Become a Bee: Bee Anatomy

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1 1 Become a Bee Bee Anatomy by Louise I. Lynch Beckoning the Bees Lesson Series Target Audience Grades 1 st through 5 th Number of Class Periods to Complete Lesson 1 class period (60-90 minutes) to introduce topic, complete craft and carry out activity. Additional activities are provided and may require additional time. Overview Bees are a well-known group of insects, though mostly for the honey bee and bumble bee. Yet Earth is home to approximately 20,000 bee species. Our native bee species are fascinating creatures with unique life histories, behaviors, ecological roles, shapes, colors and sizes. Bees play an extremely important role in nature as its primary pollinators. Bees are one of our most valuable insects; their pollination activities contribute to many fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts produced in the United States, as well as flowers. Bees have physical traits characteristic of insect as well as structures that improve their ability to pollinate. This one-period lesson will discuss the unique anatomy of adult bees, their life cycle, physical appearance and biology and the importance of bees to pollination. Students will make their own bee costumes and learn the name and function of each structure. Additionally, students may be introduced to ways in which they can individually participate in and impact the conservation of native bee populations. Learning Objectives Each student will construct a bee costume and learn the name and function of each structure. As a result of carrying out this activity, students will develop: An understanding of insect anatomy An understanding of the anatomy of adult bees An understanding of the function of each structure on an adult bee An understanding of the role bees play in pollination An understanding of the bee life cycle Knowledge, skills and abilities required to work with a group National Science Education Standards Unifying Concepts and Processes Standards (Levels K-4, 5-8) Form and function Science as Inquiry Standards (Levels K-4, 5-8) Skills necessary to become independent inquirers about the natural world

2 2 Life Science Standards Characteristics of organisms (Levels K-4) Life cycles of organisms (Levels K-4) Organisms and environments (Levels K-4) Regulation and behavior (Levels 5-8) Structure and function in living systems (Levels 5-8) Diversity and adaptations of organisms (Levels 5-8) Vocabulary Abdomen: the posterior (hind) body segment of an insect Antenna: a sensory appendage of the head Anther: the male part of a flower where pollen is produced Compound eyes: the large eyes of a bee composed of many small facets called ommatidia Corbicula: a pollen basket located on the hind legs of a bee Defensive behavior: a behavior that helps protect an animal Egg: the first stage in the bee life cycle Exoskeleton: hard, outer covering of insects Glossa: the tongue of a bee Habitat: the natural home of a living organism Invertebrate: an animal that does not have a backbone Larva: the second, worm-like stage of the bee life cycle Metamorphosis: structural changes that occur through developmental stages. Complete metamorphosis has 4 stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Nectar: the sweet, sugary liquid in a flower s center that attracts pollinators Ocelli: simple eyes which are light-sensitive; bees have three such eyes Pheromone: a chemical that allows bees to communicate with one another Pollen: the powder seen in a flower s center that must be passed between flowers in order to produce seeds Pollen basket: the pollen collecting structure (stiff hairs) of bees Pollination: the transfer of pollen between plants Pollinator: an animal that passes pollen from male to female flower parts of the same flower or other flowers of the same species. Pupa: the third, non-feeding stage in the bee life cycle Social: refers to bees that live in a colony and share in the task of raising young Solitary: refers to bees in which a female build her own nest and raises her own young Spiracles: small, circular openings along the abdomen that allow the entrance and exit of air into the bee s body. Stigma: a female part of a flower that is sticky to capture pollen Stinger: a sharp, pointed appendage on the tip of a female bee s abdomen that is used defensively to inject venom Thorax: the middle body section of an insect where wings and legs are attached Wings: the flight appendages of bees; bees have a total of four wings Background Information on the Bee Classification. Bees belong to phylum Arthopoda because they are invertebrates with an exoskeleton, jointed legs and a segmented body. Bees belong to class Insecta

3 3 because they have 6 jointed legs, a 3-segmented body (head, thorax and abdomen), 2 compound eyes and 2 antennae. Bees belong to the same order as wasps and ants, order Hymenoptera. Kingdom Animalia Phylum Arthropoda Class Insecta Order Hymenoptera Bee Body Regions. The bee has three body regions: 1. Head: aids in sensing the environment and feeding. Has 2 large compound eyes, 3 small simple eyes called ocelli, 2 antennae and a mouth 2. Thorax: aids in movement. Has 6 legs, 4 wings and muscles for movement 3. Abdomen: aids in reproduction and defense. Has a stinger in female bees and reproductive organs. Bee Anatomy. Bees have many unique body parts each with a specific function. Antennae a. Bees have two antennae located on their head. b. Antennae are used for smelling and hearing. c. Important scents include pheromones, flowers, predators, smoke, etc. d. Bees communicate with one another using pheromones and rely on their antennae to receive these messages. e. Bees have two hearing organs that are membranes on their antennae (another set is on their legs). f. Bees do not have ears and do not hear airborne sounds like we do. However, they can hear vibrations made by nearby bees through the substrate they are on. Compound eyes a. Bees have 2 large compound eyes located on the front of the head. b. Each eye is made up of hundreds of small eye units called ommatidia (ommatidium, singular). c. The brain pieces together images made by the ommatidia. d. Bees cannot see the color red but see all other colors including ultraviolet (UV) rays. e. Bees use their compound eyes to locate flowers, their nest, other individuals of their species, etc. f. Many flowers have UV patterns on them that bees can see but we cannot! These patterns help guide the bees to the flowers nectar. Simple eyes a. Bees have 3 simple eyes, called ocelli. They are located on top of the head in between the compound eyes. b. These eyes do not see images like our eyes. They sense light and dark. Simple eyes may be used to sense when the sun is going down so that the bee can keep track of time. Glossa a. A bee s tongue is called a glossa and it is located in the mouth. It works much like a straw and is used to suck up nectar and nectar.

4 4 Mouth a. A bee s mouth, located on the head, contains mandibles, which are tooth-like appendages used to chew pollen, cut leaf pieces, mold wax into shapes, etc. Wings a. Bees have 4 wings, 2 small and 2 large, located on top of the thorax b. Wings are used for flight, an extremely important action for bees! c. Wings allow bees to travel, carry pollen back to the nest, search for flowers, cool their hive by fanning (if they have one!), etc. Legs a. Bees have 6 legs located on the thorax b. Bees taste with their feet. This helps them locate nectar. c. The legs are used to brush pollen off of the bees fur and pack it into their pollen baskets. d. Bees have a set of hearing organs on their legs (see description in Antennae above). Pollen Basket a. Bees have pollen collecting structures on their abdomen made of stiff hairs b. If the stiff hairs are located on the hind legs, they are called corbicula i. This is seen in bumble bees, sweat bees and honey bees c. If the stiff hairs are located on the underside of the abdomen, they are called a scopa i. This is seen in leafcutter bees Spiracles a. Along the length of the abdomen, bees have small, circular openings in their exoskeleton called spiracles. Spiracles let them breathe. b. Spiracles are the openings to a network of air-filled tubes that allow bees to take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Stinger a. Only female bees have stingers, located on the tip of their abdomen b. Bees sting defensively. They will willingly sting only if provoked or harmed c. Female honey bees have barbed stingers. Their stinger gets pulled out after stinging causing death. d. Other bees, like the bumble bee, have a smooth stinger and can sting more than once. Fur a. Bees are often covered with furry hairs that may have an electrostatic charge. This lets pollen stick to them. Pollen that has not been packed into pollen baskets can be dropped off at other flowers. Bee life cycle. Bees exhibit complete metamorphosis. They begin their life cycle as a tiny white egg. This hatches into a white, worm-like larva. After feeding, the larva develops into a pupa within a cocoon. Finally a winged adult emerges. In social bees, eggs are laid by one female and cared for by her workers. In solitary bees, each female makes her own nest and raises her own young.

5 5 Pollination and pollen/nectar collection. Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma. Many flowers require pollen to be transferred from one flower to another. Pollination is how most of Earth s plants reproduce and make seeds. Bees are great pollinators because they are furry! The hairs covering their body may have an electrostatic charge that attracts pollen and lets it stick to their body. Many bees also tend to collect from the same species of flower, ensuring pollen is passed between the right flower species. Pollen may be stored in a pollen basket on the hind legs in a small orange, white or yellow ball, or it may be stored on stiff hairs covering the underside of the bee s abdomen. Bees are vegetarians, feeding on nectar (carbohydrates) and pollen (protein). We depend on bees to make much of our food. One third of what we eat comes from this pollination! T-Chart The T-Chart is a simple pre-assessment method to determine what information students already know about bees, whether it is factual or biased. This method asks two questions to the class and encourages group discussion. On a black board or white board, draw two columns one for each of the following questions: Column 1 Column 2 What do you know What questions do you about a bee s body? have about their anatomy? Another suggestion is to use more general questions: Column 1: What do you know about bees? Column 2: What questions do you have about bees? If any incorrect ideas are presented while answering What do you know about bees? write them down anyway and revisit them at a later time. Let students go back over the Column 1 list and determine if the facts are correct. KWL Strategy What I Know, what I Want to lean and what I did Learn The KWL strategy is a great way of getting students oriented to the lesson, forming individual goals within the group and recapping the lesson. The K component questions serve the purpose of brainstorming. Have the students brainstorm as a group (or individually followed by sharing) to drum up what they already know about bees and their anatomy. The W component questions give each student a chance to come up with questions they want to find the answer to and to concentrate on something they themselves are curious about. Students can write these questions down and find the answers before, during or after the actual activity. The L component questions help the students synthesize the lesson and the information covered. Questions may be asked in writing or discussed as a group.

6 6 It may be helpful to use a chalkboard or white board to make 3 columns for each step as shown below. This will encourage students to brainstorm about the K and W components and then help gather, organize and share what students learned as a group visually for the L component. Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 What we Know What we Want What we did already about to learn about Learn about bees bees bees K Component Questions: What comes to mind when you think of bees? What is a bee? o Insect, head-thorax-abdomen, 6 legs, 4 wings, pollinator, etc. Why are bees important? o Pollination, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and flowers Where do bees live? o In many places: in the ground, in old wood, in tree cavities, etc. What different kinds of bees can you think of? o Honey bee, bumblebee and carpenter bee are most commonly known. Mention that other types of bees will be introduced. What do bees eat? o Nectar and pollen Why do flowers need bees? o To help produce seeds through pollination What attracts bees to flowers? o Their color, scent, nectar and patterns on petals Can all bees sting? o No, only female bees can sting What happens to a bee after it stings? o Some bees, like the bumblebee, can sting many times because they have a smooth stinger o Honey bees have a barbed stinger, which is lost after stinging. This causes death. What are the stages of metamorphosis in bees? o Egg, larva, pupa, adult How would the disappearance of bees affect us? o No pollination, honey, wax, etc. This would mean fewer flowers, fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts! W Component Questions: What body parts are associated with a bee s head, thorax and abdomen What structure is associated with each sense (taste, touch, smell, sight, hearing) in a bee? How is a bee s body adapted for pollination?

7 7 L Component Questions: What are some different parts of a bee? o Head, thorax, abdomen, antennae, eyes, mouth, wings, legs, stinger, pollen basket, etc. What are the three body regions of an adult bee and what functions do they serve? o Head: eating, hearing, sight o Thorax: flight, walking, hearing o Abdomen: reproduction, defense What is the life cycle of a bee (the four stages of metamorphosis)? o Egg, larva, pupa, adult. How many different kinds of bees are there on Earth? o Approximately 20,000 What behaviors and structures make bees good pollinators? o Their bodies are furry and have an electrostatic charge, which attracts pollen o Bees often collect pollen and nectar from the same flower species. This ensures that pollen gets dropped off at the right flower, permitting fertilization and see production. Materials Needed 28 x22 poster board (available at dollar store) Shower curtain (available at dollar store) Pipe cleaners (available at dollar store) Several sheets of paper hole re-enforcers (stickers, available at dollar store) Plastic drinking straws (available at dollar store) Rubber bands (optional) Bobby pins (optional) Ruler Hole puncher Scissors Tape (recommended) or glue sticks Flashcards (optional) Note: all materials can be acquired at a dollar store for affordable prices. Bee Costume Preparation The Be a Bee! Costume has been designed to be as affordable as possible while still providing a durable lesson prop. Each student should get his or her own costume materials. The amount of prep work done by students is left to the discretion of the educator. 1. Trace and cut out 2 x22 strips from a 28 x22 piece of poster board. These will be head bands.

8 Become a Bee: Bee Anatomy 8 2. Trace and cut out ¼ x 4 strips from remaining cardboard. Trim tips to pointed shape to resemble antennae. 3. Trace and cut out large and small wings on a shower curtain. 4. Punch holes in narrowest part of wing so pipe cleaners can fit through. Making the Bee Costume 1. Each student should receive the following components: Head band strip (1) Antennae (2) Wings (2 large, 2 small)

9 Become a Bee: Bee Anatomy 9 Page hole re-enforcers (3) Straw (1) Pipe cleaners (4) Plastic combs (2, or 1 cut in half), optional 2. Tape (or glue) 2 antennae to inside of head band. 3. Choose 3 paper hole re-enforcers and place them on the front of the headband. These are the ocelli, or simple eyes. 4. Wrap and fit the head band around your head and tape it closed. 5. Hook the ends of 2 pipe cleaners to make one large pipe cleaner. 6. Put four wings (2 large, 2 small) on this large pipe cleaner using the holes previously punched into them. 7. Fold back the tips of the large pipe cleaners. This creates a little latch so the wings can be worn hooked around the neck yet easily removed. Do not twist long pipe cleaner around neck. It should be worn loosely. 8. With wings on, attach 2 additional pipe cleaners, separately to the area near the collarbone. These are 2 legs, giving you a total of 6 legs. 9. Place the straw in your mouth. This is your glossa.

10 (Optional) Provide each student with 2 large rubber bands and 6+ bobby pins. Slip 3 bobby pins on each rubber band and slip one rubber band onto each leg or ankle. This serves as their corbicula (pollen baskets). 11. Be a bee! The Sweat Bee Says This activity will reinforce the location of different anatomical parts and follows the same rules as the classic game, Simon Says. 1. Have students dress up in their Be a Bee! Costume and stand up. 2. Designate yourself, or a student, as the Sweat Bee in charge. 3. When the Sweat Bee calls out different bee body parts using the phrase Sweat Bee says touch your (antennae, glossa, wing, etc.), all other students should use their hands to touch that particular body part. 4. If the Sweat Bee calls out a body part but uses the phrase Touch your (antennae, glossa, wing, etc.), then no student should touch that body part. Any that do are out and can sit down. 5. The Sweat Bee should go through commands as quickly as possible to encourage quick thinking and a challenging time line! From Your Head to Your Abdomen This activity will review the location of different anatomical parts on the head, thorax and abdomen and reinforce the 3-segmented body of the bee body. It is sure to get some giggles and encourage quick thinking. 1. Have students dress up in their Be a Bee! Costume. 2. Students should move their desk chairs so they are easily able to sit down. 3. You will call out body parts: From you head to your abdomen, your (body part) is on your 1, 2, 3! 4. Students have to quickly decide if the body part is on the head, thorax or abdomen of a bees body and respond accordingly: a. If the body part is on the head, they should stand up. b. If the body part is on the abdomen, they should sit. c. If the body part is on the abdomen, they should squat. 5. By the time you say 3 students have to respond. At this time you can say head, thorax, or abdomen. 6. Use the glossary to help pick terms and repeat them every once in a while. Column A and Column Bee This group activity will encourage students to compare their own senses and actions to those of a bee using the information they learned in the lesson. This activity requires at least one set of 16 flashcards (or pieces of paper cut up). 1. Write out flashcards with the terms/phrases listed in columns A and Bee below. Only one term/phrase should be on each card. Indicate which column (and thus organism) the structure comes from by writing A or Bee above the term. Some comparisons are more difficult than others thus the educator should decide which to use. A Bee Nose Antennae

11 11 2. Have students work together as a class or split them into smaller groups (recommended). 3. Give each group a complete, shuffled set of cards. Have them match the A cards with the appropriate Bee cards. For example, the Nose card from Column A should be grouped with the Antennae card from Column Bee. Column A Nose Ears Tongue Eyes Legs Teeth Throat & lungs Skeleton Column Bee Antennae Legs and antennae Feet Compound & simple eyes Wings Mandibles Spiracles Exoskeleton The Bee Countdown This activity will quickly review the parts of anatomy introduced in the lesson as well as the anatomical characteristics that are bee and insect specific. 1. On the classroom white board or chalkboard, write the numbers 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1, one below the other in descending order. 2. Ask students to copy this on a piece of paper. 3. Have students write down the bee structures that bees have in the appropriate number. Examples and answers are written below. 4. After giving students time, have them share their answers. Review the function of each body part as it is called out. 6: legs, feet 5: eyes (2 compound, 3 simple) 4: wings (2 large, 2 small) 3: body regions (head, thorax, abdomen), simple eyes, pairs of legs 2: compound eyes, antennae, mandibles 1: glossa, stinger Student Assessment Techniques Additional assessments are provided below that are designed to meet the National Science Standards Assessment Standards. It is left to the instructors discretion which of these techniques to use and how to weigh them as part of a total assessment. Standard Assessment Techniques The following questions may be used on a quiz or exam to assess student learning of material in a standardized fashion. These questions target key ideas about bee anatomy. An answer key is provided.

12 12 Name: 1. Can you add eyes, antennae, wings and legs to the bee below? 2. Bees are very different and diverse, yet they share many similarities. Can you circle those things that all bees have in common? 6 legs Bright green color Eat pollen Pollinators 2 antennae Make honey 3. Can you match the human body part with the bee body part that works the same way? Draw a line to connect matching parts. Human Bee Nose Eyes Tongue Ears Skeleton Feet Exoskeleton Antennae Compound eyes Membranes on antennae & legs

13 13 Answer Key to Quiz 1. Use description and image in Background Information above. You may need to remind students that bees have 5 eyes, 2 antennae, 4 wings and 6 legs. 2. Similarities: 6 legs, eat pollen, pollinators, 2 antennae 3. Nose & antennae, eyes & compound eyes, tongue & feet, ears & membranes on antennae & legs, skeleton and exoskeleton Essay Essay topics can vary. This method will help assess student interest in the topic, their listening and recollection skills. It will also help them relate bees to themselves. Examples are listed below. What body structures are unique to bees? What structures are unique to you? What function does each structure serve? What were the three most interesting things you learned about bees? Explain. What senses and abilities would you gain and/or lose if you really became a bee? Would you like or dislike these senses and abilities? Explain. KWL Strategy Utilize the L-step questions listed above to prompt a discussion with your students and determine what they recall following the lesson. Be sure to wait silently for several seconds after each question is posed. This will encourage students to respond. Allowing students time to answer will make students more comfortable and confident in answering and will encourage a variety of responses and discussion in general. References Alford, D. V The Life of the Bumblebee. Northern Bee Books: Hebden Bridge, United Kingdom. Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education National Science Education Standards. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Gould, J. L. and Gould, C. G The Honey Bee. New York: Scientific American Library. Hassard, Jack Science as Inquiry: Active Learning, Project-Based, Web-Assisted, and Active Assessment Strategies to Enhance Student Learning. New Jersey: Good Year Books. Mader, E., Shepherd, M., Vaughan, M., Black, S. H., and LeBuhn, G Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America s Bees and Butterflies. Massachusetts: Storey Publishing. Tautz, Jurgen The Buzz about Bees: Biology of a Superorganism. Springer: Berlin, Germany.

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