# Colony Collapse Disorder and an Analysis of Honey Bee Colony Numbers - High School Sample Classroom Task

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1 Colony Collapse Disorder and an Analysis of Honey Bee Colony Numbers - High School Sample Classroom Task Introduction Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) refers to the drastic loss of honey bees and honey bee colonies, such as what has been observed around the world in recent decades. Because many of the causes that are thought to be associated with CCD do not represent changes within a stable population, the changes in honey bee populations over time can be used to investigate factors affecting the bee populations during periods of stability as well as instability (including the potential causes of CCD). In this task, students use data from domestic honey bee populations as a model within which to study the dynamics of CCD. Students mathematically model changes in the bee colony numbers from the United States and from two individual states, California and South Dakota. Students then use their constructed mathematical models to describe factors affecting the bee colony populations. The students choose function(s) that best fit the data, both the whole dataset and a subdivided data set. Based on trends identified by the models, students also consider how changes in bee colony numbers might affect the overall stability and biodiversity of ecosystems in which the honey bees participate. Finally, students evaluate a proposed solution for CCD using a set of criteria and constraints. This task was inspired by the 2010 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Emerging Issues report Global Honey Bee Colony Disorders and Other Threats to Insect Pollinators. Available at: ( Standards Bundle Version 2-published January 2015 Page 1 of 20

8 which the solution is being used - If it involves technology, it is an accessible solution for beekeepers with a range of technological knowledge and capabilities Based on your evaluation, do you feel that the solution is a viable solution for CCD given the constraints? Describe your reasoning. Version 2-published January 2015 Page 8 of 20

11 Evidence Statements: Task Component A Students identify the mathematical function family that best fits the entire dataset, and write an equation to represent the data that fits within that function family. Students describe the data in terms of the equation they produced (e.g., decreasing linearly with a slope of...), and predict future changes in bee colony numbers that reflect the numbers identified by extending the equation line beyond year I. Students make a statement about how well the function represents the data set. I. Students describe any of the following as evidence: o places where the pattern of the equation matches the pattern of the data (e.g., both increasing linearly) o places where the pattern of the equation does not match the pattern of the data o places where the data are located far from the equation line (a poor fit) o places where the data are located near or along the equation line (a good fit) I. Students connect the evidence to their statement of how well the function represents the dataset, explicitly describing some of the following reasoning: o Because the pattern does not match all or part of the data, the equation does not represent the dataset well. o Because the data points are located far from the equation line in part of or all of the plot, the equation does not represent the dataset well. o Because the pattern matches all or a large portion of the data, the equation represents the dataset well. o Because the data points are located near or along the equation line in parts or all of the plot, the equation represents the dataset well. Task Component B Students identify the mathematical function families that best fit the subdivided dataset, and write equations that fit within those function families to represent each subset of the data. Students describe the data following the equation they produced for the part of the dataset that includes 2013, and they predict future changes in bee colony numbers that reflect the numbers identified by the extension of that equation line beyond year I. Students describe how the number of colonies changed over time was different when different parts of the dataset could be modeled using different functions (the degree of difference will depend on the student's choice of functions and equations). I. Students include one of the following ideas in their description of the changes: o The prediction for the future was similar or the same (e.g., both decreasing). o The prediction for the future was different (e.g., one continuing to decrease and the other leveling off to relatively unchanging numbers). I. Students identify and describe evidence from the scatterplots. Examples include the following: o Where the dataset is modeled with two different equations, the mathematical relationship describing the change in bee colonies is different. Version 2-published January 2015 Page 11 of 20

12 o When modeled with two equations, there is better fit between the equations and the data. o Part of the datasets are described by the same type of function, but the equations are not exactly the same. I. Students describe their reasoning about how changes to the functions describing the dataset are related to the following: o A change in the interpretation of the how the bee colonies changed over time. o How the prediction for the future stayed nearly the same or different. o How a section of the dataset may be better modeled if the dataset is subdivided, even if the prediction for the future is not that different (e.g., better fit in earlier decades). Task Component C Students identify the mathematical function family/families that best fit(s) each state dataset, and write equations that fit within those function families to represent the datasets I. In their comparison, students include a statement that the California dataset (plots, functions, and/or equations) is similar to the U.S. dataset, while the South Dakota dataset is different. I. Students identify and describe, as evidence, a comparison of observations between the U.S. dataset and each of the state datasets. Examples include the following: o Both the U.S. and California datasets show a decreasing trend (linear, etc.) in more recent years. o While the U.S. dataset shows a decreasing trend in the more recent years, the South Dakota dataset shows an increasing trend. I. Students explicitly describe their reasoning that the usefulness of the state scale for understanding, predicting or testing changes to the bee populations at the United States scale is dependent on how similar the changes in bee populations are between the state scale and the United States scale, and how similar the variation in the data sets are. Examples include the following: o Because the California dataset is most similar to the U.S. dataset, the factors affecting the population are probably similar, so it may be used as a smaller scale model of the U.S. ecosystem to make predictions of the future of bee populations or to test solutions for CCD. o Because the South Dakota dataset is different from the U.S. dataset, the factors affecting the population are probably different, so it should not be used as a smaller scale model of the U.S. ecosystem to make predictions of the future of bee populations or to test solutions for CCD. I. In their reasoning, students include that although smaller-scale studies might be done in a single state, the variation in the U.S. data has contributions from a number of states, so factors that affect the data trends in multiple states are important contributors. Students reason that comparisons of the state-level data sets, and determining the factors contributing to CCD at those levels, may help parse the relative contributions of those factors to CCD at the U.S. scale. Version 2-published January 2015 Page 12 of 20

13 Task Component D Students identify time spans between 1939 and 2013 that represent fluctuations of a stable population (e.g., ) and fluctuations of an unstable population (e.g., ). Students connect the identified years of stable and unstable population changes to the features of the plot, function(s), and/or equations. Students include reasoning for why the cited features on the graph represent stable/unstable changes in the population. For example: o The linear function that describes the change in population between 1945 and 1965 has a small, relatively flat slope, which indicates that there was little change in the population over that time period, so it was most likely stable. o The liner function that describes the change in population between 1965 and 2013 has a decreasing slope; in this time period, human populations were increasing, but the bee populations were decreasing in what was probably an unstable change. Students identify factors (predation, competition for food, competition for living space, disease, etc.) that limited the bee population during times of population stability, defining its carrying capacity. Students identify factors that are causing unstable changes during the times of instability. Students describe their reasoning behind the choices for why a specific factor was chosen to be the cause of stable population changes versus unstable population changes. For example: o Predation and disease are causes of unstable population changes if the predation is from a new predator or a new disease is introduced. o Competition for food and living space are causes of stable population changes because the number of bees would only be as high as is possible given the food and hive space that there is available. Students identify a time period(s) during which the factors affecting the bee populations changed, and cite the changes in the functions that model the dataset as evidence for the choice of dates. Task Component E Students obtain information from at least two sources, and evaluate both the information and sources for credibility. In the revision, students identify and describe a connection between one of the suspected causes of CCD and the causes of the unstable population change from the original explanation. Students describe why a specific factor was chosen to be a cause of a stable or unstable population change, including reasoning associated with the addition of suspected causes of CCD. Students describe the possible relationship between the timing of suspected causes and the modeled functions and/or the interpretation of which parts of the dataset represent stable and unstable changes, including describing a specific relationship between the introduction of a suspected cause of CCD in the bee ecosystem and the cited timing of the change in bee populations from stable to unstable (e.g., the introduction of the Varroa mite in the 1980s or the growing use of neonicotinoid pesticides in the 1990s). Version 2-published January 2015 Page 13 of 20

14 Task Component F Students update or revise their comparison to include a comparison of the timing of the transition from stable to unstable population change between United States and state datasets, including whether the timing of specific causes of CCD can also be linked to the state datasets. In their revised comparison, students include the reasoning that: o Decreasing colony numbers in California are more likely to reflect the effects of CCD (similar to the U.S. population), so the state could be used as a smaller scale representative of the U.S. population, although the California data does not look exactly like the US population data. o Increasing colony numbers in South Dakota are more likely to show that CCD may not be affecting those colonies, so the state would not be a good smaller scale representative of the U.S. population. Task Component G Students make the claim that the decreasing trend in bee colony numbers may lead to a corresponding decrease in the stability and biodiversity of the ecosystems in which they participate. Students identify the boundaries and scale of the human and non-human ecosystems discussed as examples. Students identify evidence that shows or connects decreasing bee numbers with a corresponding decrease or loss of species in another ecosystem (dominantly non-human) in which they participate (e.g., one result of fewer bees would be decreased pollination, which may lead to fewer plant seeds and an overall decrease or loss in the plant populations). Students identify evidence that shows or connects decreasing bee numbers with a corresponding change in the amount, types, or cost of fruit/produce within a dominantly human ecosystem (e.g., fewer bee colonies are available for rent, so the cost of bee hive rental increases and the cost of fruit goes up). Students evaluate the evidence for relevance and sufficiency to support the claim, and identify any weaknesses in the evidence. Students use the evidence and their evaluation to describe reasoning that because species numbers decrease or are lost, the biodiversity may decrease and the ecosystem in which the bees participate may become unstable. Task Component H Students construct a list of suggested solutions for CCD, and identify one solution as the solution to be evaluated. Students evaluate the identified solution, including a description of how the solution works to decrease the effects of CCD. In their evaluation of the solution, students identify how well the solution meets each of the listed criteria and constraints and describe logical reasoning for why the solution meets those criteria and constraints. In their evaluation of the solution, students identify trade-offs between competing criteria and constraints, and describe reasoning for why one criterion or constraint is met over another. Version 2-published January 2015 Page 14 of 20

15 Students cite and describe externally sourced data or scientific knowledge as evidence in support for why a criterion or constraint is or is not met. Students provide a single final statement on the viability of the solution for CCD given all of the criteria and constraints and any reasoning or examples. Version 2-published January 2015 Page 15 of 20

16 Attachment 1. Number of Honey Bee Colonies in the United States, California, South Dakota Reported from Producers with Greater than Five Colonies ( ) Number of Bee Colonies (in thousands) Number of Bee Colonies (in thousands) Year California South Dakota United States Year California South Dakota United States (continued) Data are compiled from the United States Department of Agriculture National Agriculture Statistics Service s Honey Production (1940 s-1980 s) and Honey (1970 s-2010 s) reports: Version 2-published January 2015 Page 16 of 20

17 Attachment 2. Human Population for the United States, California, and South Dakota ( ) Human Population (in thousands) South United Year California Dakota States Human Population (in thousands) US Historical Population Data was compiled from: Year California South Dakota (continued) United States Version 2-published January 2015 Page 17 of 20

18 Attachment 3. Human Population Graphs: United States, California, and South Dakota ( ) Version 2-published January 2015 Page 18 of 20

19 Sample Answer Plots Number of Honey Bee Colonies Graphs: United States, California and South Dakota ( ) Version 2-published January 2015 Page 19 of 20

20 Version 2-published January 2015 Page 20 of 20

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