ALEX Learning Activity


A Hotel for Bees

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Ginger Boyd
System:Geneva County
School:Samson Middle School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 1970
A Hotel for Bees
Digital Tool/Resource:
Introducing the Red Mason Bee
Web Address – URL:

In this activity, students will watch a video to introduce them to the Red Mason Bee.  During the video, they will gather evidence about the lifestyle, life cycle, growth, and reproduction of the Red Mason Bee. Students will then create a bee hotel to encourage Red Mason Bees to pollinate in their area.

This activity was created as a result of the Arts COS Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 4
9 ) Examine evidence to support an argument that the internal and external structures of plants (e.g., thorns, leaves, stems, roots, colored petals, xylem, phloem) and animals (e.g., heart, stomach, lung, brain, skin) function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
L4.4: When the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce; others die or move to new locations.

Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Engage in Argument from Evidence
Crosscutting Concepts: Systems and System Models; Structure and Function
Disciplinary Core Idea: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Argue from evidence to support that the internal and external structures of plants function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
  • Argue from evidence to support that the internal and external structures of animals function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • argue
  • articulate
  • evidence
  • internal
  • external
  • structure
  • survival
  • function
  • behavior
  • reproduction
Students know:
  • Internal and External structures serve specific functions within plants and animals.
  • The functions of internal and external structures can support survival, growth, behavior and/or reproduction in plants and animals.
  • Different structures work together as part of a system to support survival, growth, behavior, and/or reproduction.
Students are able to:
  • Articulate an explanation from evidence explaining how the internal and external structures of plants and animals function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
  • Determine the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence collected, including whether or not it supports a claim about the role of internal and external structures of plants and animals in supporting survival, growth, behavior, and/or reproduction.
  • Use reasoning to connect the relevant and appropriate evidence to support an argument about the function of the internal and external structures of plants and animals.
Students understand that:
  • Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Animal Studies

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.4.9- Identify basic parts of plants and animals.

Arts Education
ARTS (2017)
Grade: 4
Visual Arts
2) Collaboratively design and create artwork that has meaning and purpose.

Examples: Create a logo for a school or activity.

Unpacked Content
Artistic Process: Creating
Anchor Standards:
Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
Process Components: Investigate, Plan, Make
Essential Questions:
EU: Artists and designers shape artistic investigations, following or breaking with traditions in pursuit of creative artmaking goals.
EQ: How does knowing the contexts, histories, and traditions of art forms help create works of art and design? Why do artists follow or break from established traditions? How do artists determine what resources and criteria are needed to formulate artistic investigations?
Concepts & Vocabulary:
  • Constructed environment
  • Cultural traditions
  • Digital format
  • Engagement
  • Tertiary color
  • Preservation
  • Proportion
  • Principles of design
    • Unity
  • Shade
  • Style
  • Tints & shades
Skill Examples:
  • Create a list of multiple ideas, sketches, or thumbnail-sketches before beginning the final version of an artwork.
  • Identify, select, and vary art materials, tools and processes to achieve desired results in their artwork.
  • Brainstorm (alone or with others) potential art styles for a given piece of art, such as Monet's Water Lilies.
  • Create an artwork from direct observation (still-life, self-portrait, figure drawing, etc.).
  • Design a two-dimensional drawings of a futuristic art room, town, or planet
  • Use wood, found objects, wire, paper, or clay-based materials to construct a three-dimensional form.
  • Locate business logos in the community and explore the visual arts skills and materials that were used to create these works.
  • Engage in group critiques of one's work and the work of others.
  • Experiment with art materials by using them in unusual and creative ways to express ideas and convey meaning.
  • Use and care for materials, tools, and equipment in a manner that prevents danger to oneself and others.
  • Mix equal parts of a primary and a secondary color located beside each other on the color wheel to create a tertiary color.
  • Use the design principles of repetition and alignment to add visual unity to an artwork.
  • Create a painting using a monochromatic color scheme by using one color (red) adding white to create a tint (a lighter value--pink) and adding black to the color (red) to create a shade (darker value).
Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to describe features of survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction of the Red Mason Bee.

Students will design and create a bee hotel to encourage Mason Bees to pollinate in their area.

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  

Show students the video about Red Mason Bees using the digital tool. During the video, ask students to listen and write down any facts (evidence) about Red Mason Bees such as lifestyle habits (are they solitary bees or social?), growth, reproduction, life-cycle, etc.  After watching the video, lead a discussion about any facts they gathered. Would Red Mason Bees be beneficial to a farmer or gardener? Why? (one Mason Bee can do the pollinating work of 100 honey bees, not aggressive bees, won't sting, solitary workers, easy to observe). Tell the students they will be making their own bee hotels to encourage Mason Bees to pollinate in their area.  Distribute the materials.


  • paper 8 1/2" x 11" (several sheets per bee hotel, for the tubes)
  • liquid, non-toxic white glue 
  • wooden pencil (one per student)
  • a coffee can (one per bee hotel)
  • non-toxic clay 
  • paint
  • empty toilet paper rolls
  • string



First, paint your coffee can if you would like and set aside to dry.

Cut the paper in half so that you have two sheets, measuring 5 1/2" x 8 1/2". Place your paper flat on the table and place a pencil just below the paper's midline. Apply a thin layer of glue along the top edge of your paper. Fold the bottom of your paper over the pencil, keeping the sides of the paper even and using your fingers to tightly wrap the paper. Hold your paper tightly as you roll towards the glue line. Once you reach the glue line, press it across to make a seal and wipe away any excess glue left on your tube or work surface. If the pencil is free of excess glue, your mason bee paper tube should slide right off with ease. Wipe off the pencil if it has any excess glue. Repeat this process until you have as many paper tubes as needed to fill the can.

After letting your tubes fully dry for one day, come back to the project and make a cookie out of the non-toxic clay.

Use the tube like you would use a cookie cutter, but leave the clay "cookie" in the end of the tube's hole. Once the clay dries, the plugged end will work as the tube's "back door" for the Mason Bee.  (If you don't plug the back, the bees will spend their time doing it before they start to build the pollen plug.)

Squirt glue inside the bottom of the coffee can and place the toilet paper rolls inside.  Then fill the spaces between and inside the toilet paper rolls with the paper tubes.  

Tie the string around the coffee can and hang it against a flat surface and located in an area protected from high winds.

Assessment Strategies:

Assess students on successful completion of their bee hotel.  Have students complete an exit ticket by giving one reason for encouraging Mason Bees in their area.

Advanced Preparation:

The teacher will need a projector and computer with internet access to play the video.  

Variation Tips (optional):

The tubes may also be made from paper straws that can be purchased rather than rolled.  Students can construct bee hotels in pairs, groups, or individually.

Notes or Recommendations (optional):
  Keywords and Search Tags  
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