# Bees and honeycombs Bees wax

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```					                    Wrexham Maths Investigations

Year 7

Bees and honeycombs

Why does the bee choose a hexagon for the shape of its cell
when it builds a honeycomb?

Which regular polygons will tessellate?

Find which of the following six polygons tessellate. Trace and
cut out from card a few of each polygon. Are they any other
regular polygons which you should try?

Can you explain why only shapes which tessellate would be
useful for building a honeycomb?

Materials you will need :
several sheets of card      a ruler    scissors    tracing paper
Wrexham Maths Investigations

Year 7

Bees and honeycombs

Pupil Guidance :

1. You will need at least 36 of each tessellating polygon.
Cut them out of card to the sizes on the given sheet.

2. Draw a square of side 30cm on a large sheet of paper to
represent the space available for the honeycomb inside
the hive. Choose one of the polygons and cover as much
of this square as you can with a tessellation.
Find the total length of the network of the sides of the
pieces which you have used. This total length gives you a
measure of the amount of wax which a bee would use to
make this cross section.

3. Repeat with each of the tessellating polygons. You should
use the same number of pieces in each case. Find the
total length of the network of sides for each attempt.

Copy this table and enter your results.

Name of polygon         Number of           Total length of the
polygons used         network of sides.

4. Which shape would use the most wax in a honeycomb?

Which shape would use the least wax?

Which shape do the bees actually use when they build
honeycombs? Can you suggest a reason for their choice?
Wrexham Maths Investigations

Bees and honeycombs

Template for shapes

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Description: Bees and honeycombs Bees wax