Bee Hotels with 3D Printing and Woodworking – SCOPES-DF

Lesson Details

Age Ranges

You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.


Pieter Verduijn
Pieter Verduijn
K-12 teacher
Born in the Netherlands, Pieter Verduijn is a multilingual educator with 18 years of work experience in Dutch, Aruban, and American education systems. His colleagues refer to him as the “Jack of all trades” as he combines his talents in… Read More


This five-lesson plan aims to engage 9th and 10th-grade students in creating bee-friendly spaces on the school campus by designing and building functional bee hotels. The project combines 3D printing with woodworking skills, encouraging students to explore the intersection of technology and traditional craftsmanship.

What You'll Need

Materials List:


Lesson 1: Introduction to Bee Ecology and Importance:

  • Presentation materials on bees and pollination.
  • Collaboration with the biology class for a joint session.

Lesson 2: Introduction to 3D Printing and Tinkercad:

  • Computers or laptops with internet access.
  • Tinkercad accounts for each student (free to sign up at Tinkercad).
  • Access to a 3D printer (Creality or similar) for demonstration purposes.

Lesson 3: Woodworking Basics and Project Planning:

  • Safety equipment: goggles, gloves, ear protection.
  • Woodworking tools: saws, hammers, nails, sandpaper.
  • Wood boards for practice cuts and assembling prototypes.

Lesson 4: 3D Printing and Makerspace Work:

  • Access to 3D printers (Creality or similar) for each student.
  • Filament for 3D printers (PLA recommended).
  • Mounting materials for bee hotels (e.g., screws, brackets).

Lesson 5: Finishing and Installation:

  • Additional woodworking materials for final assembly.
  • Installation materials based on chosen locations (screws, wall mounts, poles).
  • Reflective materials for documenting progress and reflections.


Additional Resources and Inspiration:



  • Evaluation Rubric


Lesson Materials

The Instructions

Lesson 1: Introduction to Bee Ecology and Importance

In this introductory session, students delve into the vital role of bees in ecosystems. A brief presentation outlines the significance of pollination and the impact of declining bee populations. Collaborating with the biology class enhances understanding, setting the stage for a project aimed at creating a bee-friendly environment on the school campus.

1. Introduction and Setting the Stage:

  • Begin the lesson by welcoming students and explaining the importance of the project – creating bee-friendly spaces on the school campus.
  • Objective: Set the context for understanding the significance of bees in ecosystems.


2. Brief Presentation:

  • Use visual aids such as slides or videos to present key information about bees, pollination, and the ecological role of bees.
  • Resource: Incorporate visuals from The Importance of Bees in the Environment.
  • Discussion Points: The role of bees in pollination.
  • The impact of declining bee populations on ecosystems.
  • The interconnectedness of bees with other organisms.

3. Collaboration with Biology Class:

  • Arrange for a joint session with the biology class to deepen the understanding of the ecological context.
  • Activity: Collaborative discussion on the biology of bees and their habitats.
  • Q&A session to address any questions or concerns.
  • Resource: Why Bees Are Important.


4. Reflection and Discussion:

  • Facilitate a class discussion on the presented information.
  • Discussion Points: The importance of bees in food production.
  • The potential consequences of bee population decline.
  • Reflective Practice: Encourage students to jot down initial thoughts and questions for future reflection.


5. Assignment:

  • Assign a short research task for homework.
  • Task: Ask students to find examples of how communities, schools, or individuals have positively impacted bee populations.
  • Objective: Encourage independent research and critical thinking.


6. Conclusion:

  • Summarize the key points discussed during the lesson.
  • Homework Reminder: Remind students to prepare for the next session by completing the assigned research task.
  • Transition: Transition smoothly to the next lesson, emphasizing the practical application of their knowledge in the upcoming project.


Lesson 2: 3D Printing and Tinkercad Design

Students will design their bee structure in Tinkercad (Or OnScape of Fusion360 etc) Building upon existing Tinkercad skills, this lesson introduces advanced 3D printing concepts and intricate Tinkercad features. Students engage in a hands-on design session to create complex structures that seamlessly blend 3D printing with woodworking elements for their bee hotels. The lesson fosters a deeper understanding of design principles and encourages students to explore the full capabilities of Tinkercad.

1. Introduction to Advanced 3D Printing Concepts:

  • Begin the lesson by discussing advanced concepts in 3D printing, such as infill, layer height, and support structures.
  • Objective: Provide a deeper understanding of 3D printing parameters and settings.


2. Advanced Tinkercad Features:

  • Review the basic features of Tinkercad to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Introduce advanced features like custom shapes, alignment tools, and grouping for more intricate designs.
  • Resource: Advanced Tinkercad Tutorial.
  • Discussion Points: How to use custom shapes to create complex structures.
  • The importance of precise alignment for functional designs.



3. Advanced Design Assignment:

  • Assign a more complex 3D design task related to the Bee Hotel project.
  • Task: Design a multi-part structure that showcases the integration of 3D printing and woodworking elements.
  • Objective: Challenge students to think critically about the combination of different building techniques.


4. Hands-On Design Session:

  • Allow students dedicated time to work on their advanced designs.
  • Circulate the room to provide individualized assistance and guidance.
  • Encouragement: Emphasize creativity and experimentation with Tinkercad’s advanced features.


5. Peer Review and Collaboration:

  • Organize a peer review session where students can share their advanced designs with classmates.
  • Encourage constructive feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  • Objective: Foster collaboration and the exchange of innovative ideas.



6. Reflection and Iteration:

  • Conclude the lesson with a brief reflection on the challenges and successes encountered during the advanced design task.
  • Homework Assignment: Encourage students to iterate on their designs based on feedback and personal reflections.
  • Objective: Instill a mindset of continuous improvement in design processes.


7. Conclusion:

  • Summarize the key advanced concepts covered in the lesson.
  • Transition: Prepare students for the upcoming woodworking session by emphasizing the integration of their advanced 3D designs.


Lesson 3: Woodworking Basics and Project Planning

This session focuses on imparting basic woodworking skills to students as they prepare to construct the outer housing for their bee hotels. Students will engage in hands-on activities, including safety demonstrations, practice cuts, and planning sessions. The lesson aims to equip students with the foundational knowledge and skills necessary for seamlessly integrating woodworking with their 3D-printed components in the upcoming sessions.

1. Introduction to Woodworking:

  • Begin the lesson by emphasizing the importance of safe woodworking practices and the role of woodworking in creating the outer housing for bee hotels.
  • Objective: Introduce students to fundamental woodworking concepts and safety measures.


2. Safety Briefing:

  • Conduct a detailed safety briefing covering the proper use of woodworking tools, including saws, hammers, and nails.
  • Emphasize the importance of wearing safety goggles, gloves, and ear protection during woodworking activities.
  • Safety Resource: Woodworking Safety Tips.


3. Practice Cuts:

  • Allow students to practice making cuts on scrap wood under close supervision.
  • Emphasize proper technique, holding the wood securely, and maintaining a safe distance from the saw.
  • Hands-On Activity: Provide various types of saws for students to experience different cutting methods.


4. Project Dimensions and Guidelines:

  • Review the specific dimensions and guidelines for the Bee Hotel outer housing.
  • Guidelines:Dimensions: Ensure the final housing meets the minimum size requirement (e.g., at least 10 cm by 8 cm).
  • Integration: Discuss how the woodworking and 3D-printed components will come together.
  • Visual Aid: Display a model or diagram showcasing the intended combination of woodworking and 3D printing.


5. Planning Session:

  • Facilitate a planning session where students sketch or outline their woodworking designs.
  • Encourage consideration of mounting options and any additional features they want to incorporate.
  • Prompt: How will the bee hotel be mounted?
  • Are there specific design elements you want to highlight?
  • Planning Resource: Provide graph paper or digital tools for students to draft their designs.



6. Individual Consultations:

  • Schedule brief one-on-one consultations with each student to discuss their woodworking designs.
  • Provide feedback on feasibility, aesthetics, and integration with 3D printed components.
  • Objective: Ensure students are on the right track and address any questions or concerns.


7. Material Selection:

  • Guide students in selecting the appropriate wood materials for their projects.
  • Discuss factors such as wood type, thickness, and sustainability.
  • Resource: Guide to Wood Types.


8. Homework Assignment: Refine Woodworking Designs:

  • Assign students to refine their woodworking designs based on the feedback received.
  • Encourage them to consider aesthetics, functionality, and the overall impact of their designs.
  • Objective: Promote iterative design thinking.


10. Conclusion:

  • Summarize the key woodworking concepts covered in the lesson.
  • Homework Reminder: Remind students to bring their refined woodworking designs for review in the next session.
  • Transition: Prepare students for the hands-on construction phase in the upcoming lesson.


Lesson 4: 3D Printing and Makerspace Work

In this hands-on session, students will bring their Tinkercad designs to life by 3D printing the components for their bee hotels. The focus is on the practical application of their 3D printing skills, with students monitoring the printing process and beginning the assembly of their bee hotel structures in the Makerspace. The lesson emphasizes precision, attention to detail, and the integration of 3D-printed elements with the woodworking components.

1. Introduction to 3D Printing Session:

  • Begin the lesson by revisiting the Tinkercad designs created by students in the previous lessons.
  • Objective: Reinforce the connection between design and practical application in 3D printing.


2. Preparation of 3D Printers:

  • Ensure that all 3D printers are calibrated and ready for use.
  • Load the appropriate filament (PLA or similar) based on the printer specifications.
  • Resource: How to Calibrate a 3D Printer.


3. Printing Demonstration:

  • Conduct a brief demonstration of the 3D printing process using a sample design.
  • Highlight key considerations such as layer height, infill, and print speed.
  • Visual Aid: Display a live or recorded 3D printing session for clarity.


4. Individual Printing Sessions:

  • Allow students to take turns using the 3D printers to print their bee hotel components.
  • Monitor the printing process, addressing any issues that may arise.
  • Rotation Schedule: Create a rotation schedule to ensure all students have an opportunity to use the 3D printers.



5. Makerspace Work:

  • While waiting for their prints, students begin preparing the woodworking components in the Makerspace.
  • Materials: Wood pieces are cut to size based on their refined designs.
  • Sandpaper and finishing materials for a polished look.
  • Objective: Parallel progress on both 3D printed and woodworking components.


6. Quality Control and Troubleshooting:


7. Assembly Preparation:

  • Instruct students to plan the assembly of their bee hotels, considering the order of combining 3D printed and woodworking elements.
  • Discuss mounting options and potential challenges in the assembly process.
  • Collaboration: Encourage students to collaborate on problem-solving and share assembly strategies.


8. Reflection and Documentation:

  • Allocate time for students to document their progress and challenges.
  • Reflective prompts: What went well during the 3D printing? What challenges did you encounter?
  • Documentation Tools: Provide digital cameras, notebooks, or online platforms for documentation.


9. Homework Assignment: Finalize Woodworking Components:

  • Assign students to complete any remaining tasks related to the woodworking components.
  • Emphasize the need for precision and a polished finish.
  • Objective: Ensure all components are ready for the final assembly in the next lesson.


10. Conclusion:

  • Summarize the key points covered in the lesson.
  • Homework Reminder: Remind students to bring all components, including 3D printing and woodworking, for the final assembly session.
  • Transition: Set expectations for the upcoming lesson, focusing on the completion of their bee hotels.