Source: Nature: "Silence of the Bees"
Funding for the VITAL/Ready to Teach collection was secured through the United States Department of Education under the Ready to Teach Program.
In recent years, the world–wide bee population has rapidly declined. Scientists trying to determine the cause of the disappearance have labeled this occurrence "Colony Collapse Disorder." In this video segment from Nature: Silence of the Bees, scientists observe that due to industrialization, urbanization, disruption of habitats, and introduction of predators, not only bees but all pollinators are disappearing. The impact is great in that three-quarters of plants on earth depend on animal pollinators. They predict that if bees and other pollinators continue to die, their absence could trigger a crisis as great as global warming. To learn more, see the video "Disappearance of the Bees: What's the Impact?"
Life science, biology, geography
The following Frame, Focus and Follow-up suggestions are best suited for middle school students using this video in an English language arts or science lesson. Be sure to modify the questions to meet your students' instructional needs.
What is Frame, Focus and Follow-up?
Frame (ELA) What does the phrase “cause and effect” mean? What are you looking for when you answer a cause and effect question?
Focus (ELA) As you watch the video, try to determine the reasons for the bees’ disappearance.
Follow Up (ELA) What effects can Colony Collapse Disorder have on the environment and why?
Frame (SCI) Scientists seeking to explain the mysterious disappearance of bees have labeled this occurrence Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). What can you infer about the occurrence by the name alone?
Focus (SCI) Describe the effects of "colony collapse" on the animals that pollinate. What is the "quick fix" for the bees that disappear?
Follow Up (SCI) What steps can we take to improve the environment for bee colonies to reestablish themselves?
NARRATOR: With the onset of CCD, there are fewer dances happening in the hives. Foragers are setting out to search for pollen and simply not coming back The case of the vanishing bees is at the forefront of a much larger crisis. Not just bees, but all pollinating animals have been disappearing for decades.
MAY BERENBAUM: Pollinators across the board have suffered from industrialization, urbanization, disruption of habitats, introduction of invasive species - they’re experiencing death by a thousand cuts.
NARRATOR: Bees and butterflies don’t usually make the headlines, but scientists warn that the steady decline in bees and other pollinators could trigger a crisis bigger and more immediate than global warming.
MAY BERENBAUM: Three-fourths of all plants on the planet depend on animals for pollination. They can’t reproduce sexually without this animal partnership. So, if you look out the window and eliminated three-quarters of what you see, that’s a reason to worry.
NARRATOR: As the supply of pollinators keeps dwindling, agriculture pushes forever bigger harvests. Three years ago, bee numbers in the U.S. had already fallen so low that for the first time in 80 years, bees had to be imported from abroad. Government officials turned to Australia where a lucrative bee export industry now regularly ships to the U.S. With the onset of Colony Collapse Disorder, bee keepers desperately rebuild their empty hives with Australian bees. It’s a quick fix, but only adds to the cost of the losses.
DAVID HACKENBERG: These losses this year translates into about 450,000 dollars, cost put bees back into the boxes, lost pollination contracts because we’re short on bees, lost honey crops, I mean there’s no way we’re gonna get back in the black this year. And you know we can’t take another hit like this.
NARRATOR: Bee keepers facing bankruptcy, farms without food. Desperate bee keepers turn to scientists to solve the mystery of Colony Collapse Disorder before another round of bee losses throws agriculture into a tailspin.
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