Resources for Educators

Bringing the Pollinator Census to Your Classroom

The Census is a great S.T.E.A.M. activity that you can use in your classroom through a variety of approaches:


  • Science – introducing science topics including entomology, biology, ecology and botany through our lesson plans and resources below
  • Technology – uploading counts to the webpage, joining our Facebook group and sharing on social media
  • Engineering – creating bee homes and designing pollinator gardens
  • Art – drawing diagrams of pollinators and gardens, creating insect and flower origami, writing pollinator haiku
  • Math – counting down the days to the census beforehand, counting insects with our counting forms the day of, comparing counts with other students and creating graphs of insects seen

New for 2024:


The Pollinator Garden Design Guide by Katherine Melcher is a perfect companion for educators to involve students in planning, installing, and maintaining a school garden.  The book is full of activities and lessons related to the garden.  It is available as a downloadable pdf.

Pollinator Census Lesson Plans

Explore the links below for ideas on getting your students excited about insects and the census. Email Becky Griffin ( if you have any questions or need additional ideas or inspiration!

Introducing the Census and Pollinators

Use this Introducing Census and Pollinators PowerPoint presentation to teach youth (and adults!) about the importance of pollinators, how to identify them and participate in the count. To further prepare, check out the Insect Identification Guide (also available in Spanish via our Resource page) and the Counting Worksheet.

Scroll down for lessons on:

Insect Observation

Honey Bee Roles Activity

Honey Tasting Activity

Math Mania Activity

Language Arts Activity Sheets

Two high school students standing next to a row of flowers with clipboards.
Students at Maynard Jackson High School in Atlanta count insects as part of the census pilot project.

Insect Observation Activity

Have your students visit their school pollinator garden, watching the insects move around the flowers.  If you are comfortable, capture an insect in a jar or centrifuge tube for short observation.  Don’t leave the insect inside the jar or tube for too long. Use the following pollen sheets and insect identification worksheet.

Honey Bee Roles Activity

This activity introduces the roles that honey bees have within their hive. As bees age their duties within the hive change, just like how as children grow their household duties change. For example, at a young age children may be responsible for picking up their toys, but as they age their chores may change to taking out the trash or cleaning the kitchen. Download the Honey Bee Roles Activity.  
Honey Bee Roles Lesson Plan
Pictured are participants in this activity, where the group learns about honey bee chores as they dress as each role.

Honey Tasting Activity

This is a tasty way to educate your students about honey bees! Download the below resources, including a Honey Tasting PowerPoint presentation detailing how honey bees make honey, a Honey Tasting lesson plan that will fit any almost any grade level curriculum standards, and activity worksheets the Honey Connoisseur Color Guide and Honey Tasting Ranking.

Honey Tasting Lesson Plan
Honey Tasting Lesson Plan
Introduction to Honey Tasting (PowerPoint)
Honey Tasting PowerPoint Presentation
The Honey Connoisseur Color Guide
Honey Connoisseur Color Guide
Honey Tasting Worksheet
Honey Tasting Ranking

Math Mania Activity

With the data from the previous Censuses, the math lessons create themselves:

  • Basic Math Skills: Using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, students can practice basic math skills by answering questions like:
    • How many butterflies did you count? Honey bees? Compare those numbers.
    • If you removed the number of wasps you saw, how many pollinators would be left?
  • Graphing: With eight insect categories and thousands of participants in many counties, the data lends itself to graphing.
    • If you have saved the data from your school, have students compare their school’s data to their county’s data through graphing.
    • Have your students pull data from their home county and graph all three years.
    • Pick one insect category and graph the results for several counties across the state.
  • Critical Thinking Skills: Looking at additional data like weather conditions and flowers used for counting, think about how these elements may influence counts.
    • Choose a county and note the weather for each year of counting. Could weather influence the counts? How? Does the data show this?
    • Look at the flowers used for counting. Pick one and look at the counts for insects that visit the flower. Is there anything about the way the flower looks that might attract those particular insects.
  • Two-Way Frequency Tables: The large amount of Census data provides multiple ways students can create two-way frequency tables.
  • Statistics: The three years of Census data can be used for high school statistics lessons on topics like significance testing.

Activity Sheets

Below are some activity sheet for your classroom or summer camp. 

Insect Observation Sheet
Insect Observation Sheet
Bee Adjective Worksheet
Describing Bees Adjective Activity
Butterfly Haiku worksheet
Butterfly Haiku Poem Activity

Creating Pollinator Nesting Boxes to Help Native Bees Activity

This UGA Extension publication on creating pollinator nesting boxes gives simple instructions on how to build boxes with native bees, especially mason bees and leaf cutter bees, in mind. It also has photos and details on the bees that use these types of nests.

Creating Pollinator Nesting Boxes to Help Native Bees
Creating Pollinator Nesting Boxes to Help Native Bees
Campers at the Kid's Camp at the Research and Education Garden in Griffin created their own bee homes.