sensationalism


Examples of additional newspaper articles:

'Killer bees' push deeper into California, The Arizona Republic, Thursday October 19, 1995.

Lessons for Arizona in Texas 'killer bee' attack , by Paul Allen. Tucson Citizen, August 25, 1994.

Africanized bees did kill elderly Apache Junction woman , by Paul L. Allen. Tucson Citizen, October 30, 1995.

Paradise Valley attacks threat of 'killer bees,' by J.W. Brown. The Arizona Republic, Wednesday October 18, 1995.

'Killer bees' alert: Attacks may rise sharply this month, by Jim Erickson. The Arizona Daily Star, Thursday June 2, 1994.

Bee attack kills Carefree man, 2nd in state, by Jim Erickson. The Arizona Daily Star. October 28, 1995.

Teen injured in northside bee attack leaves hospital , by Jim Erickson. The Arizona Daily Star, Tuesday January 9, 1996.

Golfer's stings show higher 'killer' bee activity, by Jim Erickson. The Arizona Daily Star, Tuesday January 16, 1996.

2 chased by bees; teen stung 150 times, by Michelle Roberts. Tucson Citzen, January 9, 1996.

Symington abuzz on bee safety here, by Dan Sorenson. Tucson Citizen, March 25, 1994.

'Killer' bees making presence felt­painfully, by Judi Villa. The Arizona Republic, Friday, July 8, 1994.

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