Sleep Lessons and Bees

With final exams under way, many students and teachers are undoubtedly getting little sleep. And, what’s the buzz about bees? The following teaching resources dive into the science and psychology of the importance of sleep, and why bees are critical to our food supply.

Ed Yourdon

Resources from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Pollinator Partnership will grab your students’ attention—and appreciation—for the key role that sleep and bees play in our quality of life.

NIH Sleep Lessons



We spend about one-third of our life sleeping.  Science—and our bodies—tell us that sleep greatly influences our decision-making, livelihood, and survival.  There are few text books for educators and students that address the science of sleep, which is why the National Institutes of Health (NIH) created its website and lesson plans for high school students.

The NIH website helps your students explore sleep, sleep disorders, and biological rhythms with credibility—connecting scientific research and personal data. Your students will make sense of sleep concepts using data from their personal sleep journals coupled with lesson plans, such as “What is Sleep?” and “Evaluating Sleep Disorders.” Free, downloadable lesson plans are available from the NIH website. Print lessons can be ordered, too.

This should convince you and your students that eight hours of sleep not only feels heavenly—it’s one of the best things you can do for your mind and body. Below are some sample lessons:

Student Sleep Journal

Before getting started on the NIH lessons, students collect data on their own sleep habits, then analyze their data in subsequent lessons. For those with Internet access, students can compare their cycles with those of other students around the country.

Click here for the Student Sleep Journal.

Lesson: What is Sleep?

In this lesson, students will express what they know about sleep, and by the end of the lesson they will understand that sleep is an essential, biologically motivated behavior. Students will also be more aware of their own sleep/awake cycles and be able to test their personal sleep data with sleep hypothesis and misconceptions. Be sure to consult the teacher’s guide document, “Information About Sleep.”

Click here for the sleep lesson.


Lesson: Exploring Good and Bad Sleeping Habits

In this lesson, students begin by identifying both good and bad sleep habits—and their benefits and consequences. Then, they participate in a role-playing scenario that will hit close to home: sleepiness and driving.

Click here for the good and bad sleep habits lesson.


  • LEARN:  For the teachers guide and complete set of lessons. You can order up-to- date print lessons too.
  • EXPLORE: More educational resources from NIH's Office of Science Education


The National Institutes of Health is the world’s foremost biomedical research center. Its Office of Science Education (OSE) develops and offers spot-on science education initiatives and curriculum, partnering with the best minds in public- and private-sector organizations.  Two key goals of OSE is to attract young people to biomedical and behavioral science careers and to improve science literacy in adults, teachers, students, and the general public.





pollinator logo

Pollinators— bees, butterflies, bats, wasps, even lemurs—assist over 80 percent of the world’s flowering plants.  And, it's said that bees are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat.  The Pollinator Partnership offers a wealth of resources and people power to help promote and protect pollinators—and our food supply.

bees 2

Its website has eye-popping, hands-on classroom tools for your students to learn about the importance of pollinators.  There are also resources for you and your local community, such as a pollinator plant guide.


The Pollinator Partnership, established in 1997, is a diverse and dedicated team that works tirelessly to promote the health of all pollinating animals and their habitats.  Its National American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPCC) represents over 120 private-public sector organizations of scientists, researchers, conservationists, and other stakeholders. Using videos, community service projects, free education tools and other resources, the Pollinator Partnership raises public awareness of pollinators, which account for as much as one-third of the world’s food supply.




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