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        Cause and Effect Relationships - Silence of the Bees

        Students write an essay that synthesizes the cause and effect relationship the disappearance of bees will cause.

        Lesson Summary


        Students watch two video segments in order to take notes and answer questions about the disappearance of bees across the United States. Using this information, students write an essay that synthesizes the cause and effect relationship the disappearance of bees will cause.

        Why is this an important concept?

        Learners who utilize implicit and explicit information to understand cause and effect relationships are demonstrating the ability to draw conclusions.  They understand that every action has a consequence, and they are able to make the connection between a series of events and the eventual outcomes as they are outlined in a text.  When students develop skills in this type of analysis, they are better able to understand the main idea and the author’s intent.

        Grade Level:


        Suggested Time

        (2) 50-minute periods

        Media Resources


        The Lesson

        Part I: Learning Activity

        1. Provide the purpose for the activity: to determine the possible effects the disappearance of bees will have in the United States and to write an essay detailing these effects with information from two video segments. Check for prior knowledge by asking if students can name various types of pollination or pollinators.

        2. Distribute The Silence of Bees Organizer handout. As students watch Colony Collapse Disorder, remind them to focus on determining the reasons for the bees’ disappearance as well as what kind of problems their disappearance could create.  Show the segment twice so students can review and confirm information for their organizers.

        3. After viewing, discuss the segment with students.  Ask them to share their answers with the class during a teacher-guided question and answer session.  Focus on the video details students use to support and explain their answers.  Students add to their organizers as needed.

        4. Distribute The Silence of Bees Questions handout. Provide a focus for viewing Disappearance of the Bees - What's the Impact? by asking students to think about how the bee situation in South Sichuan compares to the disappearance of bees in the U.S. Students answer questions while watching the video.  Show the second segment again so students can confirm and add to their answers.

        5. After viewing, students share their answers with a peer.  Ask for student volunteers to share what they think are three effects of the disappearance of bees in the U.S.  During a teacher-guided brainstorming session, students discuss details from the video (those both explicitly stated and implied) that support their ideas.  Students add these details to effects listed on Silence of the Bees Questions handout. 

        6. Collect organizers and questions and look them over before Day 2.  Meet with students who need extra support with their cause and effect conclusions before the Day 2 lesson.

        Part II: Assessment

        1. Hand back students’ organizers and question handouts. Ask students to write an essay synthesizing the cause and effect relationship between the disappearance of bees and the impact upon agriculture.  Discuss or review video segments as needed to supplement organizers and fill in any gaps. Remind students to begin with a strong topic sentence that focuses on the cause and to organize the information in their paragraph body so that they have sufficient details to support the effects.

        2. Distribute copies of the Cause and Effect Essay rubric. Discuss so students know the expectations of the essay.

        3. Students write their essays using their organizers and questions as a guide. 

        4. Students complete first draft for homework if needed.

        5. Students exchange essay draft with a fellow student to peer-edit and discuss needed revisions and/or additions.

        6. After making needed revisions, students complete final versions of essay and hand in with first draft and rubric for a grade.

        For students who need additional guidance:

        • Allow them to watch the Silence of the Bees video segments multiple times.
        • Provide extended time to complete the handouts or work with a partner to complete the organizer and questions.
        • Provide a cause and effect essay format or checklist to follow when writing first draft of essay.



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