Why are honeybees disappearing; and once they are gone, who feels the sting?
Second graders took on the role of scientists to investigate the role of bees in our ecosystem, and the various ways bees are being threatened. Once their research was complete, students became artists in order to advocate for the bees. Working collaboratively in groups, students wrote and performed bee plays. In order to create the most educational plays, students sought out and offered critique from each other before performing their plays in front of an audience of parents and students. However, the second graders did not stop at educating others, the wrote letters to the city and big corporation, planted over 200 bee-friendly plants, and built beehives to donate to a community organization in Mexicali.
- After beginning our research and learning about the problems that honeybees face, students worked in collaborative groups to write scripts. Within their groups, team members decided to share one problem that they were most passionate about.
- Students wrote their own scripts, created their own backdrops, directed and performed their own plays.
- After discovering that bees need pesticide-free plants to thrive, they decided it was important to write to our city government. They asked the city for a place to plant bee-friendly plants in the community.
- Second graders planted over 200 bee-friendly plants in a nearby canyon.
- After reading an article about how one large corporation is removing a particular pesticide from its shelves while another large corporation is labeling its plants that contain this pesticide, students in Rhea Manguil’s class wrote letters to both home improvement stores. Students shared their ideas and requests for changes to be made within the corporations.
- After connecting wth a non-profit organization, beekeepers from Mexicali came as experts to deepen our learning about honeybees.
- In collaborative teams, students worked together to build beehives and design logos for each hive.
- The beehives were donated to the honeyfarm in Mexicali that supports local families and schools.
This has been one of my favorite projects because it gave students the opportunity to make a change in our community. I knew this project was meaningful when students insisted we write letters to our local government asking if they could plant more pesticide-free flowers for bees. Our students were so proud as they stood by the plants that they put into the ground with their own hands. Not only did they learn about bees, but they learned about how to advocate for what they feel is important.
I think that what impacted me most as a teacher was to see my students take ownership of their learning. When they began to understand the problems that honeybees were facing, they also realized that there were varying ways for them to advocate for change. Students began to ask questions as to why people, namely adults and big corporations, are not doing more to help the honeybees. After building beehives to send to Mexicali to help a community of women and children there, students felt a sense of accomplishment and contribution to a problem that they realized is affecting us all.
“I learned that if we didn’t have bees we wouldn’t have most of our favorite food.”
“What I learned was that bees won’t hurt you, if you won’t hurt them.”
“Working in a group helped me because I got more ideas. None of us is as smart as all of us.”
“My favorite thing about the project was getting to learn about the bees so that I could teach others.”
“I learned that humans are the biggest reason for Colony Collapse Disorder.”