Students at Thayer Elementary are buzzing about all they have learned about bees, their habitats, their structures and the importance of the queen during summer school.
During summer school, Thayer students in grades 2nd - 5th have been studying this PBL question: "What can we do to ensure that all Missouri animals continue to thrive throughout our state?”
As part of their problem-based learning unit, students learned about bees, including their scientific body parts such as their head, abdomen and thorax. Students then created honey bees in art class by putting together the three main body parts using paper mache, which they later painted.
On Friday, June 23, Fort Wood Area Beeks (beekeepers) further grabbed the students’ attention by bringing in a hive for the students to see. They started by amplifying the sounds coming from a microphone inside a hive.
“We really caught their attention,” said Debbie Akery, Thayer’s art teacher and an avid beekeeper. “An active hive emits a distinctive sound and our students got to experience it – through glass for safety reasons. They were so excited to see the hives.”
Other activities included honeycomb tasting fresh from the hive, observing a queen bee and worker bees inside a hive and seeing if they could find the unmarked queen, trying out a beekeepers protective clothing and veil, and seeing the tools a beekeeper uses to enter a hive.
“It’s so rewarding to make a lesson come to life for students,” Akery said. “It’s also important for students to learn about endangered species and what we all can do to help them survive.”
The Fort Wood Area Beeks group brings environmental enthusiasm to the art of beekeeping. Its mission is to expand the honey bee population by improving the overall health and safety of native bees by educating aspiring and beginner beeks. Experienced beeks provide guidance on the basics and essentials of beekeeping, from getting started to harvesting the very first batch of honey and beyond.
The presenters included Cheryl Hinchman, Johnny Lozano, Richard Le Blanc, Darryl Akery and Debbie Akery.
Beyond learning about bees, some Thayer students have also learned about recycling and created bird feeders to attract cardinals and bluejays.