Thanks to a partnership with Fox Chase Farm Sonia Thornton’s 3rd grade class were able to make weekly visits to the farm. On an early visit, they noticed the bee hives and, of course, the bees! The children panicked, screaming and running from the bees, swatting and trying to kill them. Back at school the students were still talking about those pesky bees and how scared they were. They declared that they hated bees. The following day Sonia shared video clips of the importance of bees. They were in shock to say the least. Sonia realized that she herself had no idea how much we depend on bees for pollination. So it was especially sad for all to learn that the the population of bees is endangered!
By the time they visited the farm the following week students had learned ways to keep bees away without harming them. They became silent observers of the bees trying to see them “at work.”
They even pretended to be bees pollinating. They learned firsthand how much work is put in to the process of pollination and making honey. The class now had a huge respect for the bees and their importance in the world. So of course, they wanted to save the bees!
Beekeeper Lauren from John Heinz Wildlife Refuge showed students how bees are handled by humans, showing them instruments used to gather honey, and demonstrating that some honey must be left for the bees to survive. They were excited to learn about “seed bombs”–a great way to spread wildflower seeds to untended areas around the city.
A trip to the Wagner Free Institute of Science gave them a chance to learn more about natural beehives and queen bees. They were even able to handle the equipment used to maintain a beehive.
Each student went on to conduct further research and write essays, choosing to pursue their interest in pollination, queen bees, hives or honey, among other topics.
Ultimately, the students had to decide what to do to make a difference about this issue once it was clear that bees were endangered because of human activity. First, they made seed bombs with clay, water, soil and wildflower seeds. They took these to other classes in the building and asked other students to drop them on their way home, helping the neighborhood bloom for honey bees!
They shared their learning with 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade classes at Spruance. In groups of four they shared the boards they created highlighting what what our lives would be missing without honey bees. They felt so proud to be able to spread the word to so many others about this topic, making sure others could take steps to Save the Honeybees!