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The mechanical intelligence of bees


The way bees form hexagonal combs has inspired engineers, architects and other scientists. In this lesson, children are invited to learn about the hexagonal shape and its ergonomics in the environment and human artifacts. Working in groups, the children create their hexagonal architectural projects.

Learning objectives

  • We are cultivating positive attitudes and motivation for mathematics by connecting geometric concepts to life, culture and nature.

  • We are recognizing the machine intelligence of animals.

  • We are enhancing creativity and collaborative thinking.


Suggested age group

1st Grade - 2nd Grade


90 minutes

Fields in S.T.E.A.M.

  • Mathematics

  • Art

  • Mechanics


  • Cardboard in different colors, cut into various sizes

  • Glue

  • Scissors


The teacher starts by showing the hexagonal shape, asking the children to identify its sides and angles. An example of a hexagon in the natural environment is the honeycomb of bees.


The architecture of bees has been of interest to scientists and engineers, as it exhibits special intelligence. The hexagonal shape of the cells not only offers the best possible strength and space-saving (as it leaves no gaps) and allows the bees to use the least possible wax for its construction. Studying the architecture of bees, various architects and engineers have created corresponding hexagonal buildings and works of art. Of particular interest is the James Webb Space Telescope, whose mirror consists of hexagonal parts


Through a simple technique, children work in groups to build their own hexagonal architectures. Drawing inspiration from the projects presented, they decide together as a group what they will create and how they will work. Working in groups is a challenging task, achieved all at once. It includes important communication, problem-solving and collaborative thinking skills.


In this case, the children should agree on what they want to create by listening to the different ideas, combining them and arguing about them. The teacher needs to strengthen the children's expression, observe how they compromise and decide as a group, and set legitimate limits.


Allow enough time for all children to present their projects to their classmates. Individuals can combine their jobs to form larger hex cities and be left to enjoy their creations by playing freely with them.

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