Lesson plan

Sizing Up a Beehive

Students will "bee" happy that they got to practise their size differentiation skills with this fun collage activity. In this lesson, students will size sort rectangles from longest to shortest to create a bright beehive.
Need extra help for EL students? Try theHow Big Is the Tower?Pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
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Need extra help for EL students? Try theHow Big Is the Tower?Pre-lesson.
  • Students will be able to size sort rectangles from longest to shortest.
The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(10 minutes)
  • Ask students what they already know about bees and beehives. After a quick brainstorm, explain that a BeehiveIs a house for bees, and it is where the bees make honey.
  • Read a story about bees. If using a fiction book, support the story with a non-fiction book that shows pictures of real beehives.
  • After reading the book, ask students what they learned about beehives, and record their responses on chart paper.
(5 minutes)
  • Tell students that when they see the outside of a beehive, it is longest at the middle or the bottom of the hive, and it gets smaller as it goes up, similar to the shape of a triangle.
  • Model the triangular beehive shape with your own hands, and have the students copy the motion, assisting as necessary.
(10 minutes)
  • Lay out 6-7 rectangles of graduated lengths on the floor.
  • Ask students to find the longest rectangle. Lay the longest rectangle on the bottom of a piece of black paper.
  • Ask students to find the next longest rectangle. Place this rectangle above the longest one. Continue this process until all of the rectangles have been placed, changing your wording from "longest" to "shortest" as you reach the end.
  • Place the door cutout in the middle of the base of the longest rectangle. Tell students that this is what their hives will look like.
(15 minutes)
  • Note: This activity may be set up as an independent activity, a small group activity, or as a one-on-one activity.
  • Give each student a piece of black paper, a set of precut graduated rectangles, a white crayon, and a precut door shape.
  • Tell the students that they will make a beehive on their own, just as they did with the class.
  • Remind students that their rectangles need to go from longest at the bottom to shortest at the top, and to check with you or a classroom assistant before gluing them down onto the black paper.
  • After the rectangles are glued down, the student will glue the door on the hive.
  • Have students write their name on the paper with the white crayon.


  • Fewer rectangles may be given to struggling students to sort. You may also sit directly with students and talk through each rectangle if the student struggles in differentiating sizes independently.


  • Additional rectangles may be added for advanced students to sort.
(5 minutes)
  • Note if the student successfully size orders the rectangles form longest to shortest. If the student is unsuccessful, make note on your assessment record for additional practise.
(10 minutes)
  • Once the student has completed their beehive, ask the student to point to the longest rectangle, then to the shortest rectangle.
  • You can continue to ask the student to identify the second longest rectangle, second shortest rectangle, and so on if needed.
  • You could also ask the student to describe how the rectangles are arranged on the paper. The student may answer biggest to smallest, which would indicate that they have an understanding of sizing.

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