"Read, write, think, and talk. In every class. Every day." That's the motto my school and my class live by. Every day, I help my students see that they are surrounded by science. It's in the air they breathe, the food they eat, the way they get from one place to another. Yet studying science can be difficult. My students chose to accelerate their high school learning experience by enrolling in college classes at the same time.
They are eager to learn and ready to start making a difference in their communities and in the world! My school is 100% free lunch. Most are first-generation college students; some will be first-generation high school graduates. Many have never left the state; a few have never left the county. If not for the opportunity to attend our school, many students would not be able to go to college. It is my mission to make science "real" for them, to push them to solve problems in their communities, and to make sure they have what they need to be successful in college and in life, long after they have left my classroom!
This project bridges what my students are learning in their Biology and Agriculture course. They are completing the Beginner Beekeeper Course with our local beekeeping club. As part of the course, they have the opportunity to become certified by the North Carolina State Beekeepers Association. Students are learning about the biology, behavior, and reproduction of honey bees as well as how honey, beeswax, and other hive products are made. Each student has chosen a specific area of interest to pursue, but perhaps most important is that they are learning where their food comes from by studying one of the pollinators that make it happen! They have the beekeepers suits, veils, gloves, hives, and tools. Now, they are ready for the bees...just in time for the spring nectar flow!
In Their Own Words
Each of us has a focus we're pursuing - pest management, insecticides, candle-making, lip balm, etc. We have been learning from books, from videos, and from long-time beekeepers. Our goal is to get all 12 of us certified, and even more, to get all 12 of us comfortable enough keeping bees that we can take our hives home. And we won't stop there. We hope to teach elementary and middle school students in our county about the role of honey bees and other pollinators!
When we tell people that we're studying to become beekeepers at ages 15-17, it's an instant conversation starter. They ask questions, and we do what we can with our new knowledge to answer them. Without realizing it, we are developing our confidence in what we know and can do. Before starting this project, we learned most of what we knew about honey bees from The Bee Movie (funny - because we now know that most of that information is wrong).
In a way, we have become the voices of the honey bees. Our area is primarily agricultural yet so few people in our community realize the impact of the honey bee and other pollinators. We hope to fill that role. A recent newspaper article has been gaining a lot of attention in our community. We hope to use our skills to educate other people and get them interested in honey bees, even if they never become beekeepers themselves.
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