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What the Bees Need:

Pollinator Nesting Phenology

Summary:  This lesson brings real native pollinator data into your classroom! Students will improve their graphing and quantitative skills by exploring citizen science-generated data from the University of Colorado’s Bees’ Needs program. The lesson explores the phenology, or timing, of native pollinator nesting behavior and the environmental factors that trigger this behavior. It also incorporates the concepts of variation in populations and natural selection, as well as the effect climate change is having on species-environment relationships.

Learning Goals:  After completing this lesson, students will be able to:


  • Develop hypotheses that are appropriate to a scientific question

  • Graph and summarize data in Google Spreadsheets (or MS Excel)

  • Explain the meaning of patterns seen in a graph

  • Describe why species phenology is variable across species, based in the concept of limiting factors

  • Predict the potential impacts of climate change on pollinator nest behavior




* Lesson plans are available in .doc format for easy customization. This lesson includes 4 sections for easy download. Please contact us with any questions or problems.



Next Generation Science Standards Addressed:

Middle School:

  • MS-LS4-6. Natural selection.

  • LS4.C: Adaptation.

  • Crosscutting Concepts: Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data.

    High School:

  • HS-LS2-2. Factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems.

  • HS-LS3-3. Variation and distribution of expressed traits in a population.

  • HS-LS4-2. Evolution.

  • HS-LS4-3. Advantageous heritable traits.

  • HS-LS4-4. Natural selection.

  • LS4.C: Adaptation

  • HS-LS4-5. Changes in environmental conditions can lead to: increase in species, new species, extinction.

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