Lesson 2.5

Honey Bees and Cultural Attitudes

Grades: 4-6

Essential Skills: Literature, Language Arts, Social Studies

Duration: 1 Class Period


Students explore how honey bees are portrayed in art and literature.


Teacher Preparation:

Other Materials:

  1. 3x5 cards for recipes (optional)

Information Sheets:

Activity Sheets:

Lesson Plan

Introduction Reading poems and literature (30 minutes)

Have the students find and read aloud literature and poems about bees. Use the poems contained in Information Sheets 13 and 14 as examples. Discuss the author's intent.

Read the Bee Riddles ( Activity Sheet 30) to the students and let them guess the answers.

Have the students gather cartoons and popular articles about bees and then discuss how accurately bees are portrayed

Activity 2 Honey as food for humans (30 minutes)

Explain that humans have long used honey for food and as a sweetener. Have students gather stories about honey bees and recipes using honey from their relatives and family friends and /or the library (Some recipes are listed in Information Sheet 24). Group recipes together to create a small book, decorate with honey bee artwork, and photocopy for distribution.

For a special treat, make some of the recipes, for example the Fruit Combo Floats from Information Sheet 24, to share with the class.

Activity 3 Insects as human food (30 minutes)

Have the students research the use of insects and insect products for food. For example, ants are sold as snacks in South American countries. Red dye derived from scale insects is used in cosmetics and drinks. Have them check the label on pink-colored fruit drinks for "cochineal dye" or "cochineal extract." Have your students explore the internet for insect recipes. Check Iowa State University's Tasty Insect Recipes at http://www.ent.iastate.edu/Misc /InsectsasFood.html or University of Kentucky's Youthfacts at http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/Entomology/ythfacts/entyouth.htm BugFood I and BugFood II.

I eat my peas with honey
I've done it all my life
It makes the peas taste funny
But it keeps them on my knife.




Juvenile Literature:

Buzz, Buzz, Buzz, by B. Barton. Published by Macmillan Publ. Co., N.Y., 1973.

The Honey Bee and the Robber Fly: A Moving Picture Book, by E. Carle. Published by Putnam Publishing Group, N.Y., 1981.

Best-loved Folktales of the World, by J. Cole. Published by Anchor Books, Doubleday, N.Y., 1982. Particularly pages 140-141.

An Aesop's Fable: The Selfish Bees, by A. In Gatti. Aesop's Fables published by Gulliver Books, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, N.Y., 1992.

Winnie-the-Pooh, by A. Milne. Published by E. P. Dutton & Co., N.Y., 1954.

Poems of Emily Dickinson. Published by T.Y. Crowell Co., N.Y., 1964.

The Honey Hunters, by F. Martin. Published by Candlewick Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1992.

The Bee Tree, by P. Polacco. Published by Philomel Books, N.Y., 1993.

Honey References:

Honey: A Comprehensive Survey, by E. Crane. Published by William Heinemann Ltd. and International Bee Research Association, London, 1975.

The Honey Book, by L.R. Penner. Published by Hastings House, N.Y., 1980.

Honey, From Hive to Honeypot, by Sue Style. Illustrated by Graham Everden. Published by Chronicle Books, San Francisco, C.A., 1992.

Insects as Food References:

Food Insects Newsletter, edited by Gene DeFoliart.

Kosher Insects, by Murray B. Isman and Martin S. Cohen. In The American Entomologist, Summer 1995, pp. 100-102.

Catching and Eating Dragonflies in Bali and Elsewhere in Asia, by Robert W. Pemberton. In The American Entomologist, Summer 1995, pp. 97-99.