Children are incredibly docile beings, which is both a blessing and a curse. If we teach them to love animals while they’re young, they’ll most likely carry that love with them for the rest of their lives. Understandably, many children are afraid of bees because these animals have the ability to sting. But if we work together to incorporate honeybees into school curriculum, there’s a much better chance our children will grow up knowing the true importance of honeybees in our society. Follow along for a few different ways to teach children about bees.
Start With the Basics
Educators can teach the basics of honeybee biology and the interworkings of a hive with ease. If you’re unsure what to teach, consider giving your students fun facts about honeybees and how they live. You can start with these examples:
- There’s only one queen in each colony.
- Only female worker bees have stingers.
- Honeybees can fly up to 15 miles per hour.
- Queens can lay up to 1,500 eggs each day.
Although the bee facts could go on and on, these are just a few to get the conversation going. The more cool facts kids know about a topic, the more they want to learn. The goal is to get students excited about honeybees.
Alleviate Any Fears Your Students May Have
As previously mentioned, many kids may be afraid of honeybees because they can sting. With that in mind, one of the first lessons students should learn is that bees don’t want to harm humans. Bees are incredibly busy focusing on their designated tasks, and stinging is a last resort for bees that feel threatened. Because they often lose their stingers in the process, stinging can actually injure or even kill bees.
Teach Students About the Importance of Pollination
Most people know that bees make honey, but they may not know that bees are responsible for many of the crops we rely on. Students should be aware that bees are the number one pollinator in the world, and our lives would look very different without them. Interestingly, bees collect pollen from plants and flowers when they forage for nectar. As they move from plant to plant, they spread pollen, which is how many plants and crops grow and yield fruit.
You shouldn’t scare kids into caring about the bee population, but they should understand that bees are responsible for a lot of the food they eat and the clothes they wear.
Host a Honey Tasting Event
While all honeybees produce honey, the final product may taste different depending on the plants and flowers the nectar came from. Hosting a honey-tasting event is an excellent way to get students interested in bees and what they do for us. Honey is an extra delicious treat, and a little goes a long way; therefore, you’ll need only a few bottles of local honey to provide samples for your students.
If you need to make the tasting a tangible assignment, consider having students write down short descriptions of what they believe each honey sample tastes like. Furthermore, you can have a group discussion about the different types of flowers and plants the bees used to make each type of honey.
Invite a Bee Expert To Speak
Even if you don’t see beekeeping as a prominent hobby in your area, there may be more local beekeepers or bee experts than you think. Although teachers and other faculty can teach students about bees and honey, there’s no better way to learn than from an expert. Many beekeepers tend to be reserved, quiet people, but they’re often willing to share their experiences and opinions when it comes to their favorite insects. Bees are their world, and they get up close and personal with them almost every day.
You can usually find a list of local beekeepers to contact about bee swarms. As a result, you could use this list to ask them about presenting to your class. If they’re unsure about a presentation, try to settle for a group discussion—they’ll start talking about bees and have more to say than they thought.
Teach Students the Waggle Dance
Learning how to dance isn’t always a huge part of the curriculum, but learning the waggle dance is educational because it’s a specific signal honeybees use. When a foraging bee finds a large supply of nectar or pollen, it does the waggle dance to signal the rest of its colony to follow. Basically, this dance consists of shaking their bottoms and flapping their wings. While younger students are more likely to enjoy the bee waggle dance, it’s suitable for all ages.
Have a Bee Trivia Party
There’s nothing more fun than a trivia party! Once you teach your students plenty of facts about honeybees, you can host a bee trivia event with a really cool prize for the winner. This is an excellent way for your students to bond with each other, but it’s also a fun time for everyone involved. Kids love the feeling of knowing the answer to a question, and teachers love seeing the way their students light up when they understand a specific topic.
Bring Beekeeping Into Schools
While this one may be a long shot for many schools, it’s the ultimate way to learn about bees and beekeeping. Bringing beekeeping into schools is an excellent idea, providing hands-on learning for students and teachers. Although teachers may have to do some training on beekeeping before making this happen, it’ll be so worth it. As a school, you can help boost the bee population and learn about the interworkings of the hive by keeping a few under your care.
You may need several items, like protective gear and a 6-frame nuc box, to prepare for this adventure. Not many kids can say they learned how to keep bees in school, but it would be absolutely incredible if they did. Consider enhancing the experience by putting a tiny webcam inside one of the hives to monitor daily activities.
Bees aren’t a significant part of what students learn in the classroom, but they should be. Knowing how to incorporate honeybees into school curriculum may help you establish a precedent in your school. Kids are naturally curious, and we can prevent their fear of bees by teaching them about the important purpose bees have in our world.