University of Minnesota
Bees at the Bell
Children explore the world of bees at the Bell Museum
By Deane Morrison
Fifth-graders from Burroughs and Jefferson public schools in Minneapolis test drove Honey Bees, Pollinators and Food, an interdisciplinary science program piloted at the University of Minnesota's Bell Museum of Natural History May 30 and 31, 2012. Created by a collaboration of museum educators, scientists, beekeepers and teachers, it is intended for teachers who want to integrate disciplines and reinforce concepts with real-life experiences. It enabled kids from racially isolated schools to interact within the context of an important environmental issue, just as scientists from all cultures work together to solve environmental problems.
The program began with activities at the schools, then brought the students to the Bell, where they experienced the basics of beekeeping, bee and flower anatomy, and the scientific method. They learned how today, one of every three bites of food we take results from pollination by honey bees. But the bees are also part of a grave threat: the global disappearance of pollinators. And bees never cease to amaze scientists with their abilities. Judging from the kids' reactions, some of that amazement rubbed off on them.
Here is a slideshow of the children's visit. All photos by Patrick O'Leary.