4-LS1-2  Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.

If you are teaching the Next Generation Science Standards and are looking for phenomena ideas, you’ve come to the right place! I like to think about phenomena as lesson starters. They are photos or videos showing an observable event in the universe and are used to get kids thinking, asking questions, and discussing their prior knowledge. For more information about using phenomena, there is a handy printable guide and video here:

And now, on to our life science phenomenon!

Imagine the shock the owner of this car had when walking outside to leave for work! It probably made the driver wonder what was happening! Why would thousands of bees swarm a car? It turns out that a queen bee was accidentally locked inside this car. Her colony swarmed the car for two days. But how did the queen bee’s colony know that she was in this exact spot?


Since humans rely on senses such as sight and sound, and we use language to communicate, the behavior of some insects may seem extraordinarily weird to us. For the bees, however, swarming the car made perfect sense! Through the amazing use of odor cues called pheromones, the queen was able to let her colony know where she was located. Since bees need a queen bee to survive as a hive, clustering on the car around her was the most natural thing in the world.


This excerpt is from the text: Powerful Pheromones by Michelle Negron Bueno.  Powerful Pheromones is found in, StarrMatica Texts: Science Your Way, a collection of informational texts written specifically to address every K-5 NGSS Performance Expectation.  All texts in the collection begin with a phenomenon photo and are written at six different Lexile levels, so all students can read the same content at their reading level.  You can find out more about StarrMatica Texts:  Science Your Way here: